Are Millennial Dads More Active In Child Rearing?

Millennial dads are redefining fatherhood. Their progressive beliefs and behaviors—seemingly more prevalent than in prior generations—are shattering the tired media stereotype of the disconnected dad.

In ages past, the typical father would come home from work, read the newspaper, and remain relatively disconnected from his children. His breadwinning and rule making made him the ideal father. However, millennial dads define parenthood in terms that expand beyond just financial security and into the realm of attentive engagement with their little ones. This new generation of fathers seems to be deeply committed to supporting their partners, fostering familial bonds, and paternal involvement in their children’s personal development.

Although some may perceive millennial fatherhood as “soft” or too involved, a number of research studies suggest otherwise.

When Dad Is Engaged Everyone Wins 

The Children

Are children benefitting from dads’ hands-on involvement? The research implies that the answer is a resounding “yes.” A group of international researchers (Sarkadi et al, 2007) examined eighteen research studies on the influence of fathers’ involvement on children’s developmental outcomes. They found overwhelming evidence indicating that playful, nurturing, and consistent paternal care has a positive impact on children’s behavioral, cognitive, social and psychological development.

Involved dads are more likely to positively influence their children’s emotional well-being, creativity, critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and academic achievement. In addition, children with involved fathers tend to develop a higher general sense of worth. Studies suggest this is directly related to dad’s willingness to give time, care, and attention to their children.

Mom

Old-fashioned gender roles no longer function well in the 21st century, and for many modern-day families, they need to be redefined. Most families are recognizing that parenting isn’t a moms-only domain. In today’s North American culture, either parent can be the primary breadwinner or the primary caregiver, depending on the specific needs of each family. Many dual-career couples face challenging decisions about the balance between careers and parenting responsibilities. Especially during their children’s early years, it is important for parents to have discussions about the joint responsibilities of wage-earning and care-giving.

A 2012 study, “The New Dad: Right at Home,” highlighted that, “fathers can be excellent primary caregivers and through doing so can help support the career development and earning potential of their spouses.” Dads are stepping up. They take their toddlers to the park so moms can take a shower; they clean the kitchen so moms can meet important deadlines at work. One in five millennial dads are fully responsible for childcare tasks, from carpools to coordinating play dates. Over 60% of fathers report that they have some degree of responsibility for their children’s bedtime routine, bath time, medical appointments, or morning routine.

Most of us know that parenting is not easy. When dad helps out with the tasks that have been traditionally considered to be in mom’s realm, everyone wins.

Dad

Although newborns typically spend most of their time being nurtured by moms, dad’s role is also essential. Time spent with the baby in the early weeks and months provides a positive foundation for developing a strong relationship as the child grows, making fatherhood more rewarding and enjoyable.

58% of millennial dads place family before work. A study published by The Academy of Management Perspectives in 2015 showed that working dads who spend more time with their children enjoy greater levels of job satisfaction than those who do not. The study also suggested that the more time men spend with their children, the less central their careers are to their identities. Perhaps learning from the habits of their fathers and grandfathers, many millennial fathers seem to recognize that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.”

Nine in ten millennial dads actively strive to improve their parenting and to forge their own unique parenting paths. The Internet has provided many avenues to help dads on their parenting journeys. Instead of asking friends or family for parenting advice, over 80% of millennial dads turn to Google and YouTube for fatherhood tips and guides. These sources can help men answer questions about everything from baby’s health to preparing child-friendly and nutritious meals to building safe tree houses. Expectant and new millennial dads frequently make online purchases to respond to their children’s needs. From car seats and strollers to educational tools and toys, dads are conscientious decision-makers when deciding what to purchase. Safety, quality, online reviews, and peer recommendations play central roles in this process, and dads are willing to pay premium prices for products that meet their standards.

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate great dads, especially those who experience the joy and feel the priceless reward of being involved parents. To show your appreciation for any soon-to-be millennial dad in your life, give him a gift that supports what will come to mean the most to him—his child. If he values strong early childhood development and lifelong learning, this gift could mean the world to him and his future child.

 

#babyplus, #dad, #fathersday, #millennialdads, #dads-to-be, #parenting, #childdevelopment
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What Being a Mom Really Means

The decision to become a mom is the choice to become the most powerful person in a child’s life and is beyond calculation. It’s carrying and caring for a life that’s completely relying on mom not only for survival, but to uplift them and to, among other things, teach them the hard rules of life. Being a mother is also the most challenging and rewarding relationship a woman will ever have.  And so, I’m inspired by great moms and salute all of the extra efforts they make for the sake of their children.

