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Babies For Parents Uncategorized

Breastfeeding mums – Tips for Pumping at work

Transiting from maternity leave to return to work can be stressful for moms, especially when it comes to the logistics of pumping breast milk at work.

Getting your breastfed baby comfortable with bottle-feeding

One of the most stressful concerns for a working mother returning to work is whether your baby will take to being fed by his caretaker. This is often a key concern for mums who exclusively latch their babies, and babies who have refused bottles or hardly drink from milk bottles.

If mum needs to be away from your baby, let a trusted caregiver feed your child with expressed breastmilk in a bottle.

To counter this, after your milk supply has been established and baby does not have nipple confusion, it is a good idea for other caretakers (for example, baby’s father and other family members) to start bottle-feeding (here are things to prepare for bottle feeding for reference!). There are babies who may not take to bottle-feeding (have you heard of these bottle feeding myths?) and it is best to find solutions or alternatives before heading back to work.

Communicate your breastfeeding needs to colleagues

Before you return to work, it is a good idea to inform your Human Resource colleague or team mates about your need to express breastmilk during working hours. This would give them a heads-up that you will need to take some time during the day to pump, and most people would generally be understanding of a new mother’s needs.

To ease your transition back to work, have a casual chat with your boss and/or colleagues about the need for you to express breastmilk during working hours.

You may want to fill your colleagues in on the duration, or even general logistics of your pumping sessions so that they have some understanding before you commence on your pump sessions at work.

Scheduling pump sessions during the work day

Before you return to work, it is important to be aware of how long you can go without a pump session, while maintaining sufficient breast milk for your baby. With this knowledge, you will be able to estimate how often you will need to express breast milk when you return to work. However, having said that, you may have to pump within a limited time at your work place and may need to lengthen the interval between each pumping session.

Examine a regular workday and first find pockets of time that you could possibly fit in a pump session. For example, you can choose to express milk before you leave for work, during lunchtime and after work. If that already works for you, great, if not, you can make adjustments depending on the nature of your job.

Prepare yourself mentally for the pumping sessions at work

It is not uncommon for breastfeeding mothers to experience a dip in breast milk due to the stress of transitioning back to work and maintaining your breast milk supply. (Here are other reasons why breast milk may dip as well)

In such situations, breastfeeding mums may try out breast milk inducing foods (here are 5 of them!) or even have a few favorite photos of baby on hand to help you stimulate letdown during your pump sessions.

Wearing breastfeeding-friendly clothing that enables pump sessions

We often have to maintain a professional image at work and the usual nursing wear or breastfeeding friendly clothing may or may not work in this setting. To counter this, you can get the following types of clothing that may be both work and pumping appropriate, the best part is that you may already have these in your wardrobe:

  • Button down tops or dresses
  • Zip front tops or dresses
  • Flared tops
  • Wraps / Tie front tops or dresses

Wear work-appropriate outfits that allow you to pump milk easily without fuss.

Tips for working mum who needs to pump

  • Breast pump

Some breast pumps need to run with power from an electrical socket while others can operate just as well on battery.  You may want to pick a portable, powerful breast pump that allows you to pump even on the go as this will come in useful if you need to schedule pumping sessions in the car or while travelling for work.

Some breast pumps allow you to be hands-free while you are pumping and you will be able to still work while having your breast milk expressed.  If you can, keep a set of breast pump accessories at work to eliminate the situation where you forget to pack them to bring to the office.

Tip:Did you know that if you leave your pump parts in an airtight container in the fridge, you will be able to use the equipment to pump throughout the day without having to wash them? This is because breast milk can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days, hence a few hours interval will not cause the breast milk on your equipment to turn bad or affect the quality of the milk collected

  • Milk bags

Pick milk bags that are BPA-free and lock securely. Once you are done pumping into a milk bottle attached to your pump, you can very carefully transfer your breast milk into the bags and lay them flat in the freezer or refrigerator in your office pantry. Freezing milk bags flat allow you to easily store more milk within a limited amount of space.

Tip:Keep spare milk bags in the office for times when you might have forgotten your milk bottle, or even your breast pump. At the very least, you will be able to hand express some of your breast milk.

