Beautiful pregnant woman at home.

Oh, baby! 5 unexpected (but common) symptoms experienced during pregnancy

(BPT) – Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life, filled with countless physical, emotional and lifestyle changes. Pregnant women often do research, read books or consult friends and family to determine what to expect during those nine months and how to best combat the symptoms that may arise. While issues like morning sickness and cravings are to be expected, there are several uncomfortable, but common, effects soon-to-be moms may be less likely to anticipate.

“A woman is going to experience numerous changes to her body during pregnancy,” says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB-GYN, author and expert on women’s health. “Although there is abundant information about issues like backaches and morning sickness, there are a number of common symptoms women are less inclined to talk about because they either consider them taboo or embarrassing.”

While each woman’s pregnancy experience will be unique, Dr. Dweck shares some of the lesser-known, but common, health nuisances to expect when expecting:

1. Constipation

Some common causes of constipation among pregnant women include increased progesterone levels, which influences intestinal motility, increased pressure from the growing uterus and the recommended supplementation of iron. To help diminish constipation, women can try increasing their fiber and fluid intake and limit iron supplements to three times a week.

2. Yeast infections

The hormonal changes that come with pregnancy often increase the chance of developing a vaginal yeast infection. However, according to a 2016 Danish nationwide cohort study, even a single, low dose of fluconazole (the leading prescription pill to treat yeast infections) may increase miscarriage risk. Instead, Dr. Dweck recommends MONISTAT 7 for vaginal yeast infections, as it relieves symptoms four times faster and works on more of the most common strains of yeast than the prescription oral pill. Nevertheless, women should always check with their own healthcare provider before using any treatment during pregnancy.

3. Heartburn

Heartburn and indigestion are most frequent during the third trimester, as the growing uterus places pressure on the stomach and the muscle tone of the esophagus relaxes. To help minimize heartburn, eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, sit or stand after a meal and avoid spicy, greasy and fatty foods. OTC antacids are typically safe, but it is important to speak to an OB-GYN before taking.

4. Varicose veins

Many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. As blood volume increases and the uterus enlarges, additional pressure is put on the veins in the pelvis, lower extremities and the rectal area. Elevate the legs to improve circulation, avoid sitting or standing in the same position for extended lengths of time and try to exercise regularly, if possible.

5. Body and facial hair growth

Hair is likely to grow faster and thicker during pregnancy on places other than just the head. Higher levels of estrogen extend the growth phase of hair, leading to less shedding and denser locks. Safe ways to get rid of these unwanted hairs during pregnancy include tweezing, waxing and shaving.

Regardless of whether a result of pregnancy is considered normal, pregnant women should readily consult their OB-GYN if they experience any changes or if they are looking for treatment solutions. Though health nuisances are bound to pop up during pregnancy, there are simple solutions to combat them so women can make the most of this wonderful time and prep for the arrival of baby. For more information, visit Monistat.com.

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6 ways to help a grieving friend or family member

(BPT) – When someone you know loses a friend or family member, it’s not easy deciding when and how best to respond. You may find yourself unsure of what to say or do. Sometimes a simple phrase such as, “I’m sorry for your loss,” can be extraordinarily meaningful.

Here are six helpful tips from 1-800-Flowers.com’s Celebrating A Life online resource on how to console a loved one during their time of grief:

Listen

Allowing a grieving person to express how they feel can be a huge help. Try to listen without offering advice or interrupting. Letting people share memories and talk about their loved one can be a part of the healing process.

Be specific when offering help

Make a specific commitment to being with the person who needs you. Offering assistance with day-to-day matters can be very comforting, but be sure to offer something specific, such as, “I’m coming over with groceries on Saturday.” That way, you’re offering help without placing the burden on the grieving person to figure out what to bring and when.

Navigate social media appropriately

When acknowledging the news of a loss, stick with the communication medium through which you initially received the information. If the news came by phone call, return the call. If you learned about the death through social media, it is appropriate to reply on social media, just be sure to keep your message brief on public pages. More detailed expressions of sympathy should be conveyed in private posts.

Be patient

It is normal for people who are grieving to experience a range of emotions. It takes time to heal, so be patient and allow them to grieve at their own pace.

Send a card

Show your concern and support by sending a card. Take the time to put your own personal message inside.