Nowadays, though, it seems we figuratively pat moms on the head, buy them flowers and the perfect mushy cards on Mother’s Day.  However, when all is said and done, we don’t really show them nearly as much respect as we would a doctor, a lawyer or a therapist despite their complicated role. In fact, women who choose to be stay-at-home moms are often referred to as “just a mom.”  Even if they opt to work full-time while raising children or stay home with their little ones, we need to understand that any mom-shaming related to the decision to mother effectively undermines female empowerment considering all that moms are required to do.

Safety and Security

Mostly it is mom’s job to be a protector, providing a healthy and safe environment in her womb while her baby develops.  This responsibility continues once her baby enters the world, whether it’s guaranteeing her babe-in-arms has a sturdy roof over its head or keeping the Boogeyman away at night and everything else in between.

Some of you may feel as if I am forgetting about fathers and other influential relationships between children and close family members and teachers. After all they say it takes a village to raise a child, right? Although that is true, I am sure we all can agree that it’s not “a village” that a young child cries for when he or she is distressed. You, mom, are usually the dependable person your baby can run to with all of their problems.  If you can’t make everything better, then who else can?

If a child has been holding it together all day, in an unpleasant and difficult situation, usually the minute their teary eyes land on your face, they know they can finally relax and release their bottled feelings on you, as a mom is an emotional blankie for a child to have permission to keep their emotions 100% real. Plus, most moms can usually sense when their child is feeling troubled. Often lending an open ear and just letting him or her talk freely about the worry can help a child move quickly beyond it. When mom reduces her child’s risks and stress, this helps to firmly support their spiritual, mental and emotional development and physical health. When a child isn’t constantly worried that something devastating is going to happen, he or she learns to have faith. Their nervous system is calm and relaxed, and they can sleep more soundly and their mind can heal their body in a natural way as well, whereas a child who does not feel safe typically becomes withdrawn, has difficulty concentrating and/or overreacts to inconsequential problems.

Unconditional Love and Affection

On top, a child’s self-image is greatly influenced by their emotional relationship to mom. The first instances of self-awareness are experienced through seeing themselves in the mirror of their mom’s eyes and through her words and actions— how she touches and holds her child. If this is coupled with love and affection, her child feels on cloud nine as the earliest seeds of healthy self-esteem are being sowed. Early attachments also form a child’s mental pictures of how relationships function in the world. A lack of maternal warmth and validation distorts their sense of self, making them lack trust in, or be wary of, close emotional connections. That’s because a child’s need for its mother’s love is a primal driving force, and that need does not lessen with unavailability. Actually it exists side by side with the understanding that the one woman who is supposed to love you without condition doesn’t. The work it takes to heal and deal with that reality is hard to say the least. It has an effect on many parts of the self but mostly in the area of relationships.

Life Coach and Mentor

A mom also has the power to instill in her child a sense of right and wrong, and when he or she internalizes that, mom almost becomes her child’s conscience. If your conscience is always your playmate and never tells you when you are in the wrong, you’ll most likely going grow up with little, if any, respect for authority.  Too, being a mom means developing and perfecting “the mom look” that paralyzes misbehavior–that uncompromising glare that says, “one more time and …. ”  Certainly you want your child to love you and have fun and be open with you and not live in fear of you.  To live in fear is to not live at all. However, you also want to encourage ethical values and set boundaries. More often than not, it’s just what they need and want.

Of course, there are days that are terrible and certainly test your patience, and then there are those great days where you pass with honors. That’s why, like any top level job, you have to bring all your own gifts,  qualities, research and experiences to the role of mother to reap the rewards that go beyond changing diapers and washing dishes and that can truly change your life for the better.  Your actions must also be in unison with what you desire, believe and value as a mother because the world can only value mothering to the degree good moms affirm that it should be so.  You moms out there hold the keys to the doors that open up the perception of motherhood. As we support you, and as you remind those around you to hold you in high regard, you honor and reverence both the moms whose shoulders you have stood on and the daughters who will in the future stand steady on yours.

