Preparing to Deliver a Healthy Baby

If you’re anything like me, having a baby is both an exciting and terrfiying experience. It’s not so much having the baby (as in, bringing home and keeping it) as it is actually having the baby (as in, the entire baby-removal process). Here’s advice from guest blogger, Alan Cassidy, on what expectant mothers can do to be as prepared as possible for the big event.

Preparing to Deliver a Healthy Baby

 By the time nine months passes, most women are more than ready for their pregnancy to come to an end. That does not, however, mean that they are ready for the actual delivery process or bringing home a new baby. Planning ahead can make all the difference when it comes to actually being prepared for childbirth. This means thinking about the things that you and your baby need so that delivery day is as smooth and memorable as possible.

 Pack a Hospital Bag in Advance

When you’re in the throes of labor and are ready to head to the hospital or birthing center, packing a bag isn’t going to be at the top of your list of things to do. Preparing an overnight bag several months before the anticipated delivery date can eliminate the last minute scramble of deciding what you’ll need to take with you. Packing items such as hair clips for long hair, lip balm and lotion can help in terms of comfort during labor. A nightgown, bathrobe, nursing bras, slippers and toiletries are also items that can help a mother feel more comfortable before and after delivery.

 Childbirth Education Classes

The idea of labor and delivery can often bring about some nerves and many questions for expecting mothers. Attending childbirth education classes can prepare mothers-to-be by teaching various techniques to deal with pain and discomfort, help recognize the signs of labor and provide you with the techniques to cope with pain and discomfort. There are several different types of childbirth classes that can be taken, such as Lamaze or Bradley Method classes, each teaching different techniques. Choosing the right class depends on how you plan to deliver your baby. For example, the Bradley Method teaches techniques on how to deliver a baby free of pain medication.


Whether your delivery date is a scheduled one or you’ve gone into labor before hand, the last thing you’ll want is to fill out paperwork. Some hospitals allow mothers-to-be to preregister. This allows you to take care of some of the paperwork before you’re ready to deliver.

 Preparing for Other Possibilities

When preparing for the delivery of your child, there are so many things to consider it’s only natural a few things may not come readily to mind. If you’re positive that your baby’s birth will be a natural one, it may come as a shock if your doctor recommends a cesarean, or C-section. Discussing this with your doctor in advance can help you to both prepare for the possibility, and understand what to expect if the procedure becomes necessary. Cord blood banking is another consideration sometimes overlooked by expectant parents. This is the collection and storage of your baby’s umbilical cord blood, and requires preparation before the delivery date. You will need to order a kit is used by the hospital to collect your baby’s cord blood. Cord blood may be used as a potential medical treatment of certain diseases.

 This article was written by Alan Cassidy, an active writer within the blogging community covering maternity and childbirth, and always advocating for infant and children’s health. Connect with him on Twitter @ACassidy22

Want to share your parenting advice or funny stories with the SittingAround community? Send us an email and request to be a guest blogger!

Cool Baby and Kid Products

Curious as to what all the hype was about, I recently joined Pinterest. And, wow, this Pinterest thing is addictive! I’ve found myself oohing and ahhing over all the adorable baby clothes and cool kid products on there. My 6 year old has even gotten into it, peering over my shoulder, shouting “Click that one, Mommy! Ooh, now click that one!” (Thanks to Pinterest, he’s got his heart set on a bed made entirely of Legos.)

Here are some of my favorite baby clothes and kids’ products, courtesy of Pinterest:

Timely, given the recent Tooth-Fairy debacle in my house:

Source: via Carina on Pinterest

We do this craft a lot — fun and super easy to make your own rainbow crayons:


I know it’s for kids, but I kind of (okay, REALLY) want this bunk bed!

Source: via Ali on Pinterest

Much better than those hard, slippery baby tubs.


So cute.


A stylish approach to baby gates.


Love the whale art for a nursery.


Cute idea for father’s day.

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest


Angry Birds kick balls. No explanation necessary, I think.


Baby shower perfection.


Lorax costume. Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!


Inspiring Dr. Seuss Quotes — Really uplifting.



