Did you know that every baby is at risk for food allergies?
New research shows that every baby is at risk for food allergies regardless of family history — in fact, over 50% of children with food allergies have no family history. In addition, 1 in 13 children suffer from a food allergy today, and the rate of peanut allergies has tripled over recent years.
The idea of your baby developing a food allergy can be really scary, especially because of how dangerous they can be. Parents with a food allergic child can attest to the daily stress and challenges that come with a food allergy. Thankfully, findings from recent landmark studies on food allergy prevention have changed the way we view food allergies in children away from a place of fear and toward a focus on prevention. These studies show that a baby’s risk of developing food allergies can be reduced by up to 80% through early and frequent exposure to allergenic foods, starting as early as 4-11 months.
This new research on food allergy prevention is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming for parents of infants to know exactly how to follow guideline recommendations. Having a sitter introduce allergens to your baby can also be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn about our tips for making early allergen introduction easy for both parents and sitters!
The Basics of Early Allergen Introduction
In order to help reduce your child’s risk of developing a food allergy, according to the landmark studies and medical guidelines, parents must follow early and sustained allergen exposure by:
Starting Early: Introduce allergenic foods as early as 4-11 months.
Introducing One Food at a Time: Following pediatric guidelines, only introduce allergenic foods one at a time every few days to determine how your baby is reacting to each new food you introduce.
Sustaining Exposure: In the clinical trials, infants were continually exposed to allergenic foods 2-7 times a week for at least 3-6 months. Participants who continued exposure were able to maximize their chance of reducing the risk of developing food allergies.
Managing Dosage: The PETIT study suggested that a stepwise dosing method is best to maximize safety and efficacy. This means starting with a small amount of allergenic food, and then gradually increasing that amount over time.
Yikes. The basics of early allergen introduction don’t seem so basic after all. Once you add in the challenge of feeding a baby new foods and different feeding routines for every baby into the mix–whew! To help make this process as easy and seamless as possible for busy families and their sitters, Ready, Set, Food! has compiled a cheat sheet of tips on early allergen introduction.
Tips for Easy Allergen Introduction for Parents & Sitters
Find something that fits your baby’s feeding routine: Whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding, using formula, starting with purees, or following baby-led weaning, it’s important to find a way to introduce allergens to your baby. Note: there is a common misconception that breastfeeding is enough to introduce allergens, but unfortunately, there is inconclusive evidence that supports breastfeeding to prevent food allergies alone.
Start Early: Studies recommend starting as early as 4-6 months to align with an infant’s critical immune window. This window gives your infant the best opportunity to develop a positive response to new foods.
Pick the Right Time: Choosing the right time to introduce your baby to allergens is crucial. It’s important to talk to your pediatrician before introducing allergens, especially if your baby has severe eczema. Once you’re ready to start, make sure your baby is healthy and pick a time when an adult can watch your baby for at least 2 hours, just in case of a reaction.
Don’t give up! Babies are often picky eaters at 4-11 months of age, and it’s hard to get them to consistently eat enough of anything. It’s important to not only introduce allergenic foods, but to also sustain exposure multiple times a week for several months.
It’s safe to say that early allergen introduction can be quite the challenge! Between starting at the right time and managing dosage, all while introducing allergens in a way that matches your baby’s normal routine. That’s why Ready, Set, Food! created an easier way to follow medical guidelines on early allergen introduction. They make it as simple as adding a pre-measured stickpack of organic, non-GMO peanut, egg, and milk to your baby’s bottle or food once a day. Ready, Set, Food! takes the stress out of introducing allergenic foods to your baby, for parents and sitters alike.
Ready, Set, Food! makes early and sustained allergen introduction easy for busy families! For a limited time only, get $20 off your Ready, Set, Food! subscription use code: URBANSITTER20.
All health-related content in this article is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.
As luck would have it, there are oodles of St. Patty’s Day crafts to keep your kids happily entertained. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorites that are just right for little ones.