  • Cooler bags / Ice packs

Transporting your precious milk does not have to be stressful.  You can either transport them by placing them in between ice packs alternately within an insulated bag, or, buy one of the freezer bags that comes with build-in ice packs. Both types of bags are available at baby care stores in Singapore.

With these tips on hand, we hope that you are now more well prepared to transition back to work while continuing your breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding working mums, how did you manage transit back to work while providing breast milk for your babies? Share some tips in the comments!

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For Parents Toddlers

Parents Share: How to Prepare Kids for their First Dental Visit

Parents are often unsure of when to bring their child to the dentist, and some wait until all teeth have erupted.

 

However, it is recommended that the first dental visit start from the moment the first tooth has erupted, and no later than one to two years of age. As with adults, children should visit the dentist once every six months, or more frequently if there is a dental issue.

 

Let’s find out how parents in Singapore made the first dental visit for kids less scary– with helpful tips for other families too!

 

Your child’s first dental visit doesn’t have to be as scary as you imagine!

 

#1: Search for a paediatric dentist

Mothers Jessie Pek and Larissa Sim agree that finding a good paediatric dentist is half the job done, as the experienced dentist would know how to manage kids better and deal with any fear that the child may have about having their teeth checked.

 

Jessie’s son was less than three years old when he went for his first dental appointment and the visit turned out to be surprisingly pleasant.

 

“There was a small decay, so the dentist suggested filing without polishing or washing other teeth to keep the visit short. After that, my boy has been okay with going for dental appointments”.

 

Larissa’s daughter encountered a bad experience at a generalist dental clinic as the cubicles were not soundproof and the cries and screams from another cubicle traumatised her greatly. Since then, she has switched to a private paediatric dentist.

 

Evonne Wong, mum to a three-year-old daughter, shares that her experience with a paediatric dentist was much better compared to the first time as the dentist was gentle. Her daughter reacted so positively to the dentist that “she will look for him whenever food is stuck between her teeth”!

 

#2: Familiarise them with the process

As there is fear from the unknown, children(and perhaps, some parents too!) tend to over-imagine things and scare themselves over the first visit to the dentist. The trick is to show them that it’s not so scary as they imagine! When explaining, keep it factual and avoid adding in emotions.

 

Mummy Larissa suggests reading a lot of books and showing videos of toddlers at the dentist, preferably those that feature dental tools and patients younger than your child to familiarise them with the process.

Use non-fluoride kids toothpaste for your child until they learn how to spit.

 

#3: Maintain healthy oral hygiene

Maintaining healthy oral habits on a daily basis is the key to preventing dental caries from forming in the mouth. Introduce the concept of brushing teeth with non-fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals and before bedtime. Reinforce to them that the cleaner their teeth are, the lesser time they will have to spend at the dentist’s clinic.

 

If your child is able to spit, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, as it is the key ingredient to keeping teeth squeaky clean.

 

For strong, healthy teeth, ensure that your toddler takes in essential nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D through breastmilk and/or formula milk to support healthy teeth and gum development.

Parents can help children handle their first dental visit like rockstars!

 

#4 Be Positive

Mum Dandan Liang chooses to explain the positives of visiting the dentist to her son and it worked as her son’s first dental visit was a breeze. She took her son to the dentist as she was worried about some shadow on his front teeth. Before they entered the room, she described what the process would be like and what he needed to do.

 

“I told him that he had to open his mouth so the dentist could check what was wrong with his teeth and make it white again”, she adds. The experience went better than expected as the dentist fashioned a balloon with a smiley face out of a latex glove as a gift for her son.

 

#5 Expect the Unexpected

As the popular saying goes, “Expect the Unexpected”. There was no time for Mummy Jessica Lu to prepare her son, as his first visit to the dentist was an emergency when his sister knocked his front tooth loose. Surprisingly, her son remained calm and the dentist managed to save his tooth.

 

How was your child’s first visit to the dentist like? Do share your tips on making your child’s first dental trip a fearless one!

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Baby’s brain development & milestones: 1 – 3 years old

From one to three years old, your baby will learn at an exponential speed to pick up skills such as walking, running, jumping, self-feeding, self-dressing and communication, to name a few.