Source: via Julie on Pinterest

The down side of the tooth fairy: or, the note we wrote asking the tooth fairy to please kindly move along

If you’re short on attention, pictures at bottom

Have you ever found it odd that we tell our kids a fairy tale about someone who breaks into the house in the middle of night and steals teeth from under their pillows while we are sleeping?  If you have, you’re like my 6 year old who lost his first tooth today.

Like many of us, he processes the events of the day as goes to sleep.  And apparently the horror of the whole mafia-like forced-to-sell situation didn’t dawn on him until about 10 minutes after bedtime.

Enough time had passed that I thought he was fast asleep, and I was browsing reddit in my room on the other side of the house.  Our downstairs neighbors just had a baby, so when I heard muffled crying I assumed it was, per usual, the downstairs infant.

After a minute or so, as I sat judging the poor parenting of my neighbors who would let their child cry for so long, I noticed a familiar tone to the whelps and realized it was my own son.  (As an aside in my defense, he is now six, so crying doesn’t happen that often… and, there were some particularly interesting cat pictures on Reddit tonight…)

I arrive in my son’s room to find him sitting up on his bed, having completely covered himself in his blanked as a protective cave, crying like he was powerless to stop something he loved from being destroyed.

I sit down and start to comfort him and this is when we began our usual game of “wait wait, what’s wrong… yes, no, I don’t want to tell you.”  It’s not a game I particularly like, but he insists on playing and can’t be persuaded otherwise.

Dad: “Did you get hurt?

Blanket cave shakes side to side… I think that’s a no.

Dad: “Did your stuffed dog get hurt?”

Blanket cave shakes side to side… no chuckle at the stupidity of the question… bad sign…

Dad: “Do you miss Mommy (who is out getting dinner with a friend)?”

Blanket cave shakes side to side.

Dad: “Are you scared of something?”

Short pause, blanket cave shakes side to side… maybe there’s something there.

The peak of blanket cave mountain is lain upon my lap for comfort.

The crying subsides to a soft whimper and a sniffle.  A hand extends from blanket cave and points to the floor, then the window.

This is real progress!  I have what pointing at the floor then the window could mean, but the blanket cave is attempting to communicate!

Dad: “Did something fall down and break?”

Blanket cave sniffles, shakes side to side, then a child emerges, shuffles to the floor, points morosely to his colored pencil box, then to the window, and quickly re enters blanked cave.

This is the worst game of charades I have ever played.

Now, you have to imagine my puzzlement at this point.  You as the reader have the benefit of knowing that this is a story about the tooth fairy, and even with that advantage I’d bet that you’re having trouble figuring out what a colored pencil box and a window ledge have to do with dental-larceny.  I was clueless, and Gavin was still crying.

After a few more rounds of guessing, and some comforting, he saw that I didn’t get it and shuffled to the floor to get his pencil box.

Dad: “Did one of your pencils break?”

Child: “No”

Another major victory, we’ve established verbal communications!

Dad: “What’s wrong?”

Child: Opens pencil box, points to the middle, starts to mist up again, and manages a meek “my tooth.”

Dad: “What’s wrong with your tooth?”

At this point I see that he has hidden his tooth in the pencil box.  That’s a really great, if somewhat perplexing, hiding spot for a tooth.

Child: “I don’t want the tooth fairy to take it.” Full cry returns.

Usually epiphanies are great.  Finally seeing the pieces and how they fit together is usually an exhilarating feeling.  Not this time.  Sudden clarity that a pointless lie is causing substantial distress for your child is a horrible feeling.

I go along with Santa because I can see how much joy he gets from the ruse.  But this, this tiny imaginary winged woman stealing my kids stuff and making him cry, that’s not ok.  What does she even do with the teeth once she gets them?  This is suspicious behavior to say the least and I for one think we should contact TLC or the Easter Bunny about an intervention…

Dad: “Its ok honey, she doesn’t have to take it.”

Child: “But she needs them for her magic.”

This is the point where I get a bit mad.  F everything about this.  Who the *#@#$ @#$@# is feeding my kid these elaborate lies?

I briefly consider going full truth.  If you’ve ever tried to tell a tired, distraught child that they’ve been lied to and tricked, please let me know how that went.  He was still whimpering, and I couldn’t bring myself to make the world less magical on top of everything else he was dealing with.

So, I enter a phase known to anyone ever almost caught in a lie;  I try to extend the lie.

