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    600 East Grand Avenue
    (By N. Streeter Drive)
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Jancee Dunn’s New Book Is A Field Guide For The Modern Marriage

Jancee Dunn’s New Book Is A Field Guide For The Modern Marriage

Reading How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids is like talking to your well-read best friend. That’s because the book’s bestselling author, acclaimed journalist Jancee Dunn, feels your pain. She too has been a frustrated mom; she knows why dads act the way they do (it’s part evolutionary, part neurological), and she helps couples manage those tricky first 30 years of parenthood.

In How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids, Dunn also explains why high-earning dads help less than those who bring home a smaller pay check. We interviewed her recently on why she wrote her book, lessons she’s learned since then, and why you’re not the only woman to want to poison the father of her child.

Your book has the best title of any book ever.

It certainly grabs your attention, doesn’t it? The publisher and I figured that if you’re a woman who just had a baby and are deranged, you need something simple and clear and direct.

It’s good even if your kids are teenagers.

I do hear that a lot. I’ve heard it’s also good for empty-nesters who need to get along with their spouse again after the kids have left. It’s basically how to fight like grownups, so it applies to any age.

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s the book I wish I had read when I was pregnant, despite the fact that the title might frighten you about having children. I wish there had been a book that would prepare me—you would still fight, but you would know how to handle it. Also, I wrote it because our marriage was in trouble. I could also see our child’s personality changing. It was the classic thing—we’d be sweet with the kid and curt with each other. That’s stupid, and my daughter knew something was up. I naively thought that she’d be fine because we were not taking anything out on her. If you’re fighting in a small Brooklyn apartment, you are taking it on her, indirectly.

I underlined passages that reminded me of my husband, and after seeing it in print, I felt like I could let some things go. Because it’s not just my husband. It’s a universal truth.

When our daughter was born, I felt really alone. I felt like no one was going through this except me. Even my close friends didn’t tell me how much they were fighting with their husbands. They would tell me years later, but we all kept it from each other because you feel little ashamed maybe or self-conscious.

You write about the jingling of the keys, when the dad is ready to leave the apartment and the mom is still getting herself ready after having fed, dressed, and packed up the children. He wants to know why it always takes her so long.

I would tell him: “Yelling ‘let’s go’ won’t get us out the door any faster. What would help is saying: ‘what can I do?’” He would genuinely be baffled about why I would run out the door with no makeup, in some insane, crazy outfit. And he’d say: “We’ve got to get started earlier.”

You interview an army of experts and cite tons of research. My favorite was the report that explained why men don’t get up for a crying baby at night: They actually don’t hear it. They’re hardwired to hear the overall danger to the family, whereas women hear the offspring.

There is research in sub-conscious brain activity in sleeping men and women. They found that the night time sounds most likely to wake up a woman (like a crying baby) weren’t even in the male top 10. Men would hear car alarms, strong winds, and heavy rain. Researchers figured out that it must have been because men were more responsive to disturbances that posed a larger threat to the whole clan. As for women, their job for millennia was raising babies, so they are more responsive to threats to the baby. Just knowing some of this stuff at least might have calmed me down a little bit. I used to just seethe.

Have you been able to sustain the lessons you learned while writing the book?

No matter what expert I consulted—whether it was a couples’ counselor or FBI crisis negotiator or a home organizer—everyone said the same thing: Clarity. Clarity. Clarity. Fights arise when things are not clear, when roles are not clear, feelings are not clear, when chores are not clear. On weekends, we would fight about who deserved to rest more and who deserved not to do chores. Every weekend we were starting anew. It’s a terrible way to go about things. Now, we divvy up everything. One person sleeps in on Saturday, one sleeps in on Sunday. I needed to increase my communication with him. I was not telling him, in a very clear way, what I needed. I went for emotional rather of practical. I would yell things like: “I’m doing everything around here.” That doesn’t help. It doesn’t give you a way forward. So last week I said: “I’m cleaning up the dishes and can you come over here and help me out?”

But even when you say what you need, you still get the: “I’ll be there in a second.”

