Family dynamics are the patterns of relating, or interactions, between family members. Each family system and its dynamics are unique, although there are some common patterns. All families have some helpful and some unhelpful dynamics.

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Preparing for a baby: Getting your finances in order

Planning ahead for conception (as opposed to those oops! pregnancies) means you’ll also have time to plan for the financial changes you’ll experience once the baby makes three (or more). When you’re financially preparing for a baby, don’t stress out about tackling every line item at once (no need to worry just yet about how you’ll pay those college bills), but anything you can start taking stock of now will make money matters down the road easier on your wallet and your sanity. Next, make a list of your expenses and then add in the baby costs you’ll be calculating soon: diapers, bottles, formula (if you don’t plan on breastfeeding), baby clothes, baby gear, baby food, baby toys, etc., so you can get a clearer idea of what your expenses really will be once your family starts to grow. Before you panic about all the baby-preparing you’ll need to do, remember, you’ll be getting plenty of those mommy necessities and niceties as gifts; others you’ll be able to borrow from friends and family.  Finally, think of ways (big and small) to cut corners and generate extra cash for baby expenses. Some almost painless ways to save big when you’re preparing for your baby include: Cutting back on luxuries such as expensive restaurant meals and high-priced lattes (you don’t need all that caffeine now, anyway). Using the old “loose-change-in-a-jar” trick: Just be sure to move the money periodically into a savings account (preferably an interest-bearing one that you’ve both sworn not to dip into). Looking critically at monthly expenditures for home and cell phone services, cable, gym memberships, and the like. Not that you need to live without these conveniences, but you may be able to switch to cheaper ones. Often just calling to threaten a switch can snag you a better deal. After all, companies like to keep their customers. Reducing credit card debt by avoiding late fees, paying more than the minimum each month, and rolling balances onto low-interest cards. Diverting some of your current savings into a “baby fund” for your various baby expenses. content source Featured Image Source

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How to cope with a toddler and a new baby?

Most parents prefer to wait until the first trimester is over. You'll probably want to let your child know about the same time you announce your pregnancy to the rest of the world. Once you've told your child, he/she will want to share the news (you can't expect a toddler to keep a secret). And once you've told all your friends and family, it'll be much harder to keep the information from your child because people will want to congratulate you and talk about the pregnancy and also mention to them that they are going to be a 'big bhaiya or big didi'. It's best if your child hears about a new sibling from you and not from other family members, friends or neighbours. The best way is to make the toddler understand and help him in adjusting with the new guest of the family and below are the following steps which will help your young toddler to cope with jealousy towards the new baby :-    1. Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Know that your little one may express negative feelings or act out, and don’t scold. Instead say, “Being a big sibling can be hard. Sometimes you will feel sad or mad or do things you don’t mean to do and that’s OK. We will always love you and want to help you feel better.”  2. Spend regular one-on-one time together. Try to give your toddler a bit of undivided attention, even if it’s just 10 to 20 minutes a day. One way to accomplish this more easily is to wear your newborn in a sling, which gives you two free hands to play a game with your older child. And have your older child cuddle while you’re nursing. Feeling frazzled? Enlist help from a relative, who can tend to your newborn as you spend time with your oldest. Or suggest your partner schedule special activities together with your child, like whipping up weekend waffles or heading out to the movies. 3. Offer a gift (or two). No doubt there’ll be awesome baby gifts arriving by the truckload, which can be pretty rough for a tot who’s sitting on the sidelines watching the loot accumulate. So once in a while, surprise your older child with a big-kid present you happen to have at the ready. Nothing fancy — just a little something that says “being a big sib rocks,” like a new set of markers and a giant pad, a coloring book, a book, a puzzle or even a sheet of stickers. When friends arrive with (yet another) giant box for the baby, let your tot unwrap it for him (what a good helper!). If it’s an item that your newborn is too little to use (like a doggie pull-toy or set of blocks) let your big kid (gently) break it in. 4. Praise often. Reward your child with hugs and compliments for showing patience (waiting without wailing while you change a diaper), cooperativeness (handing you that diaper instead of winging it at the wall) and empathy (“The baby’s crying, Mommy. Maybe he’s hungry”). Make a fuss, especially in front of others: “Thank you for handing me the diaper, sweetheart! What a great big sibling!” Content source