 “She doesn’t always need them for magic” “What about a paper tooth” “She can take it later if you want” “She gets lots of teeth, she doesn’t need yours if you want to keep it” “We can just write her a note”

Finally, the catch in his breath tells me he thinks something in what I’ve just said might work.  I see him looking at a stack of post-it notes… He’s processing how the note thing might work.

I start processing how the note thing might work — where do we leave this note, what does it say, we can’t leave it on the front door because we don’t know where she intends to break in, how do we even know she reads English?

I look at his stack of multi colored post it notes, the small Tupperware container the tooth, and the aforementioned colored pencil box, and I suddenly think I’m parenting-freaking-macguiever, and I might be able to defuse this bomb.

Dad: “OK, we can write her a note, we’ll just say ‘please don’t take my tooth'”

Child: lip still quivering slightly, “You write it”

Dad: “OK”

Child: “I’ll sign it, so she knows its from me”

Crayola pencil and pink post it note in hand, I start writing a note to the tooth fairy.

Tooth Fairy,

Please leave my tooth here.

Child signs his name in the most adorable mixed case.

We put the post-it note on top of the case, put the case in the window (apparently he’s been told that tooth fairies use windows when they decide to break-and-enter), and his crying stops.

He asks for and gets another story and finally goes back to sleep.

A few pictures of the anti-dental-theft apparatus we rigged up:

Tooth Fairy Anti Larceny: Exhibit A

Tooth Fairy Anti Larceny: Exhibit A


Tooth Fairy Anti Larceny Note: Exhibit B


SittingAround Launches New Babysitter Vetting and Booking Service

BOSTON, MA — For millions of parents, the ever-present stress of finding and scheduling a sitter is about to become a thing of the past.

SittingAround is launching a first-of-its-kind marketplace for vetting, booking, and sharing babysitters.  SittingAround’s Sitter Marketplace takes a modern approach to childcare, leveraging existing social networks to create trust. Parents can build their own robust networks of babysitters and book those babysitters directly on the site.

“As soon as you become a parent, finding a babysitter completely controls your social calendar,” says Erica Zidel, SittingAround Founder and CEO.  “Our goal at SittingAround is to end that. By revolutionizing the way parents both find and schedule sitters, we are going to remove the phrase “if I can find a babysitter” from the parenting experience.”

The SittingAround Sitter Marketplace is the first online sitter tool that utilizes parents’ and sitters’ existing relationships (e.g. friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn) to pass trust along the social graph.  Gone are the days of picking up the phone and asking your neighbor for a referral. Now, you can see who she would recommend just by logging in.

The Sitter Marketplace also removes the need to hunt down individual babysitters to check their schedules.  A unique and easy-to-use calendar allows sitters to post real-time availability.

“Until now, babysitting technology hasn’t caught up with how we live the rest of our lives,” says Zidel. “SittingAround is giving babysitting a much-needed modernization.”

Part of that modernization means making it easy and affordable for sitters and parents to make sure others are who they claim to be. SittingAround has partnered with leading employment screening provider, TalentWise, to provide initial background checks to all users free of charge.

The SittingAround Sitter Marketplace officially launched this week in six cities: New York, Boston, DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Seattle. Sitters in the six launch cities have been quietly allowed to request an account since December, and SittingAround boasts a waitlist of over 1,000 sitters in these markets. While not officially launched in other locations yet, the Sitter Marketplace is open for anyone to sign up.

About SittingAround

SittingAround, founded in 2011, is a provider of network-based babysitting solutions with a presence across the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia. SittingAround was honored by the White House in 2011 as a company that is “winning the future through innovation” and was featured on the December cover of Entrepreneur Magazine.

