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Now What?

As
the old adage goes, having a baby changes everything. The anticipation
and readjustment of your world as you know it brings on unique emotions and an
onset of questions, doubt and worry. But with a little help from your friends,
and a few leading experts, you can prepare to welcome these challenges and changes
as the next wonderful phase of your evolving life. —

What
To Read During Pregnancy

So
you found out you’re expecting (congrats!), and you’re ready to rush out to the
local bookstore for all the latest and greatest parenting texts. Prepare to be
overwhelmed by hundreds of books on the subject, warns “Born & Bred
Founding Editor and new mother Leah Black. “My tip would be to pick one or two
books that you really like that will carry you throughout your pregnancy,” says
Black. “Look for one book that’s all encompassing.”

One
of her favorites is The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy
and Early Parenthood
by Joanne Stone and Keith Eddleman. “It’s sort of like
a textbook to pregnancy,” Black says.

The
Pregnancy Bible

has color photos and glossy pages, covering a little bit of everything that
both parents are experiencing (or are just plain curious about), including
nutrition, fetal development, intimacy issues and maternity leave. “Actually,
it has a cool scientific angle,” Black says. “I’ve recommended it to friends
who really like it.”

The
Balanced Registry

When
looking for the perfect registry items, “Born & Bred” maternity blogger and
expectant mother Katie Main suggests a mix of inexpensive gifts with a few
high-end choices. “You should decide what items are important enough that you
want the higher-end versions.” It also helps to ask friends with children what
worked for them and what items seemed “unnecessary.”

For
a registry location,
Main recommends Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, giggle, or myregistry.com
where you can register items from the stores of your choice. “I registered
online,”
Main says, “because I found
it helpful to read customer reviews.”

Registry
Must-Haves:

1.
If you are someone who’s quick in the kitchen and plans on making your own baby
food once your baby starts eating solids, the BEABA Babycook is a good choice.
The countertop appliance is a multifunctional device that can steam, blend,
warm and defrost foods with the click of a button.

2.
In
New York City, your stroller is like
your car—so you want a good one. City Mini is a nice mid-price option. With a
wide range of choices, including joggers, new parents will have no trouble
finding a baby carriage that will get them from point A to point B in style.

3.
For the first few weeks when the baby is still in your room—people swear by The
Arm’s Reach%uFFFD CO-SLEEPER%uFFFD
brand Bassinet. It’s a must-have for sleepless nights!

Overcoming
Breastfeeding Struggles

New
and expectant moms dream about those initial bonding moments with baby,
especially during feedings,—one of the most intimate experiences of motherhood.
But many mothers struggle.

“It
is about building the most normal, healthy feeding relationship with your
baby,” says Susan E. Burger, President of The New York Lactation Consultant
Association

If
you’re dealing with breastfeeding troubles, Burger suggests that mothers remind
themselves of all the things that are going well with their newborns. At
the same time, acknowledging the frustration and sadness is okay and even
expected. “Allow yourself to feel those emotions so you can properly mourn the
loss of your idealized image of infant feeding. Then dust yourself off and
figure out what you can do to make it better.”

For
more information on feeding and bonding options, visit NYLCA.org.

Five
Ways To Baby-Proof Your Apartment

James
Hirtenstein, Owner and Founder of Baby-
SAFE Inc., offers some
important tips on how to baby-proof a city apartment.

1.
Identify all the dangers that are present in your home. Though simplistic
in theory, it is the most important thing a parent can do. The best way to
identify dangers for a baby or toddler is to get down on all fours and crawl
around as they will be doing, paying attention to potential hazards.

2.
Make sure that the home is equipped with all fire safety equipment. It’s
also a good idea to include a rehearsed fire escape plan.

3.
Latch up all cabinets with dangerous items stored inside. Think of items
like cleaning liquids, medicines, sharp objects—anything you wouldn’t want your
child to touch or be near.

4.
Anchor all furniture that can tip over. You can do a simple test with a
push of your hand. If it tips, be sure to secure it to the floor.

5.
If the home has stairs, then safety gates should be attached at both top and
bottom of the staircases.
And if you don’t have stairs, always remember to
keep an eye on your little ones when you’re out and about.

Back
To Work After Baby

One
of the biggest challenges facing new parents is returning to work. Finding the
right balance with your boss, spouse and a new baby proves complicated but not
impossible with the right plan in place.

“Balance
is a big part of it,” says Pamela Weinberg of Mind Your Own Business Moms, an
organization dedicated to keeping stay-at-home moms connected to the workforce.
“I think new moms and new parents really never feel one-hundred percent
comfortable, and I think that’s just the push-pull effect of going back to
work.”

Because
every corporate culture differs, Weinberg suggests that taking steps even
before taking leave helps to prepare parents. “If at all possible, find a role
model at work, someone you respect who has gone through this before.”

Talking
with a mentor about their experience alleviates many unwarranted fears. And
this goes for the boss as well. Set up a meeting to discuss your future plans,
asking your employer “how they see it working,” to reach a mutual comfort zone.

“I
think the biggest challenge every new parent faces is childcare,” says
Weinberg. “There is no close second. It’s finding the right situation, person,
daycare to care for your child so you feel comfortable and at ease.”

Set
up check points during the day for calls with your childcare provider or have
them keep a daily journal so you feel informed and connected.

Dealing
With Your Mother

After
having a child, the relationship between you and your own mother evolves into
something quite different.

“Sometimes
it can be just a fresh start, a new relationship,” says Heather Ouida of
babybites, an online social and educational community for moms and moms-to-be.
“Just because you may have butted heads with your mom when you were growing up,
it doesn’t mean that that dynamic will continue.”

Ouida
recommends keeping an open mind. “You may discover things that you never knew
about your mom. She may be the best grandmother and best support network for
you.”

For
those new moms who had a close relationship with their mother, as Ouida did,
the natural positive energy and connection should carry over. “I think if you
have a good relationship with your mom, be prepared that it will
continue—embrace it, go with it,” Ouida says. “It’s such a positive thing for
you and your child.”

…And
Your Mother-In-Law

Dr.
Karen Rancourt, of Rancourt Parenting—a guidance-based program for parents of
advantaged children—and “Ask Grandma Karen” (debuting this fall), shares
two-word mantras for new or expectant moms and their mothers-in-law—lighten
up
and zip it, respectively.

Grandparents
must recognize that they are a resource, not authoritarian, insists Dr.
Rancourt. “My advice to grandmoms is to first and foremost remember we are the
grandparents, not the parents,” she says.

Allowing
new parents the control they need benefits the entire family. However, they
should try to understand that taking on a more passive role in the early stages
of grandparenthood may prove difficult initially for their own parents.

“You’ve
earned the right to participate in raising your grandchildren and you earn that
right by respecting who’s in the driver’s seat and you staying in the
backseat,” Rancourt says with regard to new grandparents. “Lo and behold if you
can do this consistently enough you may be invited to come up in the front seat
and help in some of the more fundamental, important aspects of making these
parenting decisions.”