Children grow at different rates and this list of developmental milestones is intended to serve as a general guide to how children at this age could possibly progress. If your child is premature, use their corrected age instead!

 

1 Year Old Development and Milestones

Your baby is likely to start walking from or about the age of one year old, which also marks the start of his toddlerhood. At this age your child starts to be more mobile and takes his first steps towards verbal communication.

At one year old, your child is still very much attached to you and loves to have your presence in the same room.

 

Kid’s Milestones at One-year-old

According to the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), these are the milestones your child may achieve in his first year:

  • Able to pull to stand and sit on his own
  • Able to walk with help or on his own
  • May run unsteadily in the later part of the first year
  • May walk up stairs by holding on to railing in the later part of the first year
  • May self feed with a spoon and a cup
  • Copies scribbling
  • Flips through a book many pages at a time
  • Points with index finger
  • Able to identify one or more parts of the body
  • Picks up small objects with his fingers
  • Responds to own name
  • Understands some simple words and commands
  • Able to say a few words apart from “mama” and “papa”
  • Able to drink from a cup
  • Copies the behaviour of others
  • Waves hi and goodbye
  • Able to remove some clothing items
  • Experiences separation anxiety
  • Feels attachment to a toy or object
  • Feels separation anxiety and may be clingy

 

Activities to support your toddler’s development

  • Read picture books daily and allow your child to flip the pages
  • Sing with your child
  • Ask your child to locate and name objects and parts of the body for you
  • Play shape sorting games and simple puzzles
  • Talk to your child and expose him to some new vocabulary occasionally
  • Allow your child to help with dressing up
  • Encourage self-feeding
  • Respond positively and explain desired behaviors to your child
  • Explore different places with your child to encourage his curiosity in objects and environments

 

Two Years Old Development and Milestones

We’re sure you’ve heard about the terrible twos! The 2nd year of your child’s life is an age of testing boundaries and exploring their now stable mobility. This is one of the most physically tiring stages for parents but also the time you get to watch them connect with their outside world rapidly through different ways.

Terrible Two’s may be a difficult phrase, but this too shall pass!

 

Toddler’s Milestones at age two

Here are some milestones your child may be hitting in his second year:

  • Walks on his own.
  • Gets up without assistance.
  • Able to run
  • Navigate stairs by walking up and down with two feet
  • Able to kick objects
  • Climbs onto and down beds and sofa without help
  • Able to build cube tower of six
  • Turns pages of a book one at a time
  • Make unrecognisable markings on his or her own
  • Self dress without help
  • Has bowel and bladder control by day
  • Able to inform others about their needs (e.g. thirst, hunger, toileting)
  • Speak in sentences and has a vocabulary of around 50 to 300 words
  • Recognises body parts
  • Observes details in photographs and pictures
  • Calls himself by his own name
  • Responds to two-step instructions
  • Tries to behave like adults and older children
  • Imagines scenarios for play
  • Defiant and throws tantrums often to explore boundaries
  • Explore new things, taste and textures
  • Wants to do things on their own

 

Activities to support development your two-year-old

  • Read picture books with simple single words
  • Sing with your child
  • Engage in pretend play with your child
  • Name and show objects which they are exposed to daily, include conversation on its colour
  • Encourage your child to walk, run, jump and climb and teach safety
  • Provide opportunities for your child to self-feed and self-dress.
  • Provide attention and praise when your child shows positive behavior
  • Teach acceptable ways to show emotions
  • Provide opportunities and encourage playing with other children

 

3 Years Old Development and Milestones

Sooner or later, the third year of your child’s life will transition into a relatively calmer period as compared to his 2nd year. Your child will now enter a period of greater independence in mobility, self-help and communication. It’s getting more fun with your bubba!

At three years old, you can look forward to a calmer time!