Erica Zidel, Founder and CEO



10 New Year’s Resolutions for My 5 Year Old

If anyone could use some New Year’s resolutions, it’s my 5 year old son. Here are my resolution recommendations for him, in no particular order:

  1. I will come up with punchlines that are not bodily functions, fluids, or sound effects. As hilarious as they are, I realize it’s important to mix things up.
  2. I will not describe Mommy’s cooking as tasting like “raw rats.” I do not actually know what raw rats taste like, but I bet they taste nothing like Mommy’s lentil soup.
  3. I will not tell Mommy she is “the meanest person in the history of the world” after she buys me ten toys but refuses the eleventh. I wasn’t taking oppressive dictators into consideration when I made that remark.
  4. I will not eat Doritos while playing on Mommy’s iPad.
  5. I will not give Mommy a daily “kiss limit.” That’s just silly. Mommy can give me as many kisses as she likes.
  6. I will not treat bedtime as merely a suggestion.
  7. I will wear pants when we have guests over. Always. No matter how strong the urge, I will not disrobe in front of company.
  8. I will wear said pants on my legs. Not my head.
  9. I will not put food in my nose. I will not put fingers in my nose. Come to think of it, I will not put anything in my nose.
  10. I will not use bath time as an excuse to test the size of waves I am able to make. I realize that gallons of water spilling onto the bathroom floor is not ideal for our downstairs neighbors.

Did you make any resolutions on behalf of your kids? Or do you have ones you think they should make? Share ’em!


The Best Toys of 2011

With the holidays fast approaching, we’ve compiled a list of toys for children of all ages. These aren’t your run of the mill legos or train tracks — these are gifts that will leave your kids (and you!) saying, “Wow.” Without further ado, our picks for the coolest toys of 2011:

    • Kid-Tough See Yourself Camera. My son loves my DSLR camera, but I’m not comfortable with him playing with it. Thankfully, Fisher Price has a solution that allows his curiosity and creativity to thrive — a durable toy camera that actually takes real pictures! With a 4x zoom, 1.8” TFT color screen, 256 MB memory, 1.2 Megapixel imager (with lowlight capability), SD slot and USB port, there’s nothing “kid” about this camera.
    • Triqo. Legos get an upgrade, thanks to this construction set from the Netherlands. Build a house, a hat, whatever your child’s imagination desires. Added bonus: these blocks are all made from recycled materials.

    • Baby iCan Play iPhone case. How many times has your child dropped your iPhone? With me, too many to count. Fisher Price has a new way to protect your fragile phone while still allowing your child the fun of playing with all their kid-apps. What really surprises me? Why someone didn’t come up with this sooner.
    • i-Helicopter. It’s a remote controlled helicopter, except the remote is an iPhone / iPod / iPad. I love products that mix technology with tried-and-true standbys — and this a modern twist toy helicopters looks so fun, I’m tempted to buy it for myself.
    • Doodle Track. Your child draws a track on paper using a black marker and then the doodle car follows the track. How cool is that? I have no idea how this one works, but I do know that it would keep my son entertained for hours.

    • PlaSmart Plasma Bike. Toddlers, meet the tricycle of the future. This little bike helps kids as young as 18 months ride on their own — no pedals or training wheels necessary. And, thanks to its unique design, it helps your little one learn to balance better than traditional models.

With that, I am off to Amazon to try and scoop up some of these fun new toys. Did you purchase any of them? Let us know what you thought!

Handling Playground Bullies

I am nothing if not strong-willed. Bullies don’t make me fearful; they make me indignant. Example: When I was three years old, I was out shopping with my mother. My brother had just been born, and I was climbing up a store display, trying to reach a teething ring for him. An older woman came by and told me (very directly, I might add) to, “Hold [my] horses.” Hold my horses, indeed. I marched right up to her and clarified that: 1) She was neither my mother; nor 2) Was I the owner of a single horse, much less a group of horses.

As direct as I have been with bullies in my own life, I am not entirely sure how to handle them when it comes to my son. I never want him to feel picked on, but I know that my intervening might cause more harm than good in the long run. I want him to be confident to stand up for himself (knowing, of course, that I have his back). So, when I observed his first instance of playground bullying last week, I was at a loss for what to do.

School had just let out and he wanted to play on the playground for a bit before we headed home. Ever the patient child, he waited in front of the swings for 15 minutes until one opened up, even losing out on a few open swings to more aggressive children. Finally, a boy smaller than my son (but a year or two older) relinquished his swing. Happily, Gavin ran over and climbed up. As it so happened, the older boy did not feel his turn was over and, a minute or so later, he returned, demanding Gavin get off the swing. Gavin started to protest. So the older boy hit him and then shoved him off the swing. Appalled, I watched Gavin run and hide under the playground bridge. But the worst part? The boy’s mother was standing right there, watching the entire thing. She didn’t so much as bat an eyelash.