 

#babyplus, #mothersday, #moms, #momstobe  # motherhood

BabyPlus: The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Mother’s Day is almost here. If you are still hunting for the ideal present for the mom-to-be in your life that’s outside of the usual “bling bling” jewelry fashion statement box, we have  the best gift idea that will she will never forget and truly appreciate especially if this is her first pregnancy.  It’s called BabyPlus.

BabyPlus

BabyPlus ® is an award-winning patented prenatal education system that’s designed to help strengthen a child’s learning capabilities in the womb. Mom may begin BabyPlus any time between 18 – 32 weeks of pregnancy with a goal of playing just one hour a day.

 

The BabyPlus curriculum includes 16 lessons.  Each one has a different variation of sounds patterned after mom’s heartbeat. These sounds work to enrich the baby’s cognitive development and give newborns a strong start with benefits that last a lifetime.

BabyPlus moms boast that babies more readily nurse, display an increased ability to self-soothe and are more relaxed and alert at birth.  Later in life, BabyPlus children reportedly reach strong developmental milestones, show improved school readiness and greater creativity and independence.

Mom will be pleasantly amazed at how quickly she sees the results when her baby is born and she’ll be grateful that you gave her such a thoughtful Mother’s Day surprise.

 

Mother’s Day Promotion

 $40 off the BabyPlus Prenatal System 

Offer ends May 13th 2018

 

Use promo code: MOTHER at checkout
Shop Now!

 

#babyplus #mothers day, #mothersdaygifts#bestMothersDayGift, #momstobe #pregnancygiftforwife

Are Breast Fed Babies More Intelligent?


When you look up the benefits of breast milk, you will find no shortage of “Breast Is Best’’ articles stressing the positives of the healthiest natural milk option for infants.  Breast milk has antibodies that help babies fight off viruses and bacteria. It also lowers babies’ risk of having allergies and asthma. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life have far less respiratory illnesses and ear infections.

Several studies over the years have found that breastfed children do better on intelligence tests. The validity of these findings has recently been challenged because key factors associated with a mother’s choice to breastfeed were not taken into consideration. Therefore, the question is:  Are breast fed children smarter? Or do mothers who choose to breastfeed have smart children?

To respond to this question, research published in the journal Pediatrics indicates that infants who are breastfed do not have better cognitive skills, by the time they enter kindergarten, than those who were not breastfed.

For nine months the researchers followed approximately 9,800 children from nine months to five years of age. The mothers reported if they breastfed their children and for how long.  Next, the mothers completed questionnaires about their children’s behaviors, vocabulary and cognitive abilities at the ages of three and five years.  Teachers’ reports on their behaviors and standardized tests were also used to assess the children’s skills.

Initially, breastfeeding was associated with better cognitive development. However,  then the researchers applied a statistical analysis technique called “propensity score matching,” which attempts to, in this case, account for the factors that determine whether mothers choose to breastfeed. For instance, several studies show:

  • Low socioeconomic status women are less likely to breastfeed than those of higher status.
  • Women who breastfeed tend to have higher academic achievements.
  • Roughly 25% of women who breastfeed have a smoker residing with them during pregnancy compared to 42% of those who do not breastfeed.
  • The more children in the home, the less often breastfeeding takes place.

Therefore, it should be no surprise to learn that, unadjusted, breastfed children were better at problem solving, had a higher vocabulary and were much better behaved. But, once the children were matched on those baseline variables, those relationships went out the window.

What’s interesting is that when the researchers looked at mothers who breastfed for over six months, they found that there was reduced hyperactivity in the children at age 3. However, it stopped at age five.

While the study questions the cognitive benefits of breast milk, as mentioned there are still plenty of real health benefits that come with breast feeding, including forming a unique bond between mom and baby. And so, new moms are always advised to breastfeed for the first six months after birth when possible, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Twinsight- Interesting Facts About Twin Pregnancies

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We recently had a pair of adorable fraternal twins born near and dear to the BabyPlus family.  They are not my babies, but it sparked an interest about the uniqueness of twins.  So I dd a little research and compiled some things that I found interesting about twin pregnancies.  There is a little more to it than double the pleasure, double the fun.