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7 signs to show that your child loves you

We love them endlessly, and we constantly tell them that as well. However, most of our little ones haven’t mastered the art of speech yet. But, they do tell us they love us in different ways given below: 1. She stares into your eyes: Newborns love to look at faces, and yours is her favorite. That soulful gaze is a survival instinct designed to attract love and attention from a caregiver. It's also the beginning of her love for you – she's realizing just how important you are in her life. 2. She recognizes your smell: Given the choice between a dozen fragrant roses and your sweaty, milk-stained T-shirt, your baby will go for the shirt every time. "Even a 1-week-old will turn his head toward a breast pad soaked with his mother's milk. According to experts, when it comes to your newborn, nothing smells sweeter than you. 3. She smiles at you: The first time your baby gives you a true, fabulous grin is a magical moment. It's her way of saying "I love you." 4. She wants you around: About halfway through your baby's first year, you'll notice that she's not happy with your absence. She may scrunch up her face or cry when you step out of the room, and she'll smile upon your return which is a sign of her growing attachment. 5. She shares your interests: Whether you are involved in dusting the home or washing the clothes, if you scrutinise it, your baby will do the same. Called mutual attention, this behavior can start when your baby is just a few months old, but it's more pronounced at 9 to 12 months. "It's a sign that your child is engaged with you and values what you're paying attention to.  6. She uses you as a shield: Don't be surprised if your baby buries her head in your chest when someone new appears on the scene. "Stranger anxiety" is a normal phase, and turning to you for protection means your baby loves you and trusts you to keep her safe. 7. She turns to you for rescue: You're walking through the park when a big dog runs up to your toddler. She raises her arms for you to pick her up and hold her close. She trusts you to help her, and that's a way of showing love.   Content source Featured image source

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How to throw a baby shower on a budget

Fortunately, most of the baby showers are not expected to look like the over-the-top celebrity events that dominate news headlines. But you’ll still need to handle food, decorations and party favors, as well as finding a location to hold the event. It is possible to plan a baby shower on a budget while still creating a beautiful and memorable event for the parents-to-be and their loved ones. Here are four tips for organising a budget baby shower that will certainly leave your guests impressed: 1. Make your own invitations: You can simply invite all the guests via email these days. You can create the invitation on the computer and email it out to your friends and family members mentioning the date and other crucial details.  2. Cook your own food: Getting catering can almost double or triple your costs. Yes it takes more work to make the food yourself, but you’ll save a huge amount and people will appreciate it more because you made it from scratch. Guests may also offer to bring something. Take them up on this offer if you don’t feel like you can handle it all yourself!  3. Create your own games: Don’t waste money purchasing special cards or papers for games. There are thousands of ideas for games which will not leave a hole in your pocket but are still fun! Here are a few low cost game ideas: Guess the weight of the mom and dad to be when they were born The person with the closest birthday to the due date wins a prize Guess the size of the belly using ribbon Guess that baby song/celebrity baby etc 4. Location: Instead of hosting the event at a restaurant or club, offer up your home (or ask a relative or another friend to do so). You can also consider holding the party in a public space like a neighborhood park — just make sure to check on whether the location requires a permit.  Content source Featured image source

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7 Advantages of Being a New Mom