Not entirely sure how to act, I went to console my child who was crying hysterically and horrified at the other boy’s behavior. Meanwhile, I was horrified at the other mother’s behavior, behavior which, at this point, consisted of avoiding my angry glare.

I managed to calm Gavin down and we went over to the bully on the swing. “Excuse me,” I said, my face in his. “You need to apologize to this little boy.” I pointed to Gavin, who was standing half behind me. The bully started to protest that his turn wasn’t over and therefore, he was in the right. “It doesn’t matter,” I said, more firmly this time. “You don’t hit or shove other kids. And you need to apologize to him.” Realizing he wasn’t going to win, the bully muttered something and hopped off the swing. Gavin, still sobbing, but regaining his confidence, hopped up in his place.

I watched the boy and his mother leave the playground. All the while, she avoided my stare. Not once did she scold her son. In fact, she didn’t even talk about it. Which was really befuddling. As a mother myself, I couldn’t imagine watching my child hurt someone and not reprimanding him for it. I couldn’t imagine ignoring what had happened, because that would be doing a disservice to him as a person. And, it got me wondering: how much of a role do we as parents play in the types of people our children become?

SittingAround: The Complete Guide to Starting Your Own Babysitting Coop

I’m excited to announce that SittingAround has just published a brand new guide book on how to start your own babysitting coop. The book contains tons of valuable information on how to build the best coop possible and is available for download in the Amazon Kindle store.

It’s a great read, especially if your coop is just starting out. Topics covered include: coop benefits, structuring point rules, admitting new members, resolving disputes… and much more.

After you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear what you think!

The Worst Kids’ Shows

It had come to my attention that there is a LOT of hate out there in the Mom-osphere for Caillou and, well, it just seems sort of excessive. No, I am not going to defend Caillou. His inexplicably bald head is perplexing. His sing-song voice is maddening. But, as the mother of a five year old, I have seen a lot of kids television. And, let me just say, there is a whole lot of crap out there worse than that eternally irritating optimist.

What could be worse than Caillou, you ask?

  • Max and Ruby. “This show makes me want to call cartoon CPS,” says Shannon Schmid. “Who is watching these bunnies?? Where are their parents? Does the grandma bunny that occasionally shows up have custody?” This is a question that has baffled me for years, as well. Also, what is Ruby’s problem? Girl is on a serious power trip. Yes, Max is basically mute, but if I had a sister like Ruby, I doubt I’d talk much either.
  • Wow, Wow, Wubbzy. I think what’s “wow wow” is that no one has had a seizure watching this show. Flashing colors, horrible animation, annoying songs. Someone tell me anything that is redeeming about this show. Because now, the theme song — which may actually be the very worst part — is stuck in my head, head, head.
  • Spongebob Squarepants. “Spongebob has officially been banned in our house due to all the potty humor and fighting,” says Megan, mom of two. Interesting. My son watched Spongebob for the first time this fall, right around the time this happened. I’m not blaming Spongebob for the proliferation of “butts and wienies” per se. Actually, you know what? I totally am.
  • Oobi. For those lucky ducks who haven’t seen it, Oobi is a talking hand with eyes.


    I have never been unsettled by a show the way I have by Nickelodeon’s Oobi. Take a look at the picture to the right and tell me that isn’t disturbing. I mean, WTF is going on there?! Thankfully, Oobi is on really late at night, so I am not subjected to it very often. (My colleague claims that’s because it’s not so much intended for children as it is for imbibing twenty-somethings.)

  • Yo Gabba Gabba. I know, this is a polarizing one. There are a lot of people who really love Yo Gabba Gabba. Unfortunately, I happen to HATE Yo Gabba Gabba. I mean, I give DJ Lance credit for being man enough to sport a neon orange spandex jumper day in and day out. But, there’s an, um, “elephant” in the room. Says Megan, “That big orange bumpy phallic guy with one eye is just creepy. And the songs are about equal to listening to constant whining.” Do you mean to tell me there’s NOT a party in your tummy?

What do you think? Are these shows worse than Caillou? Or, as Eileen Wolter suggests, is tolerating Caillou after all these years really just a form of Stockholm Syndrome?