 

Milestones for 3-year-olds

Your active “threenager” is growing up really quick! Here’s a guide on the milestones for three-year-olds:

  • Able to stand on one foot for a short time
  • Capable of navigating stairs without assistance, one foot on each step
  • Able to ride a tricycle
  • Has good control of the pencil, able to draw circle, cross and man
  • Able to build cube tower of 8
  • Able to string large beads and cut paper with scissors
  • Able to recognize common objects and pictures and categorize them simply
  • Speaks in sentences of three to four words and has a vocabulary of a few hundred words
  • Able to comprehend the concepts of “he”, “she”, “mine”, “his” and “hers”
  • Asks a lot of questions
  • Often talks well enough for strangers to understand
  • Knows own name, age and gender
  • Dresses and undresses self with little help
  • Able to self feed
  • Has bowel and bladder control by day, in more advanced children, sometimes by night as well
  • Separates more easily from caretakers
  • Seeks approval and acceptances from adults
  • Shows affection, concern and interest in others without prompting
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Imagines scenarios for play
  • Highly energetic

 

How parents can support your toddler’s development

  • Read and talk to your child to encourage conversation and learning
  • Listen to your child to make them feel valued
  • Arrange for play activities for working on their gross and fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination
  • Provide plenty of outdoor activities to encourage exploration and help develop motor skills
  • Encourage and praise efforts, as opposed to outcomes, to boost their confidence in trying new things
  • Provide plenty of outdoor time with ample rest

 

Remember to consumer essential nutrients that support growth from 1 to 3 years old

Other than activities to support the development and growth of your child, they also need to receive adequate nutrition by having a balanced diet.

In fact, there are superfoods you can offer kids to supercharge their diet with nutrient-rich food options. Besides solids, breastmilk and formula milk for babies and toddlers help to provide nourishment to support children’s needs.

 

Which baby milestones are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Babies Health & Nutrition

How to Make Vegetable Purees for Babies

Starting your baby on solids is a fun and exciting journey!

Most babies are ready to start at around 6-months old, and it is essential to ensure that your child can sit upright with minimal support to reduce the risk of choking.

During the initial stages of traditional weaning, babies are typically spoon-fed with soft food such as purees.
In contrast, Baby Led Weaning allows your child to self-feed, and purees are skipped. However, the method of making purees lets parents create pasta sauces, dips and soups for their little ones too, so baby’s food menu can creatively include a variety of baby-friendly food.

Making homemade purees is easy, and provides a wealth of fresh nutrients to your growing child. Busy parents may also prepare them over the weekend and freeze them in bulk so that the weekday caregivers can conveniently defrost and heat up the purees before mealtimes. This saves time and makes having homemade food quick and easy too.

With some simple steps, babies can enjoy healthy and nutritious vegetables purees in their diets

 

Guide to making vegetable purees

Vegetables are great options to start with for their neutral flavours and are favoured for their naturally sweet taste. Follow these simple steps to make your baby’s vegetable purees.

Step 1: Wash and cut vegetables into smaller chunks (if necessary)

Step 2: Steam or boil them

Step 3: Mash them with a fork and add water into the mixture to achieve desired consistency.
Alternatively, put them in a food blender or food processer to blend.

To freeze and store purees, ensure that freshly-made purees are cooled before transferring them to air tight freezer-safe containers. Avoid putting them next to raw food to reduce the risk of cross contamination. Don’t forget to label them with the date it was prepared.

To defrost the frozen purees, leave in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. You may also submerge the jar of frozen food in a bowl of hot water prior to mealtime. Warm up over stove before feeding baby, and check the temperature before offering baby with heated purees.

 

Select fresh vegetables from the wet market or supermarket, and prepare homemade vegetable purees for your baby easily.

 

What vegetables should I use to make purees?

Most readily available vegetables at the supermarket can be used to make baby’s purees.

Experts recommend offering a range of colours so that your child obtains different vitamins and minerals across the food chart.

Some parents prefer to start with the blander tasting vegetables before progressing to the sweeter ones. Vegetable purees can include potato, spinach, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, lentils, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini and beetroot.

 

Starting on solids is a new adventure, so do expect a little mess. It’s all part of the eating experience!

Tip: Let your baby try out a new food for three days and observe for any allergy reaction before starting on the next one. If your family history includes food allergies, or if your baby has food allergies, do consult your child’s paediatrician before introducing your baby to a new food.

