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Having a Baby Blog Editors on StageofLife.comRead below for a welcome message from our Having a Baby editors.  While thousands of writers and bloggers contribute their stories and essays to StageofLife.com, we work closely with our having a baby editors who are here to comment on your blog posts, lend a helpful voice, and answer your questions about StageofLife.com. If you would like to meet all of our Editors working on the Stage of Life initiative or apply for an Editor position, please check out our Staff page and Contact Us.

Weekly Message from the Editor

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: July 16th-31st, 2013

The More You Know

By Elle Lamboy, Having a Baby Editor

I have always been an advocate for educating oneself before any big decision or major event. So, it was no surprise to my husband or friends that I was the only one in our crew who signed up for baby care and childbirth classes.

For the past four weeks, my husband and I have spent our Saturday mornings learning about everything from swaddling and diaper changing to epidurals and cord blood banking.

Sure, it wasn’t always easy dragging ourselves to class and giving up a Saturday to attend four hours of class; but now that it’s all over, I’m so glad we did. While I am still feeling the triple trifecta of emotions—nervousness, excitement and paranoia—I am at least an informed basket case. I now really know what to expect before, during and after labor and will soon learn how to take care of our new bundle of joy in the first couple months he or she comes home.

I know there is still a lot I don’t know and there will be a million surprises on the way, but there is still some serenity in knowing that I’ve done all I can do to prepare myself for what is about to become the greatest journey of my life.

How did you prepare for parenthood? Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: July 1st-15th, 2013

Traveling with Infants

By Jonda Hughes, Having a Baby Editor

I have never run a marathon, but I think I know how it feels. Last week we took our twin boys on a plane to Donner, CA and spent a week with the family at a cabin. My whole family (mom, dad, 2 babies) flew in a plane for 3 hours, rode in a car for 2 hours, and experienced new rooms, new food, family obligations and new activities. Tired already?

On Friday, after 5 days of the “vacation,” my husband and I vowed never to go on a vacation again. We had just come from the top of Squaw Valley where they have a community pool at 8000 feet above sea level. From noon until 3:00 PM we took turns changing, feeding (I had forgotten the picnic food so we resorted to restaurant food), swimming, changing, napping, crying and freezing our butts off. Donner is cold in June. That’s when the week caught up to us and utter exhaustion set in.  Then that’s also when my mom provided a great tid-bit of insight to some very tired parents. She told us that change is hard but that the boys need to learn how to cope.

Her comment started me thinking. We knew that this was not going to be the same Donner. The Donner before kids was drinking beer on the deck, watching the stars and catching sight of a shooting star, hiking, and wondering in Old Town Truckee. But I don’t think I anticipated how different and difficult it was going to be.

Our boys started to get the hang of things on Saturday but of course we left on Sunday.  On the plane ride home, as I was staring in Sammy’s face singing “I‘ve Been Working on the Railroad,” I was wondering if it would ever end. I think our lesson is that it won’t and that I don’t want it to.

As funny as it sounds, even with all of the sleepless nights and around the clock care, this was the first time where I actually felt the impact of how much my life has changed.  It’s changed big time because I owe it to my babies, even if it’s hard work, to give them new experiences. But I might consider heading to Mexico by myself so that I can drink my beer and watch the crashing waves  in solitude. Then again, it might feel pretty empty watching those crashing waves all alone.

Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: June 16th-30th, 2013

My New Maternity Must Have

By Elle Lamboy, Having a Baby Editor

Of course, the main priority of mommas-to-be is the precious cargo that they are carrying. They have doctors, books, blogs, TV shows, family and friends telling them what they should or shouldn’t eat and drink, where or when they can and can’t travel, how frequently or infrequently they can exercise, and the list continues.

On top of all the new lifestyle changes moms-to-be have to make for the life growing inside them, they also have to cope with the changes in their own bodies.

No matter how much or little a woman is embracing her changing figure, an adjustment has to be made. No longer can she wear pants that button, devour the latest trends or rock stilettos for her 9-5.

