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Charlotte, NC 28208
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Charlotte+Asher creates chic diaper bags for the stylish, modern mom.

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Parenthood related topics written by the founders of charlotte+asher.

Filtering by Tag: Newborn

How to survive when baby arrives

Chantal Standafer

Baby Boyd resting peacefully at the hospital. 

Baby Boyd resting peacefully at the hospital. 

When we had our first child 3.5 years ago I didn't have a bunch of seasoned moms around me. Most of my friends were not yet having children. I had ideas of how things would happen, and had read some blog posts. I felt prepared in terms of what to purchase. But I really wasn't sure what I was getting into. 

On one hand I thought I'd be able to do it all, while on the other I was totally freaked out and wasn't sure how I'd get anything done. But mostly I was under the impression that I could, and therefore should, take care of everything. I had planned to have our freezer stocked with meals. But we moved a couple of weeks before my due date and it was crazy hot. So I didn't feel like turning the stove or oven on to cook. And Gaby was born a week early. Needless to say, we weren't completely unpacked and we didn't have meals on hand. 

And then my mom came to the rescue! She moved her flight up a week, and helped us finish unpacking, fed us and helped with the baby. She even stocked our freezer with meals for us to have after she returned home. Like I said, mom for the win. 

But once my mom left, I still had to figure out how to get meals on the table. And get the laundry done, and shower, and sleep, etc. Basically I had to figure out how to do it all on my own. And I didn't know how to ask for help. It took a while, but eventually I made simpler meals, and cooked extra so we didn't have to cook every night. 

 

Just when I thought I had found a safe space for the baby to rest, the toddler figured out how to climb into the crib. 

Just when I thought I had found a safe space for the baby to rest, the toddler figured out how to climb into the crib. 

Fast forward two years and I felt way more prepared when we had our son. I knew I would have extra demands because it wouldn't be just me and the baby. With a toddler on hand I wouldn't be able to nap as easily during the day, I'd need to get out so she could run around, plus our business had launched. I knew that I would need help! 

One of the best ways that the help came was in the form of a meals from friends. One close friend offered to set up an online meal schedule where people could sign up to bring dinner. For a couple of months we received a meal or two a week from some wonderful friends. It definitely took pressure off my plate--not needing to plan meals and figure out when to make them made a huge difference! 

So my key to surviving after baby's arrival: have a friend set up a meal schedule (we used Meal Train). No matter if it's baby number one or two, three, etc., having this checked off your list for at least a couple times a week will make a huge difference! 

What is your top suggestion for helping new parents? 

 

One Key Way to Keep Your Child Healthy

Chantal Standafer

Little guy knows that his 12 month vaccinations are a big deal! 

Little guy knows that his 12 month vaccinations are a big deal! 

Parents agree that feeding and sleep schedules are important to help keep their children healthy. The same goes for childhood immunizations. Vaccinating children on time is the best way to protect them against 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday.

“The recommended immunization schedule is designed to protect babies early in life,when they are vulnerable and before it’s likely that they will be exposed to diseases,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Public health and medical experts base their vaccine recommendations on many factors. They study information about diseases and vaccines very carefully to decide which vaccines kids should get and when they should get them for best protection.

Although the number of vaccines a child needs in the first two years may seem like a lot, doctors know a great deal about the human immune system, and they know that a healthy baby’s immune system  can handle getting all vaccines when they are recommended. Dr. Messonnier cautions against parents delaying vaccination. “There is no known benefit to delaying vaccination. In fact, it puts babies at risk of getting sick because they are left vulnerable to catch serious diseases during the time they are not protected by vaccines.”

When parents choose not to vaccinate or to follow a delayed schedule, children are left unprotected against diseases that still circulate in this country, like measles and whooping cough. Since 2010, we have seen between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. And, up to 20 babies die from whooping cough each year in the United States. Most whooping cough deaths are among babies who are too young to be protected by their own vaccination.

The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 667 cases from 27 states reported to CDC's NCIRD. This was the greatest number of cases in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000. Staying on track with the immunization schedule ensures that children have the best protection against diseases like these by age 2.

Parents who are concerned about the number of shots given at one time can reduce the number given at a visit by using the flexibility built into the recommended immunization schedule. For example, the third dose of hepatitis B vaccine can be given at 6 through 18 months of age. Parents can work with their child’s healthcare professional to have their child get this dose at any time during that age range.

“I make sure my kids are vaccinated on time,” said Dr.Andrew Kroger, medical officer, NCIRD, and father of two. “Getting children all the vaccines they need by age two is one of the best things parents can do to help keep their children safe and healthy.”

If you have questions about the childhood immunization schedule, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse. For more information about vaccines, go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents.