I would be doing the dinner dishes and ask for help, and [my husband] would say: “Let it soak.” I would say to him that I needed to get in the kitchen to do other things. I would tell him that activity in the kitchen never stops… Over and over again, I would quietly lead him into another room and shut the door, stick our kid in front of Minecraft, and in a calm voice say: “When you say ‘in a minute,’ you treat this like an option.” I would tell him that things around the house take work; things don’t magically happen. I don’t have options; I just have to get things done.

Your husband came off very well in book, even when he was playing chess on his computer. Did he ask you to change anything?

He just confirmed things. He’s a journalist, so he kept saying: “What matters to me is to tell the truth.” He kept saying that readers can sense when you’re BS’ing them.

Your research is for heterosexual couples, but your insight seems it would apply for same-sex couples as well.

There’s usually a primary parent in every relationship—either same-sex or not—who does more of the work. And that can engender resentment, no matter who you are. But there is more research emerging about same-sex couples. They seem to be getting a lot of this stuff right that heterosexuals are not.

Do you see yourself falling into any parenting traps with your daughter the way you did with your husband?

I need to be consistent with her the way I am with him.

To learn more about Jancee Dunn, visit janceedunn.net!


Maclaren X Dylan’s Candy Bar

Maclaren X Dylan’s Candy Bar

Two of the most recognizable names in the children and family space—Dylan’s Candy Bar and Maclaren—have joined forces in the sweetest way this year!

Just launched earlier this summer, the Maclaren X Dylan’s Candy Bar collection is a line of limited edition Maclaren strollers (including the Volo, the Quest, and the Junior Quest models) designed with Dylan’s Candy Bar’s signature aesthetic of vibrant stripes and colorful candies.

“As a mom myself, I wanted to design a stroller that was not only fun for kids, but for parents, too,” says Dylan Lauren, founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar.

To learn more, visit maclaren.us!


Thinkbaby’s Chemical-Free Products Are A Win-Win For You And Your Little One

Thinkbaby’s Chemical-Free Products Are A Win-Win For You And Your Little One

Sippy-and-Bento_Baby-300x300Thinkbaby is the first company to develop a 100% BPA free baby bottle and now offers other feeding products. One of Thinkbaby’s newer offerings is body care products as well as safe yoga mats. The health of you and your child is paramount at Thinkbaby.

Thinkbaby will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.


To learn more about Thinkbaby, we spoke with Kevin Brodwick, the company’s founder and CEO.

For someone unfamiliar with Thinkbaby, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings? 

Thinkbaby was created over 10 years ago to address the growing concern of harmful chemicals leaching from consumer products.  Through work with leading scientists, Thinkbaby launched the first 100% BPA free baby bottle line.  While the company focuses first on producing safe products, we also work to make everything as functional and sustainable as possible.  To this end, the bottle line was designed to convert into a sippy cup and then on to a straw bottle. This not only saved parents money, but decreases needless waste from disposal of baby bottles, sippy cups, and straw bottles.  The company went on to pioneer the most award-winning sun care line and the first to pass Whole Foods Premium Care requirements.  Outside of the company’s complete line-up of feeding products, Thinksport was created with the focus on making safer products from insulated BPA free sports bottles, safe yoga mats and a complete line of sun and body care products.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then? 

The Founder worked for a lab funded by the National Institutes of Health focused on endocrine disruptors leaching from consumer products.  After unsuccessfully getting major consumer product companies to move off of BPA, Kevin Brodwick went on to launch Thinkbaby to take the problem head on.  The company utilizes the Precautionary principle in everything that it builds. Just because an ingredient is free of one potentially harmful ingredient doesn’t mean that it goes into the products.  Everything is scrutinized for safety, performance, and function.  The company continually targets products on the market to bring about safer alternatives.  The company stays close to emerging science and has well over 150 products in their line up, making it the largest provider of safe products.

What are the most popular and/or newest products from Thinkbaby?

Thinkbaby has recently launched our new ThinkSaucer. The ThinkSaucer is a suction plate.  Outside of the materials being used in most suction plates of concern, we noticed that they had a rather short lifespan.  We designed our suction plate to have a removable plate.  So they not only work great for early feeders but can easily live on for use for all ages.  The two most popular products for Thinkbaby are our Sippy Cups and Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen.