Now that we are approaching summer, there are new problems that arise for pregnant women. We can no longer hide behind leggings and big sweaters and tops. Its time for bathing suits, summer dresses, shorts and capris.

I found that even maternity summer dresses, while cute and comfy, are still not the most flattering. In an effort to keep mommas cool, the material is pretty thin, even in the pricier brands, causing an unflattering silhouette in many cases.

So, I was in a real fashion pickle. Do I suffer in sweat and continue to stick with jeans, leggings and capris or throw caution to the wind and rock the summer dresses despite my rounder, lumpier profile?

After a bit of research, I discovered a product that has totally solved the lumpy lady syndrome my maternity dresses were creating. They have “Spanx” for pregnant chicks that are actually comfortable—I promise! I ordered all three of these products and they have really enhanced my maternity wardrobe by creating a smooth shape on all of my dresses and skirts. Having to dress professional for my 9-5 has posed some challenges, but these wardrobe enhancers have taken a ton of the pressure off—and allowed me to worry about more important things—like help hubs finish the nursery and cook nutritious recipes for us and our growing baby.

What are some of your maternity must-haves? Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: June 1st-10th, 2013

You Had Me at Hello

By Jonda Hughes, Having a Baby Editor

I think it's the most amazing thing to see our babies discover the connection between language and action.  Now that my twin boys are 13 months, they are starting to understand words like dog, walk, diaper, water, and milk. It seems that every day they learn a new word and start to make a language-action connection. 

Just the other day Sammy started to whine. I went through all of the words he knows through sign language. We started with the basics like water, food/eat, and milk. After I finished going through the list, Sammy thought about it and signed eat. Then I asked, should we go to your chair? He then crawled towards the high chair and wanted to get into it. For me, the fact that he understands eat and that he knows he eats in his chair is absolutely amazing. 

When you sit back and think about how this all happens, it's crazy. According to Web MD, a baby’s weight has likely tripled since birth. At month 12, babies also have grown by 50% -- about 9 to 11 inches -- and their brain is about 60% of its adult size. They start out as blobs and then a year later they are gargantuan (in comparison to birth) and are putting together words and actions. Oh, and they think they are very funny, tricky and silly.

With their new found understanding, I find myself genuinely laughing at things they do. It makes a frustrating day at work go away. It makes stress from missing something on the check list go away. It is pure joy and innocence and something I wonder a lot about. How (and when for some) does that innocence and joy go away? 

The love for discovery is something that everyone should have throughout their life, whether they get it themselves and/or via their children. It's fun to see it developing in my boys. I just hope I can foster that love in them for a long, long time. 

 Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: May 10th-20th, 2013

A Partner's Perspective

By Elle Lamboy, Having a Baby Editor

From the moment a woman knows she’s pregnant, all of the attention from family, friends, colleagues, strangers and everyone in between gets directly pointed at her and that new baby in her womb. Many people, especially those of us who are expecting, think this is the way it should be!

I mean, the expectant partner is the one who has to go through the morning sickness, heartburn, leg cramps, growing waistline and cravings. But, on the other hand, she also gets to experience the many joys of pregnancy—like those sudden baby kicks!

The partners, however, are sort of pushed to the sidelines. Sure, they have the satisfaction of knowing that they are 50% responsible for the new life growing inside their partner but other than that, they are sort of rendered clueless as to what is going on in the mess of hormones and happiness that their partner has become. And, if they are smart, they take on the chores, nursery prep, and midnight runs to the corner store for ice cream, peanut butter, waffle cones and a jar of pickles to avoid confrontation.

This tumblr blog from an “expectant father” gives a hilarious view from the male perspective of pregnancy. It definitely sheds some light as to what is going on in their heads throughout the nine months of pregnancy and how they cope with the daily highs and lows from their expectant partners.