Why I got the Tdap While I Was Pregnant

Chantal Standafer

Getting the Tdap vaccine is a pregnancy decision that will have a lasting impact. Long after the showers are done and the baby is finally here, your antibodies will still be providing immunity to baby. Because of that I did not hesitate in getting it. I actually jumped the gun by asking my doctor about getting the shot early in my pregnancy. Once I hit the third trimester mark, she gave me the green light to get the vaccine and I made my way to a pharmacy immediately.

The Tdap vaccine helps build immunity against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. While all of these diseases are serious, it is the last one that is of greatest concern to new parents. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a bacterial infection that affects the respiratory system. The symptoms can be especially serious for young babies and is absolutely heart breaking to see, since it is completely preventable.

So what are the main reasons why I got vaccinated?

  • Increase in pertussis cases. In the US, the greatest incidence of pertussis in 60 years occurred in 2012.

  • Passive Immunity. By getting the vaccination while pregnant, antibodies created by my body crossed the placenta into the baby’s system, providing him with short-term immunity to the disease until he’s old enough to get the DTaP himself. Small traces of the antibodies are also passed through breastmilk.

  • Infant vaccination schedule. Baby cannot begin to receive his own vaccination until the age of two months. Most whooping cough deaths are among babies younger than 3 months old, so it’s especially important to get this vaccine on time.

  • Vaccine safety. Recent studies show that it is safe to get while pregnant and there are no increased risks of pregnancy complications as a result of getting the vaccination.

  • The immunity to pertussis wanes over time. Even though I received a booster when our daughter was born two years ago, evidence shows that the concentration of pertussis antibodies decreases fairly quickly and those left in my system would not be enough to protect my son. In order to provide an adequate level of antibodies to my son, I needed to get it again during my pregnancy.

We take great steps to protect our children from potential physical dangers. We see this in how we purchase car seats and baby proofing gear for our homes. But some potential dangers are invisible, like the whooping cough bacteria. Since there was something I could do about that potential danger, I took advantage of the opportunity to protect my son by getting the Tdap vaccination while I was pregnant with him.

If you’re pregnant and have any questions regarding the Tdap vaccine, make sure you speak with your doctor or midwife. Here’s hoping for healthy pregnancies and babies!

Packing the hospital bag: What I’ll do differently for baby #2

Chantal Standafer

For some reason I didn’t really prepare my hospital bag before I went into labor with my first baby. It turned out that it didn’t really matter anyway--the things I needed weren't things that I would have thought to pack. So, even though I didn’t get it all right the first time (and probably will have room to improve even after the second time!), here are five things I’ll make sure to pack in addition to the necessary toiletries and things for baby:

  • Baby nail scissors. Baby girl may have come out a bit wrinkly and needing to plump up, but one area where she didn’t skimp on growing was her fingernails.  Naturally I asked the nurses for nail clippers, but turns out that’s something that they do not provide. So we had to wait until someone was able to go out and get some for us, by which time she had scratched up her face (so much for those ‘perfect’ newborn pics!). Also, after using both nail clippers and nail scissors, I realized that I much preferred the latter—I felt like I was going to chop off a whole finger with the clippers because it was hard to see exactly what I was clipping. I’ve never had a problem with the scissors.

  • Baby wipes. The hospital where I delivered baby girl, and where I will have baby boy, provides these funky (really inconvenient) wipes that are papers that you have to wet in the sink. Honestly, I didn’t change a single diaper in the 24 hours we were at the hospital, but based on the feedback from my husband, those wipes were not very effective when matched against that wonderful, tarry newborn poop. So we’ll be bringing our own this time.  (Note: you may or may not need these--what is provided depends on the hospital.)

  • Snacks. In the rush to pack the bag the first time around, I forgot to pack snacks, which was a huge mistake. I was VERY hungry after giving birth and we didn't have anything to eat. Chances are you'll work up an appetite, too. Not everything will sound good in the moment, so pack a variety snacks. Also, if friends or family will visit you and ask what they can bring, take them up on the offer; they’re happy to help! After having baby girl, Cronuts sounded pretty good, and sure enough one of our friends showed up with them!

  • Ear plugs. I slept horribly in the hospital. Whenever a nurse was paged, that came over the PA system, including the individual patient rooms. So this time I'll be armed with ear plugs to prevent this from being an issue again.

  • Comfy clothes for going home. The first time around I decided it would be a good idea to pack my maternity skinny jeans and a top to come home. After spending 24+ hours in the hospital with little rest—and having gone through childbirth—that was the LAST thing I wanted to wear. So I ended up going home in the same outfit in which I had arrived, my trusty black maxi dress. This time I’ll be doing it differently, most likely with a pair of smocked shorts, a tank, and a cardigan packed in case it is cool out (although I highly doubt I’ll need this in the Los Angeles summer heat!).

Did you get it right the first time? What else would you include on this list for your bag?