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It's science: Parents can prevent allergies by feeding babies peanuts

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I say this as a sufferer: Peanut allergies are the worst. I learned I was allergic to peanuts when I was 13 years old, and although my allergy isn't severe, I choose not to bring peanuts or peanut products into my house. As a result, I was unable to expose my son to peanuts earlier in his life.


I'm hardly alone though. While the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recommends parents give their babies peanut-based pureed or finger food before six months as a way to avoid life-threatening peanut allergies, many mamas still don't.

That may soon change as this week the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines on the prevention of allergies, and the new guidelines suggest the early introduction of foods like peanuts, along with other allergenic foods like eggs and fish.

"There is no reason to delay giving your baby foods that are thought of as allergens like peanut products, eggs or fish," the report's co-author, Dr. Scott Sicherer, explains in a statement. "These foods can be added to the diet early, just like foods that are not common allergens, like rice, fruits or vegetables."

The updated recommendations follow a study published last year in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology which found that a majority of new moms and moms-to-be surveyed are still hesitant to serve up peanuts, despite endorsement from NIAID the American Academy of Pediatrics in January 2017.

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"Since early peanut introduction is a relatively new idea, we were not surprised to find that more than half of those surveyed said following the guidelines was of no or limited importance," said that study's lead author Matthew Greenhawt, an allergist and chair of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology's Food Allergy Committee.

To be exact, 53% of respondents said they were wary of recommendations to try early peanut introduction, according to the survey results. Researchers also discovered that, overall, 61% of women surveyed said they weren't that concerned with their child developing a food allergy. Only 31% of participants said they would be willing to try early introduction, the survey found.

About 3 million people in the United States have an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts. In fact, a peanut allergy is the most common allergy among food allergic children, according to Food Allergy Research & Education. The NIAID and the AAP say early exposure to peanuts could significantly decrease the chances of your baby developing a nut allergy.

According to the guidelines, parents of babies who are at low risk developing peanut allergies are encouraged to try peanuts at home, while babies at high risk for a peanut allergy (those who have severe eczema or an egg allergy) should have peanut skin testing first, and depending on the results they can try peanuts as an oral food challenge at their specialist's office.

As someone with a peanut allergy, I totally get why parents would hold off on introducing legumes at such an early age. But there's evidence to show that early introduction can have tremendous benefits in the long-term. Eat up.

[A version of this post was originally published March 22, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As mamas, we naturally become the magic-makers for our families. We sing the songs that make the waits seem shorter, dispense the kisses that help boo-boos hurt less, carry the seemingly bottomless bags of treasures, and find ways to turn even the most hum-drum days into something memorable.

Sometimes it's on a family vacation or when exploring a new locale, but often it's in our own backyards or living rooms. Here are 12 ways to create magical moments with kids no matter where your adventures take you.


1. Keep it simple

Mary Poppins may be practically perfect in every way, but―trust us―your most magical memories don't require perfection. Spend the morning building blanket forts or break out the cookie cutters to serve their sandwich in a fun shape and you'll quickly learn that, for kids, the most magical moments are often the simplest.

2. Get on their level

Sometimes creating a memorable moment can be as easy as getting down on the floor and playing with your children. So don't be afraid to get on your hands and knees, to swing from the monkey bars, or turn watching your favorite movie into an ultimate snuggle sesh.

3. Reimagine the ordinary

As Mary says, "the cover is not the book." Teach your child to see the world beyond initial impressions by encouraging them to imagine a whole new world as you play―a world where the laundry basket can be a pirate ship or a pile of blankets can be a castle.

4. Get a little messy

Stomp in muddy puddles. Break out the finger paint. Bake a cake and don't worry about frosting drips on the counter. The messes will wait, mama. For now, let your children―and yourself―live in these moments that will all too soon become favorite memories.

5. Throw out the plan

The best-laid plans...are rarely the most exciting. And often the most magical moments happen by accident. So let go of the plan, embrace the unexpected, and remember that your child doesn't care if the day goes according to the schedule.

6. Take it outside

There's never a wrong time of year to make magic outside. Take a stroll through a spring rainstorm, catch the first winter snowflakes on your tongue, or camp out under a meteor shower this summer. Mother Nature is a natural at creating experiences you'll both remember forever.

7. Share your childhood memories

Chances are if you found it magical as a child, then your kids will too. Introduce your favorite books and movies (pro tip: Plan a double feature with an original like Mary Poppins followed with the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns!) or book a trip to your favorite family vacation spot from the past. You could even try to recreate photos from your old childhood with your kids so you can hang on to the memory forever.

