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There’s enough information that new moms must sort through before the baby arrives, and navigating the process of finding the right care in the first few days, months and years of your children’s lives can be daunting. Engaging postpartum resources directly after birth can create a network of professionals that will help you focus on your recovery, breastfeeding, sleep scheduling and your baby's well being. At Nannies of New York, we try to take the guesswork out of finding nannies, baby nurses and postpartum doulas by using a personal approach to this matchmaking process. Here, we’ve broken down both traditional and lesser-known resources for birth and immediately thereafter that will lead to a confident and stronger parenting foundation for years to come.

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Birthing Educator

A childbirth educator can help couples seeking in-depth information related to labor and delivery, breastfeeding and newborn care. Classes typically cover anatomical and physiological changes during pregnancy, signs and stages of labor, when to call your doctor, everything you need to know about labor and delivery, fetal heart monitoring, medications used in labor (epidurals, pitocin), forceps, vacuums, Caesarian sections, Lamaze breathing techniques and the role of the labor support person. Birthing educators usually discuss postpartum care as well, including breastfeeding, newborn care and SIDS prevention. (Relevant from Week 20 of Pregnancy to Birth)

Labor Doula

A labor-support or birth doula provides continuous social support to the birthing family before and during labor and delivery. A birth doula understands the needs of a woman in labor and gives her emotional support, physical comfort, and an objective viewpoint in the process of decision making, the partner’s involvement, etc. Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter and have fewer complications, while babies are healthier and breastfeed more easily. (Relevant 3 months prior to Birth through Birth and Beyond)

Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula guides and trains new mothers and families in a gentle and non-intrusive way. She assists with breastfeeding and baby care, and helps families address problems that arise in the first few weeks at home. By mentoring the new parents to understand their baby’s cues, postpartum doulas build confidence that leads to a strong parenting foundation in the first few weeks/months of a newborn’s life. (Relevant Day 0- 2 months)

Baby Nurse/Night Nurse

A baby or night nurse cares for the immediate needs of a new mother and provides support around feeding, swaddling, sleeping and bathing the newborn. Baby nurses are not registered nurses or medical professionals, but rather newborn care specialists that focus on small infants in their first several weeks of life. Baby nurses are especially important to first-time parents who don’t know what to expect and prefer expert support from an extra pair of hands. (Relevant from Day 0 through Day 60)

Lactation Consultant

Many women are surprised by how much they enjoy breastfeeding. However, mothers also need a support system, especially in the beginning stages of nursing. A lactation consultant can be an important part of that support and learning process. This person not only helps with the process of breastfeeding, but also makes sure that the mother’s milk supply is accurate and/or steps in when there are problems to be fixed. All lactation specialists are certified from the Board of Lactation Consultants and most make individual house calls. (Relevant Day 0 through 6 months, or as needed)

Sleep Scheduler

Sleep consultants work together with parents to tackle sleeping issues such as early rising, short naps, nap transitions, weaning of props and night waking. Each child is an individual and each family has their own unique beliefs. Trained consultants understand that what works for one child may not work for another, and develop a customized plan for each family. Establishing a healthy and positive sleep foundation, and setting up sleep routines as early as birth, will provide a positive influence throughout the childhood years. (Relevant as needed from Day 0- 6 months)

Nanny

The word nanny is derived from the Greek word nanna, meaning aunt. A modern nanny is employed by a family on either a live-in or live-out basis, and typically responsible for childcare and other household chores or tasks related to the children. Finding the right nanny can be instrumental to laying a strong foundation to a child’s life; this person will provide love, support and guidance through the various stages of development. (Relevant for ages 1 month to 10 years+)

Learn more about Nannies of New York.

Photo credit: NY Post

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Things We're Loving

I admit it: We struggle with screen time in my house. My 4-year-old is a rambunctious consumer of entertainment and most of his beloved forms come in the mini screen of my cell phone. I do, however, do my best to fill that screen with the most educational kid's apps that exist, and one of his favorites is the world of Sago Mini. Their apps are fun, playful, and yes, help him learn something too.

So imagine our excitement when we found out that Sago Mini is bringing that experience offline with an IRL kid's toy subscription service that sends open-ended toys to you about once a month. The service officially launches today and it's perfect for kids aged 3-5. It costs about $19 a month or $15 a month if you pay for an annual subscription.

The Sago Mini box

The first set of boxes will have planes, road trip and fairy tales themes. ✨The box we tried was road-trip themed and it came with everything your little needs to get off the phone and into their imagination. I loved that even the box itself can be turned into a toy by disassembling it and rebuilding it inside out. Because we all know that sometimes our kid's favorite toy ends up being the box it was shipped in!

The kit comes with three make and play activities, all designed to build off each other. For example, our road trip box came with a felt "road" that my son loved draping all over the furniture, and a cardboard car with wooden wheels in one activity pack. Then the second activity pack had destinations your child can "drive" their car to like Grandma's house, school and a gas station.

I especially appreciated that they kept an eye on sustainability (and cute design!) when creating these play materials. All the paper materials that come in the box are made from recycled goods or sourced from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC certified). The best part? My son played with his set for a good few hours—and never asked for my phone once.