Don’t minimize their pain

It is important to keep the focus on the grieving person. Resist the urge to share stories of times that you’ve lost a loved one. Let your friend or family member share their own stories and memories.

1-800-Flowers.com has been helping customers express sympathies for more than 40 years. Now, the company has created an online sympathy hub for tips and advice, directly from experts, on how best to express sympathy and condolences. Topics include Appropriate Sympathy Etiquette Across Different Religions, How to Write a Eulogy, How to Create a Memory Garden, and Sympathy Etiquette and Social Media.

The site serves as a resource for people in their time of need and is intended to make their experience a little easier to manage. People need to have a greater understanding of how to help their friends, family and co-workers in coping with a loss.

For more information, visit www.1800flowers.com/sympathyadvice, or call 1-800-Flowers.com’s Sympathy Customer Service line at 866-538-2259.

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Baby on the way? Here are some tips

(BPT) – It’s only a matter of time now. Your little bundle of joy is on its way, and for the first time you are about to be a parent. Think you’re ready? Many people do and then the reality of parenthood strikes them. Remember your friends who said being a parent is nothing like they expected? They were right.

Parenting is a wild ride, but it’s also one of the — if not the — most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your life. Just don’t expect it to be smooth sailing right from the get-go. It’s going to be challenging, but there are things you can do to prepare before your life changes forever.

To give you the leg up you so desperately need, Dawn Dais, author of the parenting book “The S— No One Tells You,” offers this advice:

* Take advantage of your freedom. If this is your first baby, you need to maximize every second of freedom you have left. Go to the movies, order an appetizer and a dessert at dinner, travel, decide to leave the house and then do so 25 seconds later. Watch television shows with cuss words.

* Sleep now. Earlier this year, Dais and Store Brand infant formula released a “Baby’s First Year” survey that found 25 percent of new moms confessed their biggest fear before their baby’s arrival was never sleeping again. You will sleep again, but it might not be for a few months, so it’s important to get it in while you still can!

* Do your research. Make sure to discuss important topics before the baby arrives, such as feeding. The survey found infant formula is the last topic researched by new moms while pregnant, but the No. 1 topic researched after their baby arrives. A lot of new parents don’t think about this because they just assume they will breastfeed. They are told that it is the most natural thing on the planet and so it’s not even a consideration or option not to breastfeed. But what people don’t tell you is that breastfeeding can be hard and there may be challenges. The survey also found that more than 50 percent of moms experience issues when it comes to breastfeeding baby, with low breast milk supply being the top concern. So, knowing your feeding options before baby arrives is vital.

* Babies are expensive, so know where you can save big. It’s important to note that all infant formulas are required to meet the same FDA standards. That means you can choose store-brand infant formulas that meet the same federal nutrient requirements for baby as nationally advertised brands, and in fact, cost up to 50 percent less!

Having a child is the most monumental change you can make to your life, but the joys that come with parenting make the process entirely worth it. Apply the tips above and you’ll eliminate some of those potential headaches. To learn more, visit storebrandformula.com.

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7 tips to support Alzheimer’s caregivers

(BPT) – Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias is exceptionally demanding, and especially challenging.

A recent survey by the Alzheimer’s Association indicates many caregivers are not getting the help and support they need — 84 percent of caregivers say they would like more support in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, especially from family members.

“Too many people are shouldering the caregiving burden alone,” says Ruth Drew, director of information and support services at the Alzheimer’s Association. “Many people want or would welcome help, but they are reluctant or just too overwhelmed to ask.”

Tips for supporting a caregiver

Providing help and support to caregivers can be easier than most people think. Even little acts can make a significant difference, Drew says. The Alzheimer’s Association offers these suggestions:

Learn: Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease — its symptoms, its progression and challenges facing caregivers. The more you know, the easier it will be to find ways to help.

Build a team: Organize family and friends who want to help. The Alzheimer’s Association Care Team Calendar is a free, personalized online tool that allows helpers to sign up for specific tasks, such as preparing meals, providing rides or running errands.

Give a break: Spend time with the person with dementia, allowing the caregiver a chance to run errands, go to their own doctor’s appointment or engage in an activity that helps them recharge. Even one hour can provide the caregiver some relief.

Check in: Many caregivers report feeling isolated or alone; make a phone call to check in, send a note or stop by for a visit.