What sets Thinkbaby apart in the baby marketplace? 

Our focus on bringing to market safer alternatives across a vast array of products is what sets us apart.  The company was specifically born to deal with harmful chemicals; it is what keeps us up at night.  And while a lot of companies have emerged now, we have been at the forefront of this mission from our outset.  We will continue to launch new products and through our non-profit social giving arm called Thinksocial, we will continue to give back to causes that are focused on making the world safer and healthier.

What can parents expect from Thinkbaby at the Chicago Baby Show?

While we have a large number of products, we will be showcasing a smaller set of our products from our sippy cups to our sunscreen.  We are bringing our BPA free insulated sports bottles as well!  Looking forward to sharing information on our products and to provide some really great show specials along the way!!


To learn more about Thinkbaby, check out gothinkbaby.com.

5 Essential Carpool Safety Tips

5 Essential Carpool Safety Tips

Carpooling is not only convenient, but it’s also a fun and efficient means of transportation (both during the school year and during the summer when kids are headed to day camps, warm weather activities, and play dates). Here are five tips to ensure all your precious passengers stay safe.

 1. Have a safety discussion with your carpool: You may do all the right things when it comes to kids and cars, but what about the other parents you are entrusting your children with? Do they always make sure safety seats are being used properly? Do they always keep kids ages 12 and under in the backseat? Do they always refrain from using their cell phone while driving? Have a frank discussion with each driver and make sure you are all on the same page when it comes to safety.

2. Remember basic car seat safety: In a nutshell, kids should remain in their five-point harness seats for as long as possible. Once they reach the maximum weight and/or height requirements for their five-point harness seat (check your car seat’s manual), they can move to a booster seat. According to the American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP), young passengers should remain in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits them correctly, usually at 4’9″ and somewhere between 8-12 years of age. The seat belt fits properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Kids ages 12 and under should always sit in the back seat.

The introduction of portable booster options has made carpooling easier than ever. The Bubble Bum and the Ride Safer Travel Vest are a couple great options that meet all federal vehicle safety standards and are a cinch to use. The Mifold is another new product that is a fraction of the size of traditional boosters and fits in the glove compartment of your car.

3. Create an emergency call list for each child: Create a simple list that contains emergency information for each child in the carpool. Some information to include: Parents’ contact information, an alternative contact number (such as grandma, grandpa or a nearby friend), the name, number and address of your pediatrician and child’s dentist, a copy of your medical insurance card and the child’s medical history (i.e: Allergies, special medications, etc.). Storing this information on each driver’s cell phone provides easy access.

4. Create an organized schedule: Ensure everyone knows when he or she is responsible for pick-up and drop-off by putting a schedule in writing. This will avoid confusion for all involved. Doodle and Google Docs are great options to do this online. Be sure to also share your schedule with your children so they know who will be picking them up.

5. Practice safe behavior while driving: Imagine the kind of driver you hope your child will be at age 16—and drive that way. Refrain from any distracting behaviors such as texting, blaring loud music, or talking on the telephone. Always buckle up and follow the rules of the road. Also, be sure to secure anything that could become a projectile in your car if you should be in an accident. If you have an SUV, use the trunk cover. If you have toys in the car to entertain baby, be sure they aren’t heavy and don’t have sharp edges to cause damage.

Jennifer Beall Saxton is the founder and CEO of Tot Squad, a trusted partner of retailers, stroller, and car seat brands that offers car seat installation, baby gear cleaning and stroller repair. Franchising opportunities and more information on tot squad is available at thetotsquad.com.

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Nursery Pick: Anne Geddes Paint

Nursery Pick: Anne Geddes Paint

Iconic baby photographer Anne Geddes has created her own line of nursery paint specifically designed to help nurture a baby’s development. Geddes partnered with Master Paintmakers to create 10 non-toxic and water-based shades of paint that are perfect for nurseries. The paint line features soft shades including “Darling,” ” Heaven,” “Cherish,” and “Sunbeam.”