Simple St. Patrick’s Day Crafts for Kids
Rainbow Streamers A simple craft made from a paper plate, paints and tissue paper strips.
via Activity Village
Handprint Rainbow Kids’ handprints made in every color of the rainbow lead to a pot of gold.
via The Logan Family of Five
Paper Bag Leprechaun It’s double the fun when you turn a paper sack into a googly-eyed leprechaun who makes for a perfect puppet.
via Pin Inspired
Rainbow Necklace Buy a box of fruity O’s cereal and help your child string a rainbow (or make it leprechaun green) on a shoe string. You’ll have a fun project, cute necklace and a yummy snack.
via Eighteen 25
Shamrock Bouquet Here’s a craft that’s as much fun for Mom as it is for the little ones. Make an adorable bouquet of shamrocks using the handy template provided here, and you’ll have a happily entertained crafter and a cute centerpiece for the table.
via Sweet and Lovely
Paper Rainbow A simple craft for even the tiniest tots. Glue dots make it even easier and eliminate the mess.
via Scrappin’ Danielle
Leprechaun Green Oobleck If you haven’t yet played with the strange, non-edible substance called Oobleck, here’s your chance. Make a green batch!
Green Pepper Shamrock Stamp A green pepper easily becomes a shamrock stamp. Who knew?!
via Family Fresh Meals
Pot of Gold There’s a template for a shamrock and a pot, but we’re guessing you won’t need them to create this adorable pot of treasures.
via Play and Learn with Dana
Leprechaun Beard Love, love, love this DIY leprechaun beard you can make for a fantastic dress-up accessory.
via No Time for Flashcards
Search for crafty sitters on UrbanSitter.com! How will your family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Host a special tea party for favorite friends, real or imaginary.
A tea party takes snack time to a whole new level. Serve finger sandwiches spread with strawberry cream cheese or jam, cookies and tea, of course.
Share the love.
Load up your table with craft paper, doilies, foils, markers, crayons and paints to create homemade Valentines to deliver to Mom or Dad, a favorite sitter, and the grandparents.
Have a photo shoot.
This Valentine’s Day Photo Shoot will give you some good ideas on how to use props to mark the day. Try some fun props, such as a chalkboard, balloons, streamers, or candy.
Check out UrbanSitter’s Fun Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids. If you need more ideas, you’ll love Martha Stewart’s roundup.
Do you know an elderly neighbor or friend who might not have a Valentine to celebrate with this year? Make his or her day by delivering a bouquet of flowers and a homemade card.
Snuggle in for family movie night.
There are many cute Valentine’s Day movies for kids, including: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Ever After,” “Lady and the Tramp,” and a sweet compilation of some of Disney’s best couples – “Mickey & Minnie’s Sweetheart Stories.”
Tie on your aprons and whip up a special dessert to enjoy after dinner.
With temperatures reaching inhumane lows across the country, you or your sitter are likely trapped in the house with the kids and in near desperate need for new ways to keep them entertained. Save your sanity with these fun ideas for keeping little kids happy and engaged.
10 Creative Ideas for Entertaining a Toddler (in the dead of winter!)
1. Fill the tub or the kitchen sink! It’s time to bathe the toys, give the Barbies a spa day or host a car wash. If you really want to surprise your kids, hold the water and instead fill the tub with dried beans or rice and let them scoop and fill to their hearts’ content.
2. Build a slide or tunnel for toy cars to race down and under, using a piece of cardboard atop stacks of books or copy this creative masking tape roadway. Take it a step further with a DIY wasabi race track.
via Le Jardin de Juliette
3. Create a fort by draping blankets over chairs and other furniture, and pretend it’s a house, boat or a plane. The opportunities are endless. If your kids love forts, consider creating this no-sew teepee from The Handmade Home.
via The Handmade Home
4. Throw a dance party. Crank up the music and let loose. Get in on the fun and you can knock out your daily workout.
5. Brave the outdoors and create an ice skating party for dolls or action figures, a la the one by Happy Hooligans. She also has an ingenious post on making paint for painting the snow.
