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There's a link between fathers' alcohol consumption and higher rates of birth defects, says new study

Potential fathers should stop drinking alcohol six months before trying for a pregnancy.

There's a link between fathers' alcohol consumption and higher rates of birth defects, says new study

For years we have been warned that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should not consume any alcohol for the sake of the baby's health, and now a new study suggests dads, too, should completely abstain from alcohol before trying to conceive.

The research was published this week in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and found an association between dad's drinking before conception and congenital heart defects (a common birth defect) in infants.

One of the study's authors, Dr. Jiabi Qin, says heterosexual couples who are trying to conceive should stop consuming alcohol long before the conception date. Qin says would-be-moms should abstain for a year before they start to try and potential fathers should stop drinking alcohol six months before trying for a pregnancy.

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Now, if your male partner (or you, if you're the male) had a couple of beers in the months leading up to your pregnancy, don't worry. According to Dr. Qin, the team, "observed a gradually rising risk of congenital heart diseases as parental alcohol consumption increased. The relationship was not statistically significant at the lower quantities."

Basically, if dad had a few drinks in the weeks and months before you got pregnant it's not a big deal, but if your male partner is drinking a lot while you're trying to get pregnant they may want to stop.

Dads, please don't blame yourself if your family is dealing with congenital heart defects (like we said, a couple beers is not an issue) but if you are trying to conceive it is important to know that a father's binge-drinking (defined as having five or more drinks per sitting) while trying to conceive is linked to a 52% higher chance of congenital heart defects.

The research doesn't show that the binge-drinking causes heart defects, only that there is a strong association between them. More research is needed but those behind the science suggest dads should stop drinking ahead of conception. "Binge drinking by would-be parents is a high risk and dangerous behavior that not only may increase the chance of their baby being born with a heart defect, but also greatly damages their own health," says Dr. Qin.

This makes sense, as we know that dad's preconception health can also have a significant effect on a baby's development. Previous research into the impacts of dad's diet and caffeine intake highlight the need for education and intervention for fathers, because making some healthy lifestyle changes preconception could lead to better birth outcomes.

For men who want to become fathers, understanding that their own lifestyle choices could improve birth outcomes can be empowering. Dad's diet, alcohol consumption, age and even stress levels can have an impact on the child. It truly does take two people to make a baby and we need to stop discounting father's genetic (and day-to-day) contributions.

Dads matter, and their health matters so much more than we understand. Guys, you may not be fathers yet, but you can already start taking care of your baby by taking care of yourself.

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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

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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.

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Balance board

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$75

Detective set

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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

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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

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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

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Vintage scooter balance bike

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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.

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Wooden rocking pegasus

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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

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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.

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Wooden digital camera

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Wooden bulldozer toy

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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.

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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

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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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