Jody and Brooklyn radiate kindness and gratitude. Photographing their big day was filled with joy and celebration. It was a hard decision to postpone from 2020, but it absolutely was worth the wait.
Welcome to the world baby Emmaline! What a pleasure to photograph this sweet baby.
Stretch Marks & Pregnancy
Stretch marks, also called “striae distensae” or “striae gravidarum, look like lines or streaks across your skin. Stretch marks happen when your pregnant body grows faster than your skin can keep up with. This causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin to break, resulting in stretch marks.
Doctors say as many as 90% of women will develop stretch marks during their pregnancy. Genetics plays a role as well, so if your mom has stretch marks, you’re likely to have them too.
The good news is they’ll eventually fade and the original color of them will change to white or silver, making them less noticeable.
How to Prevent Stretch Marks during Pregnancy
Although you’re more than likely to get stretch marks during your pregnancy, there are some things you can do to lessen the severity and appearance of them.
Drink lots of water!
Your growing baby puts extra demands on your body’s need for water, so it’s important to stay hydrated during your pregnancy! Watch for cues from your body that you’re getting dehydrated. These can include
The Institute of Medicine recommends that you drink about 80 ounces of water or other beverages each day. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine as these beverages are known to dehydrate you and can increase your likelihood of developing stretch marks. Be sure to talk to your doctor about how much liquid you should be drinking to keep your pregnant body perfectly hydrated.
Eat vitamin-rich foods
Pregnant moms know they should eat a healthy diet because it’s good for your growing baby. However, there are some vitamins that are super helpful in keeping your pregnancy skin fit and reducing the severity and appearance of stretch marks. These include
Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C.
Collagen keeps your skin strong, supple and elastic. Doctors say it can also help prevent stretch marks. You can find vitamin C in lots of fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, are especially good sources of vitamin C. Others foods that are good sources of vitamin C include broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes, to name a few.
Soak up some vitamin D
Doctors have discovered a link between low levels of vitamin D and an increased incidence of stretch marks. The easiest way to get vitamin D is by getting a bit of sun on your skin. Talk to your dermatologist about how much sun exposure is safe. You can also find vitamin D in supplements. It’s also added to a lot of foods that you may already be eating, including dairy products, bread, and cereals.
Dr. Dendy Engleman is a dermatologist who’s been pregnant twice. Her advice? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Engelman’s moisturizer of choice during her pregnancy was Bio-Oil. “Even though it’s a pain every day to slather on this stuff, it really does help.”
Natural Remedies for Stretch Marks
Preventing stretch marks may be difficult, but there are many natural treatments that may lessen their appearance.
Coconut oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help lighten and fade stretch marks. Just scoop some into your hands and rub it into your stretch marks.
Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian recommends homemade sugar scrubs to help diminish the appearance of stretch marks. She recommends mixing sugar with almond or coconut oil and lemon juice and rub it over your stretch marks for eight to ten minutes several times a week.
Aloe vera is super moisturizing and may help to get rid of stretch marks. You can grow your own or even buy large aloe vera stems from the grocery store or natural food stores.
Medical treatment for stretch marks
There are treatments your dermatologist can perform for stretch marks. They won’t make them disappear, but they can help to minimize the appearance. These include
Your doctor may choose one of these procedures or a combination of several of them to treat your stretch marks.
New moms share their stretch mark stories
“Nothing worked! I oiled every day twice a day and still got stretch marks” -Kara LaCoy
“Bio Oil saved my life. I used it my entire pregnancy with my twin girls and I got ZERO stretch marks!” -Julie Ellis
“I put lotion on my belly every night and morning and still got stretch marks once I hit 8 months” -Gabby Conde
“I used Mederma on my stretch marks. I’ve heard that stretch marks are genetic, but I definitely have stretch marks from when I got heavy in high school, so I’m genetically pre-disposed to getting them. I only have one tiny stretch mark after carrying my son. I say it was the lotion I used and the water I drank.” -Rachel Skala
“Try not to scratch your skin as it’s stretching and itching! That makes them more prominent.” Kay Valentin
What’s in a name? If you believe the experts, the answer is everything from behavior, to success in the job market and more!
Baby name expert Laura Wattenberg says choosing your newborn baby’s name is so important because of what people really hear when they hear someone’s name. “We all read a lot of information into a name. You hear a name, it’s not just the sound. It’s age, religion, ethnicity and gender and a whole world of culture packed into those few letters.”
Wattenberg wrote the book “The Baby Name Wizard” which is now in its fourth edition. She also started the website Namerology.com which is all about the art and science of baby naming.
Wattenberg says when couples argue over their newborn’s name, there’s usually a bigger issue lurking. “Big name conflicts usually are deep down relationship conflicts. If you find yourself in a big conflict over baby naming, it’s worth thinking about what’s really going on because it’s one of the first of a million decisions you’re going to have to make together as parents.”
Katy Queen is the mother of five children, so she’s been through the process five times. Some choices were easy, others not so much. “We disagreed a lot with some of the kids,” said Queen. “Our first we didn’t know the sex. We easily came up with a boy’s name. Girls were harder, we actually never agreed, so it was good he was a boy. Our second we went until 32 weeks, not agreeing or liking anything then one night we were joking around and the name came to us. Our third was very similar. Our fourth, pretty early on my husband came home with the perfect name. I don’t love his name but it was the right name. Our most recent baby is named after a very important person in my family. When my husband learned about her and how much she meant to my dad, he said we had to use it! We had her name picked out for 3 years!”