7. Toddlers love to push and pull things. Take a toy wagon or baby stroller outside and let them “mow the lawn” or plow the snow.
8. Taste test the art supplies!? Yes, break the rules and let them eat the paint with edible finger paints. You can stress less about the mess, since they are made with condensed milk. Super simple!
via Healthy Mama Info
9. Reminisce by going through family photo albums and watching videos made when they were “young.” Slightly older kids will enjoy the walk down memory lane, too. You can take it a step further by talking about their family tree.
Valentine’s Day is still a few weeks away, but if you hope to land a babysitter so you can celebrate without kids in tow, you’ll need to get a head start. Veteran parents insist finding a babysitter for Valentine’s Day is even tougher than scoring one for New Year’s Eve. Here are a few tips on how you can be sure to score a sitter for the big night (or day):
1. Start your search early. Now is not too soon!
You have to figure your sitter could likely land a hot date that night, too. If not, she’s bound to be bombarded with requests from parents who, just like you, would love to hand her the kids so they can sneak away for this romantic occasion. UrbanSitter makes it easy for both parents and sitters to connect by allowing sitters to post their availability well in advance, which gives parents the convenience of seeing who’s free and allows them to send an immediate job request.
2. Make your own holiday… another day.
If you can’t get away for the actual holiday, rest easy knowing you’ll have a much easier time securing a babysitter the weekend before or the weekend after the real holiday. Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, it’s pretty reasonable to choose the weekend before, or the Friday or Saturday after to celebrate. You’ll likely have an easier time scoring a dinner reservation at a hot spot, too!
3. Share the love.
This is a fantastic opportunity to share a babysitter. You can send your kids to a friend or neighbor’s house and have a beloved babysitter of yours or hers babysit the whole bunch. The sitter likely won’t charge twice her normal rate, but it’s nice to make it worth her while by paying a bit more for this popular night. If you offer a higher rate upfront, you might just entice her to accommodate your request regardless of her previous plans. And… there’s the added bonus of the night being extra fun for the kids, too. It’s a big playdate!
4. Be an Early Bird.
Who said Valentine’s Day has to be a romantic dinner? How about a lovely brunch together, or lunch after a round of golf or nice hike for two? Even if the babysitter has plans that night, she might be willing to help you out earlier in the day in order to earn some extra money.
5. Make it a romantic night at home.
If you are like most parents, the thought of having your own home to yourselves, sans kids, is too good to pass up. Have your babysitter take the kids out to an early movie and pizza (which might just be more fun for her, too) while you stay home and treat your Valentine to a homemade meal.
If your husband or wife likes to cook, let him or her share in the cooking and make it part of the fun. Otherwise, book the sitter a little earlier so you can prep and prepare. Don’t forget to chill a nice bottle of wine and light some candles so it feels like a truly special tête-à-tête, and not like just another meal at home. Here are a few favorite recipes that make the perfect feast for two:
Steak for Two Dinner: Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon, Creamed Spinach and Slow-Roasted Tomatoes rival the menu at your favorite steak house, but take surprisingly little time or effort to create.
Gooey Chocolate Cakes. Even if you aren’t a baker, you can pull these off, and no one will soon to forget! Top the rich chocolate with a scoop of ice cream and a handful of perfectly ripe berries. It looks and tastes like love on a plate!
Who is more deserving of a romantic break than two harried parents? Book a babysitter on UrbanSitter and don’t let Valentine’s Day pass you by!
We recently surveyed parents and most rank “decorating the tree” as their number one holiday tradition. While others rate visiting Santa, watching holiday movies and building a gingerbread house among their holiday must-dos. How is a busy parent to fit it all into a scant few weeks of holiday time? Take a look at these time-saving tips for planning, organizing and enjoying favorite family holiday traditions.
How to Save Time On Your Favorite Holiday Traditions
1. Decorating the Tree (and the house)
No more scrambling to find the time and choose a tree – pre-order from a local nursery, church or school selling Christmas trees. You’ll have the perfect tree, with your specifications, waiting for your pickup at a pre-arranged date and time. Some sellers will even deliver it to your doorstop.