8. Just add music

Even when you're doing something as humdrum as prepping dinner or tidying up the living room, a little music has a way of upping the fun factor. Tell Alexa to cue up your favorite station for a spontaneous family dance party or use your child's favorite movie soundtrack for a quick game of "Clean and Freeze" to pick up toys at the end of the day.

9. Say "yes"

Sometimes it can feel like you're constantly telling your child "no." While it's not possible to grant every request (sorry, kiddo, still can't let you drive the car!), plan a "yes" day for a little extra magic. That means every (reasonable) request gets an affirmative response for 24 hours. Trust us―they'll never forget it.

10. Let them take the lead

A day planned by your kid―can you imagine that? Instead of trying to plan what you think will lead to the best memories, put your kid in the driver's seat by letting them make the itinerary. If you have more than one child, break up the planning so one gets to pick the activity while the other chooses your lunch menu. You just might end up with a day you never expected.

11. Ask more questions

Odds are, your child might not remember every activity you plan―but they will remember the moments you made them feel special. By focusing the conversation on your little one―their likes, dislikes, goals, or even just craziest dreams―you teach them that their perspective matters and that you are their biggest fan.

12. Turn a bad day around

Not every magical moment will start from something good. But the days where things don't go to plan can often turn out to be the greatest memories, especially when you find a way to turn even a negative experience into a positive memory. So don't get discouraged if you wake up to rain clouds on your beach day or drop the eggs on the floor before breakfast―take a cue from Mary Poppins and find a way to turn the whole day a little "turtle."

Mary Poppins Returns available now on Digital & out on Blue-ray March 19! Let the magic begin in your house with a night where everything is possible—even the impossible ✨

Spring is officially here and if you're looking for a way to celebrate the change in the season, why not treat the kids to some ice cream, mama?

DQ locations across the country (but not the ones in malls) are giving away free small vanilla cones today, March 20! So pack up the kids and get to a DQ near you.

And if you can't make it today, from March 21 through March 31, DQ's got a deal where small cones will be just 50 cents (but you have to download the DQ mobile app to claim that one).

Another chain, Pennsylvania-based Rita's Italian Ice is also dishing up freebies today, so if DQ's not your thing you can grab a free cup of Italian ice instead.

We're so excited that ice cream season is here and snowsuit season is behind us. Just a few short weeks and the kids will be jumping through the sprinklers.

Welcome back, spring. We've missed you!

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No parent wants to imagine their child dying. To think that your little bundle of joy would pass away before they could live a full life is unfathomable. But when a parent does lose a child, it can feel like a shock to the system, and recovering is a life-long process we need to talk about.

In 2018 Catastrophe actor Rob Delaney revealed that his 2-year-old son Henry died after a long battle with brain cancer. This week, speaking at a fundraiser for families with seriously ill children, Delaney spoke candidly about how hard the last 14 months have been, the Evening Standard reports.

"I'm a mess. My child died 14 months ago and I'm basically a bag of wet rubbish. I need a lot of help. It has been very hard. It comes in waves. I've learned to not control how the waves come. Right now I'm sad a lot," he said, explaining that he shares this openly in the hopes that "if a bereaved parent or bereaved sibling reads this, I want them to know that it's okay that they feel terrible, sad, confused and so brutally humbled."

In a previous Facebook post about Henry's death, the 42-year-old comedian shared that Henry had been diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after his first birthday, and had undergone surgery to remove the tumor, as well as additional treatment. But the cancer returned and he passed away shortly after.

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As a way to cope with his loss, Delaney wrote that he focuses his energy on his family—his two other sons and his wife, Leah. He said in his post, “I am astonished by the love-in-action displayed by Henry's mom and his brothers. They are why I will endeavor to not go mad with grief. I don't want to miss out on their beautiful lives. I'm greedy for more experiences with them."

Delaney's message about grieving is so important, especially for other bereaved parents. In that one statement, Delaney highlights one big, undeniable truth: How a parent decides to mourn the loss of their child is a deeply personal choice.

“Mourning is the outward or public expression of grief, a means of sharing grief with people who also are grieving or who want to support you," writes oncologist Dr. Edward Creagan for the Mayo Clinic. “Religious rituals, cultural traditions and personal beliefs often shape how we mourn.

Whatever form it takes, mourning is a critical process that can help you lessen the intensity of grief and help you adapt to your loss."

