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The Yucky Stuff

What’s normal and when to call the doctor for these 5 totally gross newborn things.

The Yucky Stuff

Having a new baby can feel magical. They are so small and cute and they smell good. Then it hits you. Literally. Your adorable perfect newborn sprays you full of poop while you are changing his diapers. Her eyes start to have green goop. You wonder how could this be happening to your perfect baby. Is this normal?

Here’s 5 yucky or gross things that happen in newborns that may throw you for a loop, but are perfectly normal.

1. Explosive Pooping. When a baby is first born, the stool will be dark and tarry appearing. This is called meconium. As your milk comes in or your baby starts to bottle-feed, the stool will change in both color and consistency: it may be yellow, orange, green or brown in color and cottage, tooth paste, mustard or honey in consistency. It will be very loose. If it were your stool, you would think you had diarrhea, but this is normal for babies. You may find that the stool squirts out at you during a diaper change. Sometimes, you may find your child has such a large stool that it goes up their back. This is what we call a diaper blowout and it's normal as well.

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Seek medical attention: If your newborn is stooling more than 15 times a day, has blood in the stool, has not urinated for over 6-8 hours or seems to be in pain or feeding poorly.

2. Newborn Congestion. Newborns are obligate nasal breathers. This means that they breathe much better through their noses than through their mouths. Newborns have small nasal passages so any little bit of congestion can make them sounds very noisy like a washing machine. The only way for your baby to clear their nasal passages is by sneezing, which explains why newborns sneeze a lot. Typically, the congestion bothers the parents more than the baby. If your baby is happy and feeding and sleeping well there is no reason to intervene. In fact, trying to suction your baby’s nose will only annoy them and over suctioning can actually lead to increased congestion by irritating the nasal passages. You may see a giant booger right there and really want to get it out. Remember if your child is not bothered by it then leave it alone. Soon enough your baby will sneeze and that bothersome booger will come right out. If your baby is bothered by the congestion you can use some nasal saline drops and suction to help make them more comfortable. Keeping a humidifier running will also help with nasal congestion.

Seek immediate medical attention: If your infant is less than two months old, has a temperature 100.4 or above, is feeding poorly, is irritable, is having persistently rapid breathing, has a change of color to the lips to pale or blue, or if you have any other concerns.

3. Umbilical Stump. After your baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut. Within 2-3 days the stump starts to dry out and can look a little gross. As the cord separates it will also look unattractive. The cord typically changes from a yellow/green color to brown or black as it dries out. It may even start to smell a little as it falls off. The key to stump care is to keep the area dry. This means not submerging your infant in water until after the umbilical stump falls off typically between 10-14 days of life. Until then, you can sponge bathe your baby. Your baby has sensitive skin and does not need to be bathed frequently. Signs of infection include: circumferential redness in the belly button area, very foul smelling discharge, pain or fever.

Seek medical attention: If you have other concerns, it is always best to check with your pediatrician.

4. Clogged Tear Ducts. It happens one morning soon after you come home from the hospital, you go to your sleeping baby and notice lots of green discharge from one or both their eyes. You immediately panic does my child have an eye infection? Luckily the likely answer is no. It is common for infants to get clogged tear ducts. In this case, the white of the eyes are white and there is no redness or swelling or the eyelids. There will be some yellow-green color discharge from your baby’s eyes and at times there may be a large amount of discharge. You will also notice that the affected eye may be watery and tearing. The good news is that clogged tear ducts typically self-resolve by nine months of age. If that has not happened, your pediatrician will refer you to an eye doctor at that time.

Seek medical attention: Signs of infection include redness in the white part of the eye, eyelid redness or swelling, or a hard bump at the corner of the eye. If your baby has these symptoms or you have any concerns you should contact your pediatrician.

5. Cradle Cap. The medical term for cradle cap is seborrhea. These are the scaly, flaky patches you may see on your new babies scalp. The scalp may look yellow and greasy and can sometimes have some redness. No one knows the exact cause of cradle cap but some theories include: maternal hormones passed from the mother can cause a build up of oil in the oil glands and hair follicles or that it is caused by a non harmful yeast. While cradle cap bothers parents because it can look unsightly, it is not dangerous or harmful to babies. It typically does not bother your baby and is not contagious. The good news is that most cradle cap self resolves within a few months. So hang tight and observe.

Seek medical attention: If your baby’s scalp is very itchy or is bleeding it may not be cradle cap and you should talk to you doctor.

Remember, children can sometimes be messy. The good news is that they are adorable and have so many positives you are left thinking, “Really, what's the big deal about an occasional poop squirt between family!”

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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