Motherhood is beautiful, without a doubt. Good times and bad times come together to allow women to enjoy the wonderful benefits that life has to offer, along with their families and being a new mom gives you the advantage to experience these new benefits and teaches how to accept the good changes occurring in your life.  Motherhood is one of the most beautiful times in a woman’s life. As mothers, women explore a number of feelings they never knew existed and share unique, unrepeatable moments. These are just a few of the many advantages of being a mom. During pregnancy, women learn to deal with a number of factors. The growing size of their bellies, varying symptoms, discomforts, and also the pleasures of carrying a new life. Over the course of these months, they begin to acquire a vision of the future they desire and to prepare for this future. Like everything else in life, there are many advantages to being a mother. The benefits help a woman grow as a person as well as complement her surroundings to have an abundant life. So here are the 7 advantages of being a new mom: - 1. Learning how to love Before the arrival of their children, women often think they know what love is. But when they bring a little one into the world, they discover the meaning of true love. Unconditional. Special. Complete. A mother’s love is something different than anything she’s experienced before. A mother will always put her children before anything else. This is true, eternal love. 2. Personal growth Mothers acquire and develop qualities they never knew they had. They become more patient, caring, responsible and loving human beings. At the same time, they make an effort to improve little things and small details, so that things go the way they wish. Of course, this is always done with that touch of unconditional love and sense of protection that every new mom possesses. 3. Motherhood reinforces a couple’s love The connection between a mother and her partner becomes stronger with the arrival of their child. They discuss the future and make shared decisions. Their commitment to one another takes on a new, more profound dimension. The effort and sacrifice that mothers and fathers make to be better parents are noticeable every day. They come together and work as a team for the good of their children. 4. Improved health Arterial pressure goes down, which means cardiac health improves. At the same time, breastfeeding reduces to a certain degree the risk of breast cancer. The hormonal changes that occur after pregnancy create a slight change in the brain. This change activates the woman’s senses in order to better care for her little one. In other words, the mother becomes more attentive and intuitive. 5. Messiness is allowed! During the first year of a child’s life, it’s common for them to experiment with all sorts of objects. This will include moving them from one place to another, and also dropping and throwing toys… and food! Mothers are attentive to everything their children do. Tidiness moves to the back burner because what really matters is that your child can enjoy learning through curiosity. 6. It’s okay to be late! When it’s time to leave home, there are a million different obstacles that can come with regards to your baby. Often, these last-minute surprises and inconveniences force you to delay your plans. Fortunately, most people take this into account and are considerate of first-time mothers who arrive late. After all, your entire routine has turned upside down. 7. The love for your own parents grows immensely It’s at this precise moment when mothers begin to really appreciate the meaning of the words sacrifice and patience. And their parents are the greatest example. Grandparents are the greatest gift during this stage. While they spoil their grandchildren, they also help and guide them as needed. It is then that new parents come to understand clearly all that their parents went through with them. And not only that, they have a role model to follow, or perhaps to improve on. They can turn to their parents for help and support when they need it. The advantages of being a new mom are numerous and unique. The act alone of bringing a beautiful new life into the world is the most marvelous and incredible experience a human being can have. Content Source  

Types of Antenatal Classes

You can find out from your gynecologist about the classes available in your area. You may have between three and six sessions of different lengths in the afternoon or evening, or the course may take place over a weekend. The classes on offer could include variots different Types of antenatal classes: Early pregnancy classes These are usually group classes that cover topics such as: * Looking after yourself, including advice on eating well, exercise and pelvic floor exercises. * Emotional and physical changes during pregnancy. * Preparing for labor and birth. * Antenatal screening tests. * Care of your back. Women-only classes These classes may suit you if your husband is unable to accompany you for the classes or if you'd prefer not to have your husband there. These classes may come in handy, especially if your maternity hospital does not allow a birth partner or if you prefer to have a female labor partner. Many women enjoy the close bond that can develop in women-only classes, where you often have the opportunity to discuss subjects that may not be covered during couples' classes. These courses sometimes include a separate session for dads. Couples' classes These are usually for first-time parents and help both parents to get involved in the preparations for labor, birth and early parenthood.  Going to a couples' class gives you and your husband the chance to focus on your pregnancy and make it feel more real for you. Classes also provide practical information about being a labor partner and a new parent. Your husband will have the chance to try out techniques, such as massage and breathing support, in preparation for his role. It's also an opportunity for you both to meet other parents-to-be. Refresher classes These may suit you if you've had a baby before. Most antenatal classes respond to what you want to know, but this is especially true of refresher classes.  As a second-time mum, you may want to relive your birth experiences and be updated on research and changes in birth practices. However, you may feel confident about feeding, so issues such as formula feeding versus breastfeeding may not be discussed. These courses sometimes also offer sessions for couples and dads. Dedicated sessions Some units offer evening or day sessions dedicated to topics such as multiple births, active birth, hypnobirthing, water birth or vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). You'll meet women who are concerned about the same things as you and be free to talk and ask questions, as well as have help with planning your labor. Content Source