For Sandy Peckinpah, a certified grief recovery specialist, mourning the loss of her 16-year-old son meant turning to a journal. In an essay for HuffPost, Peckinpah writes that after her son's death from misdiagnosed bacterial meningitis, she felt as though her pain was “visible to others, and I would forever be wearing grief as a mask and a tagline... 'I'm Sandy Peckinpah and I've lost a child.'"

"Then a friend gave me a journal and said, 'Write. Just write,'" Peckinpah continues. On the first page, she could only write one sentence: “My son died and my life will never be the same."

“The next day, I wrote a paragraph, and each day after that I found words came more easily. My journal became my safe haven to empty the well of my sorrow, pouring tears of ink onto paper. And for a little while, I could let my emotions rest," shares Peckinpah.

Whether it's pouring yourself into your family or into a journal, there's one thing for sure: Grief is not a one-way street. Grief is a twisting, never-ending highway with exits and on-ramps and merging lanes and service roads.

Over time, your feelings of grief will subside or, at least, “feel less constant as if it's moved into the background of your emotions," Creagan writes. “But long after a death," he continues, “you may also find yourself caught off guard by a moment of profound grief, for example, on the anniversary of the death, during holidays or on your loved one's birthday."

In other words: You never know when the pain of your loss will hit you—or when you're even ready to move on.

And that's okay, bereaved parents. It's okay if you don't go “mad with grief"—and it's okay if you do. It's okay if you break down in your kitchen—and if you laugh at your friend's bad dad joke. Grief is not uniform.

But just remember: You don't have to walk this journey alone.

[A version of this post was first published February 12, 2018. It has been updated.]

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The woman who basically single-handedly taught the world to embrace vulnerability and imperfection is coming to Netflix and we cannot wait to binge whatever Brené Brown's special will serve up because we'll probably be better people after watching it.

It drops on April 19 and is called Brené Brown: The Call to Courage. If it has even a fraction of the impact of her books or the viral Ted talk that made her a household name, it's going to be life and culture changing.

Announcing the special on Instagram Brown says she "cannot believe" she's about to be "breaking some boundaries over at Netflix" with the 77-minute special.

Netflix describes the special as a discussion of "what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty" and it sounds exactly like what we need right now.

April 19 is still pretty far away though, so if you need some of Brown's wisdom now, check out her books on Amazon or watch (or rewatch) the 2010 Ted Talk that put her—and our culture's relationship with vulnerability and shame—in the national spotlight.

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown

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If Marie Kondo's Netflix show got people tidying up, Brown's Netflix special is sure to be the catalyst for some courageous choices this spring.

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Carrie Underwood and her husband, hockey player Mike Fisher, just welcomed their second child, little Jacob Bryan Fisher back in January, but as the face of a fitness apparel line, CALIA by Carrie Underwood, this mom of two is feeling a lot of pressure to get back in shape.

But she's recognizing that a lot of the pressure is coming from within herself, and so she's giving herself grace and time in her postpartum fitness journey, as it hasn't been as easy to meet her fitness goals as it was after her first pregnancy.

"As I was working out today, I realized that for the past 11(ish) months, my body has not belonged to me. It was a perfect home for Jacob. And even now it belongs to him every time he drinks his milk," she wrote in a recent Instagram post.

"I promise to stop analyzing every angle and every curve and every pound and every meal. I'm going to keep staying the path because it is a journey and as long as I'm always working towards my goals, one day I'll reach them. I'm going to take it day by day, smile at the girl in the mirror, and work out—because I love this body and all it has done and will continue to do!"

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Her words are inspiring, and so is her track record as a mom who cares about fitness, but cares about connecting with her family even more.

Back in 2018, before Jacob was in the picture, Underwood posted pics of her oldest, then 2-year-old Isaiah on Instagram, trying to work out with mom and dad. He uses a resistance band with his mom and tries push-ups with his dad, hockey player Mike Fisher. "My boys make workouts fun (and a bit less productive, but that's ok)! #staythepath" she wrote in her post.

It's totally okay to want to get back in shape after having a baby, but it's not okay to beat yourself up for being human. Pregnancy and birth transform a woman's body, and we cannot expect ourselves to run as fast as we did before or fit into our old jeans right away.

As Tone It Up co-founder Katrina Scott said on a recent episode The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, "We need to change the conversation with everyone and with ourselves and realize how cool it is that our bodies are different."

It's clear that Underwood is changing the conversation in her brain, and by sharing her thoughts with her 8.4 million Instagram followers she's also changing the way her community thinks about postpartum recovery.

Thanks for your honesty, Carrie.

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