Tackle the to-do list: Ask for a list of errands that need to be done. Pick up groceries or dry cleaning, or even offer to shuttle kids to and from activities.

Be specific and be flexible: Open-ended offers of support (“Call me if you need anything,” or “Let me know if I can help.”) may be well-intended, but are often dismissed. Be specific in your offer (“I’m going to the store, what do you need?”). Continue to let the caregiver know that you are there and ready to help.

Join the fight: Honor a person living with the disease and their caregiver by supporting the Alzheimer’s cause. Volunteer at your local Alzheimer’s Association office or participate in fundraising events.

“It’s a mistake to assume caregivers have everything under control,” Drew says. “Most caregivers can use and would appreciate help. No one can do everything, but each of us can do something.”

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and ways you can support families and people living with the disease, visit www.alz.org, the website of the Alzheimer’s Association.

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Useful tips to help caregivers navigate the cost of care

(BPT) – When a patient receives bad medical news, it can be a paralyzing moment. It’s easy to see how any serious diagnosis can shatter someone’s life into a million pieces, but we often overlook what’s happening to the caregiver who’s devoting their time and energy to provide care. On top of the physical and emotional demands, the financial cost of caregiving is unavoidable.

What makes someone a caregiver? American caregivers support patients in a variety of ways. They can be young or old, live close by or miles away and provide care full time or part time. Many of us are caregivers – for our children, parents, siblings or even close friends. Maybe you are a caregiver who provides “hands-on” care now, but may be called upon to provide financial assistance in the future. It’s crucial for caregivers to make wise financial decisions about caregiving — for their loved ones and just as importantly, for themselves.

At 34 years old, Danielle Fontanesi had to give up her job as a full-time attorney so she could care for her husband, Matt. Matt was fighting acute myeloid leukemia and needed around-the-clock care while recovering from a stem cell transplant. Fontanesi wasn’t able to go back to work for more than a year, and found it challenging to find a new job given her employment gap, which cost her more than $175,000 in lost income. The cost of relocating next to a major cancer center where Matt was treated was also substantial.

“Not only did I lose income, I lost a year of career progression,” says Fontanesi. “We still had to pay our rent, car payments and hospital expenses, while not having income during this period.”

According to Gwen Nichols, MD, Chief Medical Officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society(R) (LLS), Fontanesi is far from alone in her financial plight.

“Again and again, we find that caregivers make huge financial sacrifices to care for their loved one,” Nichols says. “When you tally up the losses, it’s quite astounding: loss of wages, loss of health insurance, loss of retirement savings and the list goes on. These hold serious financial consequences for caregivers.”

Over time, the economic burdens of long-term medical care can create added distress for patients and caregivers that is often called “financial toxicity.” Financial toxicity occurs when growing out-of-pocket healthcare costs lead to serious financial problems. Out-of-pocket costs can include anything from hospital stays or outpatient services to medical equipment and medications.

To help caregivers navigate the cost of cancer care for themselves and their loved ones, Nichols offers these important tips:

Encourage your loved one to seek a second opinion: When appropriate, caregivers should help their loved one seek a second opinion. A second opinion can help ensure an accurate diagnosis, which can then guide your loved one’s treatment plan. An accurate diagnosis enables resources to be directed in a way that offers your loved one the greatest potential benefits, both in terms of a better health outcome as well as financial impact. When weighing multiple treatment options or in circumstances of uncertainty, it’s also helpful to gain a second opinion to help inform the best course of care and avoid the detrimental health effects and costliness of incorrect or unnecessary treatments.

Help start a dialogue: It’s crucial to have an open conversation with healthcare providers about financial pressures. You and your loved one should partner with their medical provider to understand the cost of certain services and treatments. This information can help empower you and your loved one to make the right decision for you and your family. For example, your loved one may be able to choose among treatments or select providers or treatment centers that offer the same or even greater potential benefit, but at a lower cost.

Be an advocate for change: Your voice as a caregiver is valuable, and can help shape discussions about the cost of care. Whether you act as an individual or part of an organized effort by a patient advocacy organization, you can make an impact by sharing your story about the financial hardships you’ve experienced. These firsthand accounts are vital for spurring action. To learn more about LLS Advocacy and how you can raise awareness about the cost of cancer care, visit www.lls.org/be-an-advocate.