$15
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It was a historical moment for the world and a scary moment for a woman who had just become a mother for the first time. When the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital on July 22, 2013, with her new baby in her arms she was happy—but understandably scared, too.

Kate Middleton recently appeared on Giovanna Fletcher's Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast and when Fletcher asked her about her postpartum debut Kate said she felt a little freaked out when she stepped out with her newborn.

"Yeah, slightly terrifying, slightly terrifying, I'm not going to lie," Kate said.

During the podcast the Duchess opened up about her pregnancy and birth experiences, explaining how much hypnobirthing helped her and that she didn't know whether she was delivering a prince or princess until Prince George was born as she'd opted to be surprised.

She was surprised and thrilled when she met her son, and looked forward to post-pregnancy life after spending her pregnancy quite ill with hyperemesis gravidarum (a seriously debilitating form of extreme morning sickness). She was happy, but was also (very understandably) overwhelmed. In addition to all the pressure new moms feel, Kate had an army of photographers waiting outside the hospital for her.

"Everything goes in a bit of a blur. I think, yeah I did stay in hospital overnight, I remember it was one of the hottest days and night with huge thunderstorms so I didn't get a huge amount of sleep, but George did, which was really great," she explained. "I was keen to get home because, for me, being in hospital, I had all the memories of being in hospital because of being sick [with acute morning sickness] so it wasn't a place I wanted to hang around in. So, I was really desperate to get home and get back to normality."

Kate wanted to get home, but she also did want to share her baby boy with the public who had been so supportive of her young family, she explains.

"Everyone had been so supportive and both William and I were really conscious that this was something that everyone was excited about and you know we're hugely grateful for the support that the public had shown us, and actually for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important," she shared, adding that "Equally it was coupled with a newborn baby, and inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty of what that held, so there were all sorts of mixed emotions."

"All sorts of mixed emotions."

The now-iconic images of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exiting the hospital with their firstborn have gone down in history, but so has Kate's bravery that day.

There's been a lot written about whether those pictures put pressure on other moms who might not feel ready for heels and blowouts right after giving birth, but one thing critics of the photos often miss is the positive impact it had on other young women.

Yes, Kate looked beautiful, but she also looked like a woman whose body had just given birth—and the iconic images of her in that polka-dot dress taught a generation of women that the female body isn't an elastic band and that recovering from birth takes time.

"I, myself remember being really surprised when Kate Middleton came out of the hospital holding Prince George," Tina, now a mom herself and a model of postpartum realness in Mothercare's "Body Proud Mums campaign" explained last year.

Tina recalls how Kate's postpartum appearance showed her a reality society hadn't: "She had the baby bump, and I remember being surprised that your belly doesn't just go down after giving birth. I also thought how stupid I was to have ever thought it would. I guess pre-children you just have unrealistic expectations."

Tina wasn't stupid, she just hadn't been shown the truth.

So thank you, Kate, for stepping out of that hospital in 2013, despite being terrified, and showing the world your beautiful baby and your bump.


News

Despite the encouraging growth of free or subsidized preschools in some American cities, the fact remains that preschool and daycare cost about as much as rent in many areas.

But there's some good news, which is that parents who pay for preschool or daycare while they're at work may qualify for a credit that can help you save money on taxes this year. Here's what all parents should know before filing their returns.

Is preschool tuition tax-deductible?

The sum of your child's entire preschool tuition is not tax deductible, but you may be able to get something better than a deduction: a credit called the Child and Dependent Care Credit, worth up to $1,050 for one child and up to $2,100 for two or more kids.

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How do I know if I'm eligible for the Child Dependent Care Tax Credit?

There are a few criteria to be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit:

  • If you have someone take care of your child so you can work or look for work
  • Your child is under the age of 13 at the end of the tax year (no age limit if they are disabled)
  • You must be able to claim your child as a dependent
  • Your filing status must be single, head of household, qualifying widow or widower with a qualifying child, or married filing jointly.

Does preschool tuition count as dependent care?

Yes, it does count if you are paying someone to take care of your child so you can work or look for work. Day camps, such as summer camps and sports camps, count as well, but overnight camps don't.

How much could I potentially get back on taxes for preschool tuition?

If you are able to claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit, you may be able to claim up to $1,050 for one child and up to $2,100 for two or more children.

The great thing about credits is they are a dollar for dollar reduction of your taxes. So if you owe taxes of $1,050 and have one child, you may qualify for a credit of up to $1,050 and wipe out the taxes you owe.

The credit is based on a sliding scale: Depending on your income, your credit is 20%-35% of your childcare expenses up to $3,000 (or $1,050), and 20%-35% of childcare expenses up to $6,000 (or $2,100) for two or more kids.

The bottom line: While this tax credit is unlikely to completely cover your child's preschool tuition for the year, don't miss out on this tax credit if you're paying for preschool or daycare for your child so that you can work. And remember to check your eligibility for other tax credits and deductions for families, including the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Credit.
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