Consider an artificial tree. While there are those who couldn’t fathom the thought of foregoing the real thing, there are plenty of converts who insist on a faux tree for many reasons, including the ease and speed of setting it up.
Determine how you want your decorated tree to look, whether it be a color scheme, a feel (old-fashioned or modern), or make a commitment to homey, handmade decorations. Having a look in mind will keep you from buying loads of unnecessary ornaments or stressing over how to decorate it.
Rely on Mother Nature to help decorate the rest of your house, too:
When you’re picking up your tree, buy an evergreen wreath for the front door and pick up some boughs or even just scrap cuttings to decorate the mantel, top an entryway table or tie to the banister.
Gather a few winter branches or sprigs of holly to plop into vases and jars for instant tabletop décor.
Have a fireplace? Why not stack a neat pile of chopped firewood indoors for a woodsy, wintery atmosphere. It’s nice to know a warm fire is at your ready.
Invest in sturdy, reusable containers for organizing your holiday decorations. Stores such as Target and the Container Store offer bins and boxes designed for strings of lights, fragile ornaments and wreaths. While it’s tough to add another expense to the already-stretched holiday budget, think of these organizers as a worthy investment. They will save you time and expense, keeping your decorations safe and making it faster and easier to decorate next year.
2. Visiting Santa
Do your homework and plan ahead to avoid wasting your day away in an unbearably long line for Santa:
Veteran, Santa visiting parents advise that you can find the shortest lines at a store when the venue first opens, during weekdays and early on in the season.
Lesser known or less popular locations for visiting St. Nick are often far less crowded than places like the Herald Square Macy’s in NYC. If you can’t give up the thought of seeing the Big Guy in the Big Apple, consider Santaland Express at Macy’s. Reservations are available up to 48 hours in advance. You can reserve using the Macy’s app on your smartphone (iPhone app/Android app) or in person at Macy’s Herald Square at kiosks located in the Cellar and 9th Floor.
Accept that no matter where you go, you’re most likely in for a long line. Be prepared with snacks and small toys to keep the kids entertained while they wait.
Consider sneaking a peek instead of sitting on his lap. Many places offering visits with Santa will allow you to get up close to the big guy without waiting in line if you’re willing to just sneak a peek and maybe get and give a little wave, instead of having a seat on his lap.
To hold your house together at the seams and keep the candy from falling off of it, use Royal Icing. Here’s the recipe from Simply Recipes.
Shop in advance for kid-friendly decorating tools and materials. Keep it simple by using these time-tested favorites: gum drops, candy candy, licorice strings, small lollipops, and peppermints. Buy more than you think you’ll need, since your builders will likely devour much of it before it ever makes its way to the gingerbread house! If you have tiny tots involved, remember that candy can be a dangerous choking hazard and small pieces should be avoided if little hands are involved.
With a little advance planning and expectation setting, these popular holiday traditions can be a wonderful way to enjoy the holidays with your children. By keeping it simple and relying on the helpful tips shared above, you’ll be able to focus on the fun and keep the stress and expense at bay.
UrbanSitter.com is always ready to meet your childcare needs – any season of the year.
Now is your chance to freshen up those good intentions and commit to making positive changes for yourself and your family. These simple, yet effective New Year’s resolutions will help to make 2019 a healthier, happier, better balanced year. We promise these are all totally doable – no Herculean efforts required.
5 Simple New Year’s Resolutions
1. Revive the commitment to providing your family with a healthy diet by starting with what you put in your own mouth.
Considering the way you take care of yourself and your health is likely to be the way your child lives, your commitment to health should start with your own diet. We often put our needs behind those of our kids: skipping breakfast to get everyone fed and to school on time, grabbing a lousy packaged sandwich for lunch, and sometimes simply eating what’s left on our kids’ plates for dinner. We need to become better nutritional role models for our children who are soaking up everything we do. Rather than trying to kickstart a major change, make small changes that will have a big impact on the entire family’s diet:
Breakfast should be mandatory. Build a staple of quick, healthy foods that require little time or effort to prepare. Check out our Pinterest board – Don’t Forget Breakfast – for ideas.