Geddes is a world renowned photographer specializing in baby photography. Known for her adorable photos, she has dressed babies in props from flower pots and food costumes to blending in with the sea and nature. She recently published a new book called Small World in which she catches up with the babies she photographed years ago. Geddes has also photographed children to bring awareness to health and safely. In 2012, she partnered with the United Nation’s Foundation Every Woman Every Child initiative to bring awareness to women and children’s health and welfare.

Her new paint line features a baby safe formula. Not only are they toxic-free and water-based, but they are made from natural ingredients, making it safe for babies, children and pregnant mothers. In addition, the paints are durable and easy to clean. Once the paint is dry, stains and marks can be washed off without any damage.

Research shows colored rooms have a more comforting effect on babies and children compared to bare ones, and every color in her paint line has a different effect for babies. The colors are separated into four categories: calm, clever, creative and confident. Calm colors feature soft pastels while clever colors are bright and energetic. Inspired by her mantra “Protect. Nurture. Love,” the colors are specifically designed to encourage development and exploration and help soothe and relax babies. Each color is formulated to stimulate imaginative thoughts through a sense of love and natural wonder.

One percent of all sale proceeds from her paint line will be donated to charities. The shades of paints are available in U.S. gallon and quart sizes, and be purchased at Walmart.

To learn more, visit annegeddespaint.com & annegeddes.com!




Re-Play Offers Safe, Recyclable, Durable, and Affordable Dishware For Baby

Re-Play Offers Safe, Recyclable, Durable, and Affordable Dishware For Baby

1468812586985-1-300x200It’s no surprise that parents want the very best for their baby’s health, and a vital part of that is ensuring that what your baby eats and drinks from is nontoxic. While the safety issue is first and foremost, moms and dads also want quality items that are both made well and durable. Re-Play offers just that: sustainable plates, bowls, utensils, and cups made from recyclable material — without the hazardous chemicals.

Re-Play will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.


We spoke with a member of the Re-Play team, Rachel George, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show. 

For someone unfamiliar with Re-Play, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings? 

Re-Play plates, bowls, utensils, and cups are made out of recycled HDPE plastic – basically, that means milk jugs! All Re-Play dishware is available in a wide variety of colors and sets. From snack stacks and no-spill sippy cups to divided and flat plates, each product is designed with the 5 tenets of responsibility in mind.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then? 

Re-Think It, Inc. was founded by husband and wife team Craig and Amy Shumway with the goal of producing high quality, durable, and sustainable consumer goods. Re-Think It began producing an all-purpose scrubber called the Original Power Puff, featuring a long handle made out of recycled milk jugs. In 2011, Re-Think It unveiled the Re-Play line of infant and toddler dishware. Featuring a wide color pallet, each plate, bowl, cup, and utensil is manufactured out of recycled, FDA approved food safe plastic.

What are the most popular and newest products from Re-Play? 

Our most popular items are our divided plates and utensils.

What sets Re-Play apart in the baby marketplace? 

We pride ourselves on making sustainable products here in the U.S. that are affordable and durable.

What can parents expect from Re-Play at the Chicago Baby Show? 

Parents can expect a colorful booth with special discounted prices on our most popular items in our favorite colors.

To learn more about Re-Play, check out re-play.com.

b.box Helps Parents With Fun And Functional Essentials

b.box Helps Parents With Fun And Functional Essentials

bowl-strawFINALHighRes-300x211Practicality is perhaps the mantra of parenthood and it’s something that b.box knows very well (they began with the innovative diaper wallet!). They offer practical yet child-centered daily essentials that help make mom and dad’s day a little easier…and a child’s day a little more fun.

b. box will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.


We spoke with a member of the b.box team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with b.box, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

At b.box we are passionate about creating fun and functional everyday baby essentials with a difference. Our goal is to make the lives of parents more convenient, in a cool and innovative way. Most of all, everything we do has to be practical and child-centric.

With the benefit of the founders being moms themselves, b.box designs products parents need, want to use and that fill a gap in the market. We offer a range of products aimed at tots aged 0-3-year, focused primarily on feeding and storage accessories, both in the home and on-the-go.