After tasting these single flavoured vegetable purees, you may like to mix them up for your child to experience new flavours! After all, trying out new food is part of eating which allows children to explore new tastes and encourages their physical developmental milestones too. Support your child’s healthy development by starting with the right nutrition in their diets. Have fun raising curious and happy world-ready children!

Do you offer homemade vegetable purees to your babies? Do share what your child’s favourite first foods are!

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Is it Dangerous for Babies to Sleep with a Bottle at Bedtime?

Sucking is a primitive reflex for your baby that not only helps them to eat, but also has a soothing effect to help calm your baby down. This is probably why some babies might have developed the habit of a nightcap just before bedtime, right in the comfort of their own beds.

 

Why it is dangerous for babies to sleep with their bottles?

If your baby falls asleep with the bottle, milk might flow out and choke him accidentally. Small amounts of liquid could also find their way down your baby’s air path and settle in the lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory problems. There could also be instances where milk drain down his ear, predisposing him to a middle ear infection.

Some babies may be allergic to teats made from latex. Symptoms include hives, itching, stuffy or running noses. Latex allergy can also cause asthma symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and breathing difficulties. (here’s how to choose the right teat for baby)

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics sucking a bottle for naps and bedtimes is associated with an increased risk of SIDS.

In any case, formula or breast milk needs to be thrown away after one hour. Leftover milk in the milk bottle might already be contaminated if baby should wake up from sleep and decide to continue drinking the milk.

 

Instead of suckling on a bottle to sleep, try other methods such as allowing your baby to self-soothe by putting him in his bed when he displays signs of sleepiness.

 

Sleeping with a bottle at bedtime is not encouraged because…

Using the milk bottle like a pacifier during nap and bedtimes may affect the growth and development of your baby’s jaws, tongue, facial muscles and alignment of teeth, which may, in turn, affect your baby’s appearance, speech and chewing.

If your baby is teething, sugar in milk will cause tooth decay in your baby’s mouth. Always make sure to clean your baby’s teeth before they fall asleep.

Your baby could also be laying in bed all night long with wet liquid against their skin and the milk could irate your baby’s skin, causing rashes, or some other skin issues.

 

How to quit sleeping with a milk bottle

It would be very difficult to teach baby not to associate the bottle with sleep when they are older at around 15 to 18 months. If your baby already falls asleep with a bottle at bedtime, it is best to help baby wean off the habit for both safety and practical reasons.

Here are two methods, which you might want to try:

 

To rid the habit of your baby having a bottle at bedtime takes time and plenty of patience, mummies.

 

  • Dilution method

 

Gradually the contents of your baby’s milk bottle with water by about 10 to 20 percent each day, until the bottle contains only water. In all likelihood, he will lose his desire to have a bottle of water over time. There is still a choking and infection risk although the bottle will eventually contain only water, so do make sure to remove it before your baby falls asleep.

 

  • Give adequate warning and stop altogether

 

Let your baby know approximately 3 to 5 days ahead that you will be stopping bottle use at bedtime. You can remind him a few times each day so that he will be aware of the situation. Stop giving your baby the bottle on the chosen day and impress upon him that that is to be the way moving forward. Your baby will likely be upset with this arrangement but persevere and assure him that you love him dearly.

 

Alternatives to sleeping with a milk bottle

If the milk bottle is used for soothing your baby to sleep, you can turn to other soothing activities to help your baby calm down before bedtime (here are some tips and tricks on getting babies to sleep!). For example, you can give baby a calming massage with baby friendly oils, snuggle with your baby or read his favorite book. Alternatively, you can show him how much of a grown up baby he is for drinking milk from a cup.

Encourage your toddler to drink milk from a “big boy’s cup” instead of using his bottle.

 

You are likely to encounter resistance, but build a new, loving routine with your baby. Over time, he will get over his habit of sleeping with a bottle.

Are you trying to transition your child away from drinking milk from a bottle at bedtime? Do share if you have been successful in your attempts.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pregnancy week 37 – 40: Is Baby Ready to Be Delivered?