Share your pregnancy feelings from your unique perspective here! Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: May 1st-10th, 2013

Love Story

By Jonda Hughes, Having a Baby Editor

the night before

danced my enormous tummy to “Fat Mama”

this year, a day before

we flailed and bounced our arms to it again

I remember

driving to the hospital, mixed emotions

drugged up, cut open and out you came

life-changing

Sammy, small, feisty, scrappy

Relaxy Maxy

you joined us right away, such a peaceful baby

uncontrollable crying, from mom or babies?

stopped the car once to make sure you were safe,

comfortable, still breathing

 

“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” twenty times at 3 a.m.

sleep?

sleeping on your R2D2 rug

slurring words, wishing and crying that the crying would stop

 

many times, no clue what to do

hives, fevers, colds…no clue what to do

Sammy, jumping in your bouncy seat

massive poop explosion

running down your legs, jumping and slipping

with the biggest smile on your face

hysterical momma on the floor

off to hose you down

 

aware of your lily-white body

pinching your tummy and smiling ear to ear

your tummy and your skin

coolest thing around

you ache

to throw yourself on the couch

you look out the windows

and catch me coming home with the biggest smile and wave

 

I long to forever remember our first walk outside

first car ride

first meal

first airplane ride

first Mall of America trip

3 hour walk around a 2 mile lake

 

Max, you love

all food

try it and devour it

Sammy, so picky - avocados and grapes

 

you love life, toys, mom, dad, outside

you detest diaper changes and boredom

Maxy smashed the birthday cake

Sammy preferred avocados

 

thrilled for the next year so new

refreshing and invigorating

L'chaim

to life, my loves!

 Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: April 16th-30th, 2013

Baby Registry Woes

By Elle Lamboy, Having a Baby Editor

When it was time to do my bridal registry, I stepped in like a pro. China, crystal, appliances, and linens—all came to me naturally. After our wedding, our love nest was stacked with items that were fabulous, and a bit practical too.

I never really questioned why this came so naturally to me, until my mom called and told me I really needed to set-up my baby registry so she could send out my shower invites.

I’d been going to and hosting parties and dinners my whole life, which made my bridal registry a breeze, but prepping for a baby was really foreign territory. I hadn’t babysat in over a decade, and that was only for my cousins who were way beyond toddler age.

As I reviewed the registry checklist, I immediately started to panic. Not only was it filled with things I was sort of familiar with like bottles and bonnets but also items I’ve never heard of like sleep sacks and wubanubs!

My gut instinct is to always go for what’s trendy, flashy and ascetically pleasing. While this worked for my bridal registry, this all felt so wrong for my baby registry. So, I went the completely opposite route, and only registered for things that had the highest safety ratings. From strollers to sleep sacks I was only interested in their safety. If they had 5 stars they made the registry, whether or not they were cute or practical!

Totally exhausted, I showed the registry to my younger sister who has a full-time gig watching 3 children—two that she cared for since infancy.

“This stroller isn’t going to work,” she said carefully, trying not to send me into a hormonal tailspin,  “you need one that grows with the baby.” An infant won’t be able to travel in this….

HUH?

This same banter occurred for nearly every item.  We went through all the big items, and I listened to the essential qualities each required, and why you need certain things, even sleep sacks.

Once I had the basics down, from the viewpoint of a real “parent” and not pages and pages of Internet reading, I could wisely choose items that were not only safe but also practical (and even cute too!)

So, please, learn from my experience. If you are a first-time parent, call up a friend, parent or loved one who has experience raising children and treat them to lunch or dinner in lieu of some sage advice on how to complete your registry.

Reading and researching on your own is smart, but nothing beats the information you will get from someone who cares about you (and your baby to be!) and can give you pointers that will translate to a happy and prepared experience with your new bundle of joy.

What tips did you find most helpful while creating your baby registry? Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: March 10th-20th, 2013

Science vs Science

By Jonda Hughes, Having a Baby Editor

I have been considering introducing milk a little earlier than the recommended 1 year of age. My twin boys are now drinking 7 ounces each 4x a day. That’s 28oz times 2. That’s a lot of pumping and water and mother’s milk pills. Because I am barely keeping up, my frozen supply is also diminishing.  My goal is to pump and provide breast milk for one year (the magical April 18) but it’s looking like I might make it to 11 months or 11 months and a few weeks.