 

  • during twin pregnancies you should take in approximately 2700 calories a day
  • you may be prescribed additional vitamins and minerals from an average pregnancy
  • twins may have a longer labor, but they are usually born minutes apart
  • 1/3 of twins are identical, 1/3 are same sex fraternal and 1/3 are male/female fraternal
  • you will probably have additional ultrasounds
  • 22% of twins are left handed
  • more than 1/2 of twins are born before 37 weeks
  • of identical twins 1/2 are female/female and 1/2 are male/male

Interesting Facts compliments of:

Parents.com- Twin Pregnancy Facts by American Baby

Fit Pregnency, Pregnancy Day by Day editor in chief Maggie Blott, MB, BS and consultant editor Paula Amato MD

Twins UK- TwinsTips

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Shannon Miller On Her Decision To Use Babyplus

We find that all the advertising in the world does not have nearly the impact that hearing from BabyPlus parents has to make a believer in the value of BabyPlus. Hearing parents beam about their baby’s good sleep habits or attentiveness makes many parents envious of a content child or a full night of sleep.

I reached out this summer to Olympic Gymnast Shannon Miller, two years after the birth of her daughter Sterling, to tell us about why she chose to use BabyPlus during both of her pregnancies.  Here is what she had to say:

sml-47-credit-leme-photography

 

credit: Leme Photography

“I cannot believe it’s been two years already! Two years ago, we greeted our amazing little girl into the world and our lives have been filled with joy (and a lot of pink). I chose to use BabyPlus during my pregnancy with Sterling primarily because it worked so well with our son, who is now almost 6 years old. He is our smart, articulate, confident little man.

While we understood the benefits on paper, what I loved was that there was no downside. It could only add to my bonding experience and in the best case, it would also jump start our child’s learning.

We have witnessed many of the same benefits with our daughter that we did with our son. She nursed well from the start and continues to be on a great sleep schedule, which is so important not just for baby, but for Moms as well. We just dropped her second nap, and we’re now down to one 2-2 ½ hour naps and 12 hours at night. Woo-hoo!

Usually I try not to completely gush, but, hey, I’m a mom! That’s what we’re supposed to do. Sterling was such a blessing after I had been treated for ovarian cancer. And both our kids (in my completely biased opinion) are incredible, sweet, kind, and loving.

While I realize Baby Plus may not account for everything, I feel certain it has helped lay a solid foundation for our children. They love to learn, enjoy trying new things, and adjust to new surroundings easily. All in all, they’re pretty easy going for toddlers.

I am so happy that I stumbled upon Baby Plus during my first pregnancy in that mad rush to “learn everything” about having a baby. We all want to give our kids the very best start in life, and I feel good about making Baby Plus part of that recipe for success.

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4th Of July Fun

I decided the veer off from the style of blogs I have written for the last 4 weeks and show you some fun ideas for celebrating our nation’s independence.  I am linking you to our Pinterest page to see the fun ideas I have pinned for July 4th.  It includes everything from food to fashion and arts and crafts to home décor.

https://www.pinterest.com/babyplus/july-4th-fun/

Whatever you choose to do with the holiday, have fun and be safe!

From The Baby Plus Company

 

 

 

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What Dangers Are Lurking In Your Nursery?

As I begin thinking about this topic, the first thing that comes to mind is how dangerous can baby products really be for babies?  The answer is very dangerous indeed if left within reach or not treated with care.    When I began this research I found that if I looked deep enough almost anything can be categorized as a danger.   I wanted to focus on dangers that you may not see as a risk.

 

Interior of nursery. Frontal view. 3d render.
Interior of nursery. Frontal view. 3d render.

The first hidden risk that I remember being surprised by is baby powder.  It seems to have always been a popular nursery staple.  The problem that is hidden is that it’s tiny particles are easily inhaled as it floats through the air and can irritate baby’s lungs.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against it’s use.

Pregnancy hand-me downs are probably next on this list of hidden dangers.  Outdated furniture often fails to meet current safety standards like drop side cribs for example.  And vintage may be pretty, but not always safe.

Many items marketed for the nursery are not recommended by safety watchdogs. Topping the list are bumper pads and mobiles.   What surprised me most is that it is even hard to find an image of a nursery that does not break the rules according to safety gurus.

About.com lists 5  decorating mistakes that can prove to be dangerous for your little one:  http://nursery.about.com/od/Safety/tp/5-Potentially-Dangerous-Nursery-Decorating-Mistakes.htm

The best suggestions I read came from a blog on babybedding.com.  In in effort to make your nursery user friendly they offer 5 helpful tips.  http://www.babybedding.com/blog/how-to-make-sure-your-nursery-is-functional-as-well-as-beautiful Of course once the baby arrives you made need to make functional adjustments that meet your personal needs.