Take advantage of available resources: Caregivers are often hesitant to seek help and are often unaware of the many resources available to them at their fingertips. LLS has free resources and support services such as online chats with medical experts, support groups, help with financial pressures, referral to other helpful local and national resources, and more. To learn more, visit www.lls.org/support/caregiver-support.

Nichols also notes that it’s crucial to take time for self-care and remember that your family is your first resource, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them for help. There are many ways for friends and family to lighten the load in this challenging time: assisting with home repairs, running errands, or preparing a meal. These kind gestures go a long way when there’s financial strain. After all, if you sacrifice your own health and well-being, you won’t be at your best to effectively care for a loved one.

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Winter storm power outages on the rise – 3 ways to prepare

(BPT) – Winter storms can wreak havoc on roads, homes and personal lives. However, facing hours of cleaning up fallen tree limbs, shoveling snow or being cooped up inside with antsy kids might be the least of your worries. Experts predict more frequent and severe storms could lead to lengthy power outages that could affect thousands of Americans this winter storm season.

In fact, increasingly severe weather is the chief reason power outages are becoming more likely, according to a National Governors Association report. What’s more, a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found the average outage lasts two hours and 20 minutes, but increases by 260 percent to six hours and 10 minutes when a major event like severe weather is involved.

While you can’t predict when a winter storm or extended power outage might affect your neighborhood, you can take steps now to prepare your home and family for severe weather events.

Stock up in advance

Nearly everyone has experienced long grocery store lines and cleared-out store shelves when news of a coming storm hits the airwaves. Spare yourself the aggravation, or possibly being caught without essentials if stores sell out, by stocking up on important items at home.

Keep enough bottled water and non-perishable foods on-hand to feed everyone in your family up to one week. Set these items aside in a “storm prep” box so you don’t dip into them until you really need them. Canned foods, protein bars, dry cereal and nuts are great options.

Never allow your supply of prescription medications to fall below a week’s supply, and make sure you stock up on useful over-the-counter meds such as pain relievers and cold remedies. Finally, keep a supply of batteries, flashlights and battery-powered lanterns readily available to ensure you have safe illumination when the power goes out.

Invest in emergency power

With the average length of power outages growing longer, many Americans are turning to generators to help ensure their homes and families stay safe and comfortable during winter storms. In fact, a report from the Society for Risk Analysis notes “a string of natural disasters and prolonged blackouts have motivated consumers to invest in personal generators at unprecedented rates.”

Homeowners have two options when it comes to back-up power; portable generators and automatic standby generators. Portable generators can be moved from place to place and are designed to power a few key items or systems, like a refrigerator or lights, using properly rated extension cords. These manually operated generators are usually gasoline-fueled and must be operated outside of the home.

Automatic standby generators like those from Kohler are permanently installed outside the home similar to a central air conditioning unit. They attach to a home’s existing natural gas or propane lines and turn on automatically within seconds when the power goes out; homeowners do not need to be present to operate. Standby generators can power an entire house, from essentials like the refrigerator, sump pump, lights and water heater to non-essentials such as TVs, computers and more. To learn more about automatic standby generators, visit www.KohlerGenerators.com.

After the storm

Once the storm is over, continue to be cautious. Check weather and traffic reports before leaving the house to determine if roads are closed. If you do venture out, stay alert for downed power lines. If you spot power lines that are down or damaged, call the power company immediately. Finally, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly, to ensure everyone is fine.

Preparation is the best way to protect your home and family during the winter storm season. Take action now, which includes a storm prep box and a backup power source, to keep your family safe and comfortable, no matter what the weather may bring.

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3 simple tips to get delicious, balanced weeknight meals on the table

(BPT) – Weekday schedules get crazy, which is why the first casualty of all that chaos is the family dinner.

While most families say eating together is a high priority, day-to-day reality is different. According to a 2013 poll by NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, only half of children in the U.S. are in families that dine together. Yet research cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that children reap many benefits from regular family meals, from improved academic performance to developing a deeper sense of resilience.

But busy families can find time to sit down together more often, says Colleen Burns, a lifestyle expert and spokeswoman for Nestle’s Balance Your Plate program. To be successful, set the intention with good planning and smart strategies. What’s more, these meals can also be delicious and nutritious.