It’s amazing when you visit the web or ask around the opinions you get. Some say go with formula. The last time we tried that the boys drank very little and then spit up brown “stuff.” That option is not high on my list. Another option is to introduce cow’s milk slightly earlier. But some (including my pediatrician and other respected doctors) say that you are asking for an allergic reaction or even helping to create allergies.

I reached out to my mom. We have allergies in our family, including a history of endocrine issues. Her initial opinion was to wait because of what she’s heard and of our family history.

On second thought, my mom recently came across some research that both she and I found interesting.  I thought I'd pass along. Dr. Mom (in the Sacramento Bee) shared some interesting info that, as they say, you might want to discuss with your doctor...

Dr. Mom notes that food allergies are a mix of genetics and environment.  But says based on recent research that needs to be further pursued, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology now says that there is no need to delay the introduction of highly allergenic foods like dairy, wheat, peanut butter, eggs and fish.  They postulate that, based on observational studies, 6 mos. plus introduction may actually be better and may protect against the development of allergies.  They caution that these are guidelines and more study is needed, but the thinking is that waiting until a child is older may mean that the body treats the strange food as a foreign substance, activating an allergic reaction. 

My mom then says….It makes a person want to summon the spirits of all their lactose-intolerant relatives to ask for a sign about what to do!! I agree.

If you were me, what would you do?

Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: March 1st-10th, 2013

The Big Announcement

By Elle Lamboy, Having a Baby Editor

Hi Stage of Lifers!

This is not only my first Welcome as Editor for this stage but it’s also the first time I’m publicly acknowledging my pregnancy.

I don’t know why I’ve been so nervous about announcing this amazingly huge experience but many of you finding out my big news before my extended family!

I have not been a very fun first time mom-to-be. I’m currently 17 weeks, and have yet to take a picture of my growing baby bump. Even though I am an avid writer, I’m not keeping a pregnancy journal and I told my parents and siblings the big news by sending them a text message of my positive pregnancy test. Not to mention, my poor hubby found out the big news by me slowly handing him the test with the directions to make sure I wasn’t messing it up!

I wasn’t much better with telling my friends either. I kind of just blurted it out immediately after our initial greeting. On one occasion it went something like this:

“Hey Elle, I love that necklace, where did you get it?”

“Thanks. Target. I’m pregnant.”

Don’t get me wrong; I am beyond thrilled to be pregnant. My hubby and I have been married a little over two years and the pregnancy was totally planned…it happened way faster than we expected…but planned nonetheless! I guess the incredible joy mixed with the intense fear of the unknown is making me be a bit superstitious of the pregnancy. Like, if I get overly excited or shout it from the rooftops that something will go wrong.

My brain knows this is the most ridiculous thing ever, and that I should be reveling in this amazing gift but my heart (or my hormones!) are making me an anxious freak!

How did you announce to your close family and friends that you were expecting? Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Having a Baby Editor's Welcome: February 16th-28th, 2013

Birthdays

By Jonda Hughes, Having a Baby Editor

February is a great month. It’s my birthday. When I was young, my mom threw the best birthdays. I think that’s why I love birthdays. She would do the most creative crafts, build forts out of refrigerator boxes, and have the best gift bags for the kids. As a kindergarten teacher, she had the greatest themes and the kids had a ton of fun.

Over the last few years, my birthdays have taken on extra special meaning. Last year, 2012, I was pregnant on my birthday and I knew that I would carry full term. In 2011, I had just lost a pregnancy around my birthday. In February 2010 I was pregnant for the first time and filled with total excitement. Then a few weeks later I lost the pregnancy.

For this birthday, I have 9 month twin boys.  In a few months we’ll be celebrating their birthdays, too. How do I best celebrate a 1-year old birthday? The first year is definitely a celebration for the parents. Lord knows that we have a ton to celebrate - so part of me wants to make it big. Not J-Lo big and petting farm in our backyard big, but big.

So what do you do as a parent? How do you keep the birthdays special but not so over the top that the kids are exhausted, you’re exhausted and you have too many presents to enjoy?

Do you have any good ideas? Don't forget about our Having a Baby Writing Contest!

Read Past Editor Letters