Sometimes couples settle on a name that’s not either partner’s favorite, just to have peace and be done with the task. “My husband and I have totally different tastes in names,” said Ashley Taylor. “I like more unique names like Oakley, Arlo, and Sebastian. He likes traditional, like Tom or Thomas for example. So imagine our surprise when the same name made it on BOTH of our lists of baby boy names: Harrison. It wasn’t my number one favorite and it wasn’t his either but it was within the top five on both lists, so we now have a newborn baby Harrison!”
Sometimes disagreements over baby’s name selection can linger. “It’s been two years and my husband is still upset we didn’t name our youngest son Archer,” says Haley Helms.
To add to the pressure of picking a name, researchers now say the right – or wrong – name can affect how well your child does in school, what subjects she’ll be interested in studying, and how successful he or she will be in the job market.
Consider the results of multiple studies on the impact of names:
What trends are coming up in names for 2020? Wattenberg sees a couple of patterns developing.
“Today’s name sound is very smooth and liquid. Lots of vowels, lots of smooth sounds. No hard edges to anything. We are pushing that style to its limit. We have drummed the hard sounds out of our names to an extent,” says Wattenberg.
And what about the trendiness of unisex names? Wattenberg says that’s a bit of an illusion. “What’s happening is there is such a movement towards creativity, parents want names that sound fresh and interesting, so they’re creating new names, inventing something new or turning a word or surname into a first name. Those new names don’t have any traditional gender association. What’s really happening is that we’re no longer naming kids John and Mary so inevitably a lot of names are used for both boys and girls. I don’t see evidence that parents are more eager for unisex names than they were in the past.”
What were the top names of 2019? For the girls, here are the names that topped BabyCenter.com’s baby name report.
New moms know that breastfeeding has many benefits for both mothers and their babies. There are physical benefits for baby’s health — lower risks of asthma, diabetes and gastrointestinal issues — but also emotional benefits as well.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s women’s health site, being physically close with mom is important for newborns; it gives them comfort, warmth, and security. It can help strengthen the connection between mother and baby.
But can that connection be disrupted when a breastfeeding mother is scrolling on her smartphone?
According to experts, that is a possibility. This concept, which has been called “brexting” is a trending hashtag on Twitter. And it has become a popular topic of conversation with new moms offline too.
Health officials believe that being distracted while breastfeeding compromises a developmental process that happens when a baby sees and responds to their mother’s face.
A study performed in 1975 concluded that when mothers approached their babies without smiling or talking, the babies would become distressed and turn away, whereas, if the mother cooed and smiled at the baby, he would smile and move his arms and legs.
Another study from Harvard found that if a mother breastfed with a blank expression, their baby would react anxiously. Experts believe a newborn will likely have a similar reaction if her mother is distracted by a device such as a smartphone.
For new mother Ellie Brackman, whose newborn came into the world in January, deciding to breastfeed was an easy choice.
“With everything in pregnancy and birth I wanted to be as natural as possible,” she said. “I had this mentality of ‘My body is designed to do this on its own, so I should let it.’ So I gave birth without any medication and wanted to breastfeed. I also think it is super cool that with breastfeeding my body can recognize when or if my baby needs certain nutrients. If she’s starting to get sick, my body will pick up on that and send more antibodies through my breast milk to her. Also, it’s a more economical choice for my husband and me. Babies are expensive and not having to pay for formula definitely helps. For me as a new mom, it feels really special that I’m the only one who can give her exactly what she needs. I’m her whole world right now, and I love that.”
Brackman is not familiar with the concept of brexting. She said that while she believes paying attention and being present while breastfeeding her newborn is important, she’s not sure that being productive during that time is necessarily a bad thing.
“I think it’s just like anything else with technology — you have to stay in control of it and be aware of your time spent with it. I spend a minimum of four hours a day breastfeeding my baby. That time adds up, and breastfeeding is not an easy thing to do. I’m the type of person who can’t just sit all day; I have to get things done or be busy or I go crazy. Even though breastfeeding is hard work and a far cry from just sitting on the couch all day, I still need to do something with my mind during that time.”
She explained that while she breastfeeds her newborn, it’s not uncommon for her to Facetime with family members who live far away or read articles about childcare or shop online for things her baby needs.
“However, even though I use my phone while nursing, I never spend the entire time scrolling,” Brackman said. “I have to pay pretty close attention to my baby while she nurses because I actually overproduce milk and she tends to chug really fast. I also have to keep her awake during feedings or she will just fall asleep and not fill her belly. I can see how there might be a possibility for some women to scroll the whole time they nurse and that could lead to some disconnect between mother and baby, but I think overall brexting isn’t a major issue. I think being a new mom is pretty tough both mentally and physically. If checking your Instagram while you nurse gives you the mental break you need then take it. You can’t care for your baby very well if you’re frazzled.”
Though some think brexting could potentially lead to over-feeding, which could subsequently lead to other issues like obesity, there is not enough evidence yet to conclude this.
More studies are being conducted now to find how brexting affects a child. So far they have not found anything conclusive to confirm that the specific distraction of smartphone use while breastfeeding is technically harmful. And the reality is that even before smartphones were in the picture, many mothers did other activities during breastfeeding, like reading or watching TV, that would be considered distracting. Smartphone use has become prevalent for everyone; no one is immune to its potential for distraction. But mothers are often shamed for a variety of choices they make when it comes to pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childcare, so it is not necessarily surprising that the concept of brexting is so heavily debated online.