Our award-winning collection of innovatively designed everyday baby essentials includes:  the Sippy Cup, Diaper Wallet, Bottle + Dispenser, Diaper Caddy, Travel Bib + Flexible Spoon, Travel Drying Rack, Snack Pack, Mesh Feeder, Baby Spoon, Bowl + Straw, Toddler Cutlery Set and Divided Plates. Our minds are always whirring, so stay tuned for more exciting products launching in 2017.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

It all started with a diaper wallet! In 2007, best friends Monique Filer and Dannielle Michaels teamed up to bring the baby-world their first invention, b.box’s diaper wallet. While on a flight to New Zealand, Dannielle found the task of changing her newborn’s diaper to be quite clumsy and awkward. Thus, the idea for a convenient, all-in-one essential baby box was born (In case you’re wondering, yes b.box is short for baby box)! The essential diaper wallet was launched and 7 years later we’ve grown to 18 products sold in 750 stores Australia-wide and in 22 countries.

What are the most popular and newest products from b.box?

Our newest items are our infant and toddler feeding products:

Bowl + Straw: It’s the bowl with more, featuring a removable clip and straw so kids can drink liquid such as soup or milk and then use a spoon to scoop the rest. It also comes with a bonus insert for snack time on the go. And if your child leaves some for later, just pop the lid on for easy storage. The handles are designed for little hands and the teardrop shape is ideal for drinking straight out of the bowl, making mealtime lots of fun. It is available in Ocean Breeze, Strawberry Shake, Passion Splash and Lemon Sherbet.

Toddler Cutlery: Designed in consultation with a leading pediatric occupational therapist, our unique fork has been designed to fit the size and shape of little mouths. The shovel-shaped design and angle enables it to double as an implement to help children push food against and onto their fork, as well as a spoon itself. Both are specially designed to fit little hands and give kids ultimate maneuverability and control. The angle between the head and handle has also been carefully designed to ensure correct hand-to-mouth positioning. And for added convenience, it comes with its own case for mealtime on the go. It is also available in Ocean Breeze, Strawberry Shake, Passion Splash and Lemon Sherbet.

Divided Plate: The perfect complement to the b.box cutlery and bowl, this divided plate is great for kids who tend to like to explore new tastes and textures separately. It has a great size surface area, non-slip base, and easy-grip rim.

Other popular items in the collection are the Sippy Cup, Travel Bib and Spoon, Diaper Wallet, and Diaper Caddy.

What sets b.box apart from other childcare product companies?

What sets us apart is the thought we give to design, functionality, and aesthetic. We feel proud to continue launching innovative products that allow parents to empower their children to be independent, all in a fun and functional design; it’s at the heart of everything we do!

Everything b.box does is not only fun and practical but designed for added value and long-term benefits. This includes the b.box diaper wallet, which can be used to hold not only diapers and wipes but also a change of clothes for baby, and the b.box diaper caddy which can be used as an art caddy for kids in addition to a diaper caddy.

What can parents expect from b.box at the Chicago Baby Show?

Parents will get to see a colorful display of the full range of b.box feeding and diapering items including, the company’s innovative new feeding items, their Bowl + Straw, Toddler Cutlery set and Divided Plates. Not to mention, getting a sneak-peek out at our newest feeding products and stroller accessories launching this year!

To learn more about b.box, check out bboxbaby.com.

The Ultimate Guide To Flying With Babies & Kids

The Ultimate Guide To Flying With Babies & Kids

What do a root canal and running a marathon have in common? Both are easier and a bit more pleasant than flying with kids! In all seriousness, air travel with kids isn’t for the faint of heart, but here are a few tips that just might help a little….or a lot!

Pack Only What You Have To: Sometimes it feels as though you need an entourage just to transport all your children’s gear: Car seat, stroller, portable crib, diaper bag, feeding supplies, etc. But when you travel, bring only what you absolutely need for the actual flight and purchase/rent/borrow everything else at your destination. Most hotels, even many economy-class hotels, provide cribs or high chairs free of charge. There are also services such as Baby’s Away or Babierge that actually deliver gear to your hotel or condo. They will bring car seats, cribs, high chairs, strollers, even toys, right to you—so you don’t have to lug gear through the airport. If you do need to bring your own gear, however, be prepared to check it.