“When you have simple solutions in your toolbox to get those well-balanced and tasty meals on the table in the little time that you have, it lets you establish and keep an important family ritual,” says Burns, who is also a busy mom of six boys. “At the same time, you don’t get burned out, and that’s key to staying motivated and inspired.”

To help you get started, Burns shares her top three simple tips to get delicious and nutritious meals on the table quickly.

Shop the freezer section: When you’re in a time pinch, frozen foods have many offerings that set a good foundation for any home-cooked meal, Burns says. Oftentimes, the quality is just as good as their fresh counterparts, and they eliminate many steps of prep time, whether you’re looking at entrees, veggies or sides. On top of all that, fruits and veggies are flash-frozen, which locks the nutrients in place.

Don’t sacrifice: If you know what to look for when shopping the grocery aisles, you can find convenient entrees and sides without sacrificing taste or quality.

Burns recommends Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese as one easy solution that helps you get a great meal on the table. It has ingredients that consumers would use in their own kitchens, such as freshly made pasta, butter, cheddar cheese and milk. Burns likes to serve it as a side to marinated chicken (see recipe below) and roasted seasonal veggies, because it’s a simple solution that makes her and her family feel good about dinner.

Maintain balance: Look to a variety of entrees and sides to bring a nutritional balance as well as delicious flavors to your dinner menu. Burns recommends opting for lean proteins like fish and chicken served with fresh or frozen veggies. Check out her how-to video, https://youtu.be/fKcY-jiTWJg, to learn more.

Marinated Garlic and Lemon Roasted Chicken Drumsticks with Honey Mustard Sauce

10 chicken drumsticks

1 large lemon zested and juiced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 whole cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1 pinch each salt and pepper

Minced parsley for garnish

Honey Mustard Sauce:

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

In a bowl, mix together lemon juice, zest, olive oil, chopped garlic, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Add chicken drumsticks and toss to coat evenly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When ready to cook, let chicken come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange chicken on oiled foil-lined sheet pan.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Flip chicken pieces and cook another 10 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees and is no longer pink.

Make sauce in a small bowl by whisking together the mustard and honey.

Add water as needed for a workable consistency.

With a small pastry brush, brush sauce over chicken and broil 5 minutes until bubbly.

Place chicken pieces on a serving platter and sprinkle minced parsley over all.

Source: Nestle’s Balance Your Plate

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Senior guest? How to prepare your home for older visitors

(BPT) – Whether it’s for a special occasion or just because, hosting an older adult in your home can be a wonderful experience with lots of memory-making potential. However, for a safe and successful visit, you may want to make a few adjustments to your home before they arrive to make it more senior-friendly.

“Spending time with aging parents or grandparents is a wonderful experience for all generations,” says Sara Terry, Brookdale Senior Living’s senior vice president of resident and family engagement. “Creating a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere is the job of any good host and that is no different when entertaining seniors. Considering older adults’ varying mobility and comfort levels, there are a few adjustments you can make to your home to meet their needs.”

Whether your guest is staying short- or long-term, Terry offers these six tips to help you transform your home into a more senior-friendly environment so you can focus on what matters most: making memories with your entire family.

Outdoors

The walkways to many homes are cracked or uneven, which is a risk factor for falls. Make sure the pathway is cleared and easy to see, shovel show in the winter and sweep leaves in the fall. Stairs can be tricky to maneuver as well. If possible, add a ramp that leads to your door. If there are stairs, install handrails on each side. Entryways divided by a threshold can be tricky for someone with mobility issues. Eliminate this common tripping hazard when seniors visit.

Clutter

The easiest thing you can do is remove clutter (especially on the floor) to allow sufficient space for senior guests who may be in a wheelchair to maneuver around rooms. Remove or tape down all cords. Rugs may look nice but they are a leading tripping hazard. Remove all accent rugs from your home, and in areas like the entryway where you must have mats, make sure they are secured with non-slip material.

Light

Seniors need more light than you do in your home, particularly in notoriously dim areas such as entryways, hallways and staircases. Replace existing soft light bulbs with brighter or higher wattage ones and add motion-sensor lights to bathrooms. Adding night lights throughout your home is an easy addition that helps seniors see better, especially at night or on darker winter days.

