A Memorable (and cheap) Baltimore Winter

Winter days are frigid and short but children still seem to find the energy to
bounce off the wall. They don’t quite understand the beauty of a slow and relaxing
morning with a good book and big cup of coffee! Dreamy, right?
Ever wondered how to make the most of those blustery, winter months without
feeling those claustrophobic blues? This winter, let Baltimore (and the surrounding
area) surprise you with events and places to explore!

The Miracle of 34 th Street
If you don’t already know about Baltimore’s best kept Christmas secret, then
it truly is a best kept secret. Peruse the quirky neighborhood of Hampden while
sipping some of the Charmery’s hot cocoa. A crowd pleaser, for sure. Pop into Trovh
for some local gift ideas. Make your way to 34 th Street as the Christmas block truly
does shine for miles. The lights are on from November 29-January 1. It is free to the
public and makes for a great photo op.

Highlandtown’s Train Garden
Take a trip to Baltimore’s very own little neighborhood of Highlandtown this
holiday season. An impressive toy train set geared to awe any child. You will be
surprised at the attention to detail and Baltimore charm this little train garden
holds. The train runs from November 24- January 1 and is located at #41 Engine
House on Conkling Ave. Wrap up your event with dinner at the century-old Italian
kitchen and market, Di Pasquales. You will not be disappointed.
This is a free event but does accept and appreciate donations.

Holiday Festival of Trains
Got a train lover on your hands? Here’s another event promising to please.
While not in Baltimore city, this event claims to be the largest train display in the
area. Held in Ellicott City’s B&O Railroad museum, this set up includes a multilevel
Lego layout with interactive elements. This toy train is in operation November 28-
January 25 and costs $6-8 for admission.

12 Days of Science
The Maryland Science Center has incorporated activities this winter that go
far beyond checking the weather. Solstice-themed planetarium show, toy-making
workshops, “Christmas Bulb Drop Challenge” are bound to please all ages. Drop in
December 20-31 to have some interactive hands-on learning experiences. All extra,
holiday themed exhibits are free with paid admission.

It’s a Waterfront Life
This December, visit Baltimore’s very own Inner Harbor for an array of
festivities. Ice-skating (open until January 21), Christmas Village and photos with
Santa (both open until December 24) make every child excited for the upcoming holiday. Pop into Barnes and Noble for some hot chocolate and a cozy spot to read
and warm your toes. Events range in cost.

Baltimore Museum of Art
Free of charge and open all year round, this museum is an attraction worth
exploring. Browse colorful art and roam through rooms of talent. The sculpture
garden outside is interesting as well. Children will love to visualize, detect, and
discover through an artist’s eyes. Also, every Sunday from 2-5, the BMA hosts a craft
making event for children that is FREE. All materials provided. A family event that
guarantees to encourage a creative mind.

Babywearing: The Holiday Helper

babywearing

With the holiday season in full-tilt, those of you with new babies may be feeling a bit hesitant about taking your little ones to holiday gatherings or to community events. Concerns range from not wanting Aunt Susan to sneak your baby a taste of that pumpkin pie to trying to avoid kisses from every well-meaning friend and family member.

Prevent the Pass-Around
Of course you want to show off your little bundle, but you want to do it on your terms. It feels uncomfortable to have baby being passed around from person-to-person. Cue babywearing! People are far less likely to reach out for baby when baby is snugly wrapped or strapped to Mom or Dad. It offers an unspoken barrier stopping people from requesting a chance to hold baby since it’s clear that baby is very comfortable and secure. This gives the caregiver the ability to offer baby up for a snuggle if one so desires rather than having to refuse the request or even worse, oblige the request even though it’s not what you want to do.

Don’t Miss Feedings
With the hustle and bustle of holiday events, it’s far easier to accidentally skip a feeding. As babies get a bit older and more easily distracted, all the noise and goings-on of a holiday celebration could result in baby bypassing her typical feeding cues. While baby might not even fuss at the missed feeding, a nursing mom may experience engorged breasts and even risk mastitis. With baby held closely in a wrap, sling, or carrier, the physical proximity helps keep caregiver and baby attuned to feeding needs.

Do Miss Unwanted Feedings
There’s always that one relative who feels it necessary to give baby “just a little taste” of the whipped cream or “just a pinch” of Grandma’s beloved holiday cookie. It’s frustrating to find out, after-the-fact, that your baby has been given something that his sensitive gut might not be ready for yet. Thankfully, with baby comfortably enjoying the party secured to your chest, no one can sneak an unwanted taste to your baby.

Avoid Overstimulation
Babywearing provides a grounding experience for baby: the rhythmic sound of the wearer’s breathing, the steady heartbeat, and the gentle movement. All these things offer baby a familiar, safe, and comfortable environment even when the surroundings may be totally unfamiliar. It even allows baby to snuggle in for a much-needed nap with music and laughter and chatting in the background.

Babywearing is the ultimate holiday helper. You can attend your holiday event with the peace of mind knowing baby is cozy, comfortable, and insulated from unwelcomed circumstances. Even better, you can keep baby close with your hands totally free. That means more trips through the buffet line for you. That alone is a reason to celebrate! Happy holidays!

Protein in Pregnancy: What’s the big deal?

Have you ever wondered just how important your diet is for your growing baby in your belly? Have you ever allowed craving after craving to drive your food intake? Have you ever felt like your body only wanted to eat carbs, carbs and more carbs? If you have answered yes to one or all of these questions, this blog post is for you.

Throughout pregnancy, a protein rich diet can make all the difference in maternal and fetal health. It can reduce risk factors for pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, and even improve your birth outcome. But how?!

When your baby is growing the fastest, during the second and third trimester, it is vital that your body intakes protein which contains amino acids. These acids are the building blocks for you and your baby. Most experts recommend consuming a minimum of 80 to 120 grams of protein per day while pregnant. It is also important to use salt to taste. Between 20-25% of your daily calories should come from protein. As explained in the chart below, albumin is made directly from the protein mom eats which in turn increases blood volume. When mom doesn’t get enough calories, the protein is burned up rather than being used to make albumin. This unfortunately drops blood volume. The result of high blood pressure is due to the kidneys producing an enzyme called renin which makes the blood vessels constrict. This down spiral of events often leads to early signs of pre-eclampsia and usually early induction of baby.

Adequate protein and salt for the pregnant mom are vital in an overall healthy pregnancy and an uncomplicated delivery. Best choices that include protein are as follows: meat and poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, dairy products, beans and peas, nuts and seeds, high protein grains, protein powder. If the mother will increase the amount of salt, protein, and calories that she eats, the blood volume will increase, and blood pressure will come down to a normal level. Sometimes, this could even mean eating an ounce or two of protein every hour. It is in fact possible to reverse pre-eclampsia risks with proper protein-rich nutrition. For more information on the link between nutrition and pre-eclampsia, see www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com.

protein in the maternal diet

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