Lastly, pack a spare change of clothes for your child and for yourself in your carry on, in case your child throws up, or has an accident or a diaper blow out.

It Is Possible To Stroll Right Up To The Gate: If you are like many moms, your child’s stroller is like a second home on wheels. Not only does it keep your kids contained, but it stores a ton of stuff. When traveling, bring a portable stroller (must be collapsible or foldable) to the airport that you can then take right up to the gate and check free of charge. Just keep in mind that you will need to go through security, so plan on being asked to take everything out of the stroller (including your child).

However, if you elect to not bring your stroller up to the gate, or use your car seat on-board, airlines will check each for free. Keep in mind that like any baggage, your gear may be damaged if not protected, so it’s a good idea to either use the original box your items came in or purchase a bag for them. Best of all, these bags are generally very roomy and provide a little additional packing space, free of charge!

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Don’t Forget About The Security Checkpoint – Plan For It: This can be one of the toughest part of flying with kids, however with just a bit of planning, it can be pretty painless.

Tip: Try to avoid is having lots of small bags—just have one big bag to throw on the conveyor belt. Next, wear easy slip-off shoes and no metal jewelry or belts (one less thing to struggle with when you are also trying to keep an eye on your kids). Finally, be sure to check your diaper bag for liquids, gels, and creams, and put only the essentials (diaper cream, liquid meds, first aid supplies) in a quart-sized zip-lock bag. Note: Formula and breast milk are allowed, but you may need to go through an additional inspection process.

Bring Your Child’s Safety Seat On The Plane

You are not required to, but both the Federal Aviation Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend that you use an FAA-approved child restraint device for your child. This requires that you purchase a seat for your infant or toddler. Legally, you may carry a child up to 24 months old on your lap, usually free of charge, but this isn’t the safest option.

A couple of other things you want to keep in mind when it comes to car seats on planes.

  • Purchase a window seat. That is where the seat must go, so that it doesn’t block the exit in case of emergency. Car seats are not allowed in exit rows or aisles.
  • Make sure your car seat is FAA-approved. The label should read, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” Flight attendants are instructed to look for the label, and you may run into problems if it’s missing.
  • Booster seats are not allowed for use on airplanes.
  • The FAA suggests that all infants under 20 lbs ride in a rear-facing seat; 20-40 lbs ride in a forward-facing seat and 40 lbs and up use the regular seat restraints. As always, consult the manufacturer’s user guide for instructions on securing the seat.

And as an added bonus, kids generally rest better and feel more comfortable in a seat that is familiar to them. That means an easier flight for you!

Jennifer Beall Saxton is the founder and CEO of Tot Squad, a trusted partner of retailers, stroller, and car seat brands that offers car seat installation, baby gear cleaning and stroller repair. Franchising opportunities and more information on Tot Squad is available at thetotsquad.com.




Great App: Baby2Body

Great App: Baby2Body

New moms can download Baby2Body for a personalized guide for a healthy pregnancy and happy motherhood! Baby2Body, which is free to download on iTunes, makes it easier for expectant and new mothers to stay healthy, happy, and fit!

Don’t miss out on all the daily information this app offers—their team of beauty, nutrition, and fitness enthusiasts have all the scoop you need from pregnancy until your child is 3 years old. They also offer premium content for paying users and have a robust blog that’s always brimming with bump and baby news you can use.

To learn more, visit baby2body.com!

10 Tips For A Better Hospital Birth

10 Tips For A Better Hospital Birth

Although there are a fair number of home births in the United States, most women choose a hospital birth setting. More and more hospitals are trying to make the clinical setting feel less clinical. Beautifully painted walls, fine art, and comfortable linens are all nice selling points when you see them during your hospital tour, but are those things the most important? During birth class, most of the questions women ask me have to do with the surroundings in labor and delivery and not the more important questions which might help someone experience a better hospital birth. Let’s look at what a labor nurse might tell you.

1. First and foremost, get to know your caregiver. We all envision a calm, safe birthing environment but it all begins with the right OB or midwife. If you haven’t had a conversation about your birth vision, you won’t know if your caregiver is on board with your preferences.