Of all the rooms in your house to consider childproofing, the nursery is the room where your child will likely spend the most time and be the least supervised.  I suggest you begin there and then work your way through the rest of the house.

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Sleep Safety

It is been all through the news lately about the dangers of letting infants sleep outside of their cribs.  We all know that a sleeping baby is a priceless gem, but there are some risks that we may not all be aware of.

The Safe to Sleep Public Education Campaign has for more than 20 years educated parents and caregivers on the risks of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.  They advise babies be put to bed on their back on a covered mattress in an area free of additional bedding, pillows or toys.  Learn more at http://www.nichd.nih.gov But many children are left sleeping in car seats, swings, bouncy seats and infant carriers.  What could be the harm in that?

In 2009, a Quebec coroner looked into the death of a 2-year old who had slept the night in his car seat.  His car seat was placed inside his crib and this was done sometimes to ease his colic.  Children sleeping in car seats and other products with restraints are at risk for death by asphyxiation.  With underdeveloped muscular control of infants holding their heads up is sometimes a challenge.  When a baby’s head falls forward or to the side it is possible to block or constrict the airway.  This can be, and has been the case with bouncers and swings as well and was the case in May, 2015 when Leia-Mae Smith’s mother woke to find her daughter in her bouncer not breathing with blue lips. She was later pronounced dead.

In addition to airway constriction by restraints,  a 2009 study found on the American Association of Pediatrics website, “A Comparison of Respiratory Patterns in Healthy Term Infants Placed in Car Safety Seats and Beds,” sites that oxygen level in newborns when studied are lower than levels when a child is placed in a crib.  https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Car-Seats-Lower-Oxygen-Levels-of-Newborns.aspx The study authors support the use for travel safety, but not as a replacement for cribs.

A point of clarification should be made that these deaths above are example of sleep-related infant death and are not caused by SIDS.  In many of these infant accessory deaths that child dies due to the circumstances in which they were sleeping, meaning that had they been in a different position or location they would likely have survived.  In the case of SIDS, there is no explanation for the sudden death of an otherwise healthy infant.

 

safe-sleep-1-sleeping-on-back2-18spoiu-18spojg

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Button Batteries- So Small, Yet So Dangerous!

Button batteries seem to be increasing in popularity these days.  They power watches for years at a time and can make your greeting card sing. They are small, but mighty and are a blessing when I need to binge watch House or Criminal Minds.   And they are not just for those of us addicted to Apple TV or Roku.  They can power life saving devices like pacemakers, cardiac defibrillators and hearing aids. With all the good that they can do “cute as a button” cell batteries are making a bigger splash with the rise in fatalities from small children swallowing them.

button-batteries-300x213-300x213

In 2011, the National Capital Poison Center revealed 3,500 annual cases being reported and 11 deaths in the span of 2005-2011.  There are 7 times the incidents reported now than in 1985 and the introduction of lithium to extend the life of the battery makes swallowing them even more dangerous.

The symptoms of swallowing a button battery can range from not eating and drooling, to hoarseness, coughing, fever and respiratory symptoms.  Don’t adopt the wait and see method on this one.  The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia say  A button battery if swallowed does not present like swallowing a penny.  Button batteries and even more so lithium ones can burn holes in the esophagus and trachea resulting in the need for multiple surguries and in some cases the need for feeding and breathing tubes for the rest of their lives according to Dr. Toby Litovitz of Washington D.C.

 

 

For every time you have been irritated by those battery compartments with the screws (and we all have been!)- this is to keep small ones from getting access to those batteries.   But it is not only  children’s games and toys that pose a risk.  Other items to watch out for include: keyless remotes, wireless game controls, remote controls, toys, digital scales, digital thermometers, watches, greeting cards, calculators, and flashing jewelry and shoes.  (www.cpsc.gov) These and other items with button cell batteries should be keep out of reach of infants and toddles.  Consumer Reports and Dr. Litovitz added telephones, cameras, garage door openers, glucose meter, invisible fence dog collars, and flameless candles tot he list.

In a joint statement Energizer and Safe Kids USA issued the following guidelines for parents and care-givers:

  • Examine devices to make sure the battery compartment is secure.
  • Keep button batteries and devices out of kids’ sight and reach.
  • Go to the emergency room immediately if swallowing is suspected.
  • Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333 with any questions

 

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