Oh wow, you’ve made it to Week 37! This means you’re in the last leg of your pregnancy and baby will be arriving shortly!

 

With a newborn on its way, have you gotten most of your baby essentials yet?

 

Week 37: Durian

Your baby is now about the size of a durian! He is between 45 and 53cm long and weighs around 2.7kg to 3.2kg.

From week 37 onwards, your baby is considered “full term” and has a high chance of viability as compared to the earlier weeks.

This week, your baby already has hair of up to 3.5cm and will start shedding languo, the fine hair that he is covered in. He will roll, stretch and wriggle more often, and likes to suck on his thumb. Baby will also stimulate breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid.

During this period of your pregnancy, it is time to be aware of the changes within your body. If your baby has his head turned towards your pelvic bones, you may experience increasing discomfort due to his weight. Vaginal discharge, which comes in the form of thin, white fluid, is not uncommon and is thought to help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. However, if the discharge looks or smells unusual, give your gynaecologist a call. Any vaginal bleeding should also be assessed early by your doctor.

Pregnant mums should stay hydrated to ease your fluid retention, contrary to myths. There are massages you can learn to do for yourself to stretch your perineum to try and avoid an episiotomy or tearing. This is also a good time to pre-register at the hospital to have an easy check-in experience and also to communicate often with your partner about your feelings towards this life-transforming chapter if you haven’t.

With the last pregnancy trimester, that means your baby will be with your little family very soon!

 

Week 38: Jackfruit

Your baby is now the size of a jackfruit! He may also weigh between 2.9kg to 3.4kg and measures 50 to 58cm long.

Your baby’s gut (digestive system) now contains meconium – the sticky green substance that will form your baby’s first poo after birth, which might include bits of lanugo (fine hair) and vernix, which he was shedding last week. His brain and nervous system are being fine-tuned and his lungs are producing surfactant, a substance that prevents the lung’s air sacs from sticking together when he takes her first breaths.

At 38 weeks pregnant, the pressure of baby’s bead on your bladder is more than ever and you will likely be visiting the bathroom more often. Some mums may also experience diarrhea. This is the period to watch out for the discharge of your mucus plug, also known as a “bloody show”. You may experience Braxton Hicks (which are often mistaken as contractions) more frequently and intensely, which indicates that labour is not far off – stay calm and practice your breathing techniques.

It is common that many mums give birth to their little ones from week 38 onwards, so be prepared with your hospital bag and make any arrangements required for the care of any older children. This is also a good time to discuss with your partner on how he can support your breastfeeding journey. New parents, how prepared are you for your baby’s arrival?

 

From 37 weeks, your baby is considered to be full term during this pregnancy.

 

Week 39: Pumpkin

Your baby is now the size of a pumpkin and may be ready to meet the world any time now! He may weigh between 3.1kg and 3.6kg and can measure between 53 to 61cm.

Your baby is full term by now but, especially true for firstborns, your baby is fashionably late although he is all ready to be born. By this week baby has a layer of fat coating to help regulate his body temperature after birth.

By week 39, mummies and daddies are playing the waiting game. Your body prepares for labour and you can look out for indications such as dilation, the “bloody show”, water breaking, strong as well as regular contractions, which are often accompanied by backache and diarrhea.

 

Week 40: Medium Watermelon

By week 40, your baby is fully grown and is about the size of a medium watermelon. He may weigh between 3.3kg and 3.8kg by now and can measure 55cm to 69cm long.

Your baby might not have realized that he is ready to be born. Having had more time to grow, he might be larger than other newborns but he will send hormones to the placenta to trigger labour once he is ready to be born.

By this week, if you’re not scheduled for a cesarean, there is nothing much mothers can do except to take slow walks or do some light exercise suitable for pregnancy at this stage to help prepare your body for labour. The pressure of baby’s weight on your cervix will help to thin and open it up for your baby’s birth. Due to the weight of the baby, some mothers might experience intermittent shooting pains that start from the lower back or hip and down your legs. These pains usually go away, but if it gets worse, consult your doctor to make sure that nothing else is going on.

 

How are you feeling during this last leg of your pregnancy? Are you ready to welcome baby? Let us know in the comments!