2. If you have a choice between two hospitals, tour them both. Sometimes it comes down to the hospital’s reputation, and sometimes it’s just a feeling. If the place has a good vibe, that might be good enough.

3. Are the people involved in your labor and birth supportive of your preferences? We love when family is around—most of the time. Your parents, siblings, and closest friends should be compassionate and accommodating to your choices. Have this conversation when nearing your due date. There is nothing more distressing to your birth nurse than when her patient is being bullied and browbeaten into someone else’s vision of what your experience should look like. For instance, if you decide to have an epidural and your family disagrees, you can politely ask them to go get something to eat or ask for “a few minutes of privacy.” If that doesn’t work, your nurse will usually be happy to intervene.

4. Ask your birth educator, your doula, and your caregiver about hospital policy and area standards of care. When laboring women come to the delivery room with a long birth plan, I sit with them and go over it line by line. Your RN will be able to tell you what is and is not possible in the hospital setting. Your birth instructor should know what is and isn’t an option as well. Knowing what to expect adds an extra layer of confidence in your team.

5. Understand your nurse’s role in the delivery room. We examine you for dilation, access your progress, and interpret the fetal heart rate monitor and your contractions. We administer your medication, mange your IV lines if you have them, and help you make decision about pain relief options. It’s your nurse with whom you will be spending almost all of your time. She is responsible for carrying out the doctor or midwife’s orders, advocating for you when necessary, and sometimes delivering your baby if it happens fast!

6. Your labor nurse may be taking care of two families. Ask your caregiver how the unit is staffed and what the nurse/patient ratio is in your hospital. Remember, a labor unit is a collaborative effort. A different nurse than the one assigned to you may come into your room to answer your call bell, examine you if your doctor asks, or take over while your nurse is on a break. Every mom is our patient. There is no “yours and mine” in this setting.

7. Does your OB allow intermittent fetal monitoring to allow for freedom of movement, eating, and drinking lightly throughout labor or the use of a saline lock (an IV that is capped off in case of immediate need) as an alternative to continuous IV fluids? These practices are fully supported by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Midwifery. Remember, gravity is your friend! Ask for the least amount of intervention possible and when intervention is suggested, ask why. Knowledge is empowering. When you understand a procedure, only then can you make “informed consent.”

8. Hire a doula if you can. Ask around, talk to your friends and look on area websites. There are wonderful, caring, compassionate doulas in most communities. Interview a few doulas and look for someone who understands how hospitals work. If a doula tries to get between you and your caregiver, run! A labor doula’s job is to provide physical and emotional support to the laboring family—not to make any medical decisions. Sometimes the OBs or midwives have a list of doulas they feel comfortable working with or you can go to the DONA or CAPPA website to find doulas in your community. If your caregiver is reluctant, unsupportive, or dismissive, ask questions. The labor environment should be collaborative and supportive.

9. Is your hospital baby-friendly or, at the very least, able to provide full-time breastfeeding coverage? Ask your hospital labor and delivery director or tour guide if you can count on breastfeeding support from a certified lactation educator or consultant, and if so, ask if you can count on that same coverage on the weekends. Take a comprehensive breastfeeding class before birth—please! You’re going to be drained and having a tool chest of strategies for successful breastfeeding will give you a running head start. If you’re going to bottle-feed make it clear to the staff and ask for support. Your postpartum experience is part of your birth experience; it doesn’t end in the delivery room.

10. The most important tip for a better hospital birth is to be open minded. Yes, practicing relaxation techniques learned in class, birth ball maneuvers, and positions and postures for labor are all important preparation, but I can honestly say that the women who come into this experience with an open mind often have a much better birth experience over all—even when things don’t go as planned. Moms that can let go and allow the process to play out often have much less postpartum depression and an easier time breastfeeding, as well as a faster recovery.

Lizabeth Baker Wade RN is Labor and Delivery Nurse, birth doula, and birth educator. In 2002 she opened Birth and Beyond in Santa Monica, CA, and has provided birth education, labor doula services, and postpartum doula services for hundreds of new parents. For more information, visit birthandbeyond.net.