Stairs

Ideally, a senior won’t have to navigate stairs, but if you have some in your home, you can make the space safer by having railings on both sides. Railings should be at least 1.5 inches in diameter to accommodate seniors with limited dexterity and aging grips. What’s more, help each stair be more visible by using contrast strips (available at your local hardware store).

Bathrooms

Make bathrooms safer by adding well-placed grab bars next to the toilet and in bathing spaces. In the shower or tub, add non-slip strips and a shower seat for comfort and ease of use. For guests who are staying awhile, consider adding a handheld, adjustable-height showerhead. Finally, set the hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees as to avoid unintended burns.

Room selection

Whether your loved one is staying one night, one month or more, selecting the right room will increase their comfort and safety. One-level living is key, so if possible use a room on the main floor with easy access to the bathroom, kitchen and living room. Furniture, including the bed and chairs, should be at a good height (neither too low nor too high) to be easily used. Knobs can be difficult, so consider replacing round door handles with lever handles.

“In addition to these tips, I recommend having a conversation with your loved one before their stay,” says Terry. “Talk to them about what will make them feel at home in your home. What’s most important is enjoying your visit to the fullest and spending valuable time together.”

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4 things no one tells you about preparing for baby

(BPT) – It’s only a matter of time now. Your little bundle of joy is on its way, and for the first time you are about to be a parent. Think you’re ready? Many people do and then the reality of parenthood strikes them. Remember your friends who said being a parent is nothing like they expected? They were right.

Parenting is a wild ride, but it’s also one of the — if not the — most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your life. Just don’t expect it to be smooth sailing right from the get-go. It’s going to be challenging, but there are things you can do to prepare before your life changes forever.

To give you the leg up you so desperately need, Dawn Dais, author of the parenting book “The Sh!t No One Tells You,” offers this advice:

* Take advantage of your freedom. If this is your first baby, you need to maximize every second of freedom you have left. Go to the movies, order an appetizer and a dessert at dinner, travel, decide to leave the house and then do so 25 seconds later. Watch television shows with cuss words.

* Sleep now. Dais recently teamed up with Store Brand infant formula to help get the word out about ways parents can prepare before their baby arrives. Earlier this year, they released a “Baby’s First Year” survey that found 25 percent of new moms confessed their biggest fear before their baby’s arrival was the fear of never sleeping again. You will sleep again, but it might not be for a few months, so it’s important to get it in while you still can!

* Do your research. Make sure to discuss important topics before the baby arrives, such as feeding. The Store Brand formula survey found infant formula is the last topic researched by new moms while pregnant, but the No. 1 topic researched after their baby arrives. Feeding is the most important thing you do with your baby, so why is it so far down on the list? A lot of new parents don’t think about this because they just assume they will breastfeed. They are told that it is the most natural thing on the planet and so it’s not even a consideration or option not to breastfeed. But what people don’t tell you is that breastfeeding can be hard and there may be challenges. The survey also found that more than 50 percent of moms experience issues when it comes to breastfeeding baby, with low breast milk supply being the top concern. So knowing your feeding options before baby arrives is vital.

* Babies are expensive, so know where you can save big. It’s important to note that all infant formulas are required to meet the same FDA standards. That means you can choose store-brand infant formulas that meet the same federal nutrient requirements for baby as nationally advertised brands, and in fact, cost up to 50 percent less!

Make the most of your new role as a parent

Having a child is the most monumental change you can make to your life, but the joys that come with parenting make the process entirely worth it. So, plan ahead now by applying the tips above and you’ll eliminate some of those potential headaches. To learn more about feeding options and the “Baby’s First Year” survey, visit storebrandformula.com.

Headline: Tips to prepare for parenthood

Parenting can be tough. Make the most of it with these tips from Dawn Dais, author of the parenting book “The Sh!t No One Tells You .

* Take advantage of your freedom. If this is your first baby, you need to maximize every second of freedom you have left. Go to the movies, order an appetizer and a dessert at dinner, travel, decide to leave the house and then do so 25 seconds later. Watch television shows with cuss words.

* Babies are expensive, so know where you can save big. It’s important to note that all infant formulas are required to meet the same FDA standards. That means you can choose store brand infant formulas that meet the same federal nutrient requirements for baby as nationally advertised brands, and in fact, cost up to 50 percent less. I wish someone had told me that. Moms who use formula can relate — it can be expensive.

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