Add a vegetable or fruit to every meal. Experts say even a few bites makes a big difference in children, but aim for more – an average adult needs four servings of veggies and three servings of fruit every day.
Find easy, homemade recipes to replace packaged products. There are far better alternatives to boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen chicken nuggets or pizzas, and they can be just as quick and easy to get on the table.
Start making bigger batches of good food so you can pack leftovers for lunch or freeze for another night.
Make a weekly meal plan. Being prepared is half the battle – shop for what you need, give yourself a head start by prepping pieces of multiple dishes at once, and you’ll far less likely to resort to takeout or a packaged meal.
Get kids involved in meal planning, shopping and prep. They’ll be more likely to try new things if they feel they have a say in the matter.
Replace juice boxes with water or low-fat milk and consider kicking your own 3PM Diet Coke habit or five-cups-of-coffee mornings.
2. Become more vigilant about screen time limits.
There’s no taking back the Internet or denying that even young kids can derive some education and entertainment from the iPad, but we really should be more thoughtful about the kinds of media our children interact with and how much time they spend with them.
While it’s really, really nice to be able to plop kids in front of an episode of Paw Patrol while you make dinner, screen time can really start to add up. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. They advise parents to create “screen-free” zones at home, turn off the TV during meals, and to limit screen time to no more than two hours per day.
If we pull our kids away from computers and television, they will spend more time playing outdoors, reading, and using their imaginations in free play. It also bears reminding, be sure to spend the time getting to know the technology your kids are using, making sure parental controls are in place and know exactly what they are seeing and doing.
3. Find time to take care of yourself.
Regardless of employment status, we are all working parents. Few would argue that parenting is anything but a full-time, incredibly rewarding yet demanding job. We all deserve not one break, but a steady dose of them. Find a way to build personal time into your daily life and keep at it.
Make a deal with another parent to take turns caring for the kids while you workout or simply take care of responsibilities without the company of a child. Check your favorite sitter’s availability posted on UrbanSitter to find a time that works with your schedule and book her weekly or bi-weekly. If you and your spouse have some flexibility with your work schedules, make a deal that allows you each to come home early one night a week and take over kid duty while the other enjoys some personal time. If you’re not taking care of yourself, it’s pretty dang hard to take care of anyone else.
4. If you really want to make it happen, schedule—and commit to—family time.
Most of us would agree we’d like to spend more quality time with our families, yet it’s often an elusive wish. Despite our best intentions, we get caught up in day-to-day commitments and demands – free time to simply spend together just doesn’t exist, at least not as often as we may like it to. The solution is to become better planners.
Sit down with your family and make a list of places you’d like to visit or activities you’d like to do as a family in the New Year. Keep reality and your budget in mind, but let loose with the creativity. Once you have a good list of ideas – exploring a just-outside-of-town zoo or aquarium, sticking the baby in a backpack carrier for a family hike, spending a weekend afternoon at an indoor pool, or having family game night – get them on the calendar. If they are scheduled activities, you are far less likely to whittle your precious weekend away taking care of chores or splitting up to do your own thing.
5. Make your home a warmer, more nurturing environment that promotes creativity, literacy and fun.
This year, make it a priority to tweak your house to make it serve you and your family the best it can. A playful home will help your kids learn to play independently, foster creativity and learning, and help children become more self-sufficient, organized and even focused. While you might not be able to bust out the back wall to build a library or an indoor climbing wall, chances are you can make some small changes to make it easier for kids to play, entertain themselves, cuddle with you and a good book, or let loose with finger paints. See our post on super cool playrooms, reading nooks, art spaces and cozy spots to give you some inspiration. You’ll see it’s really pretty doable to create inviting spaces that entice kids to settle in with a book, dabble in a new hobby or maybe even take a little nap.
Whatever you commit to in the New Year, we hope your year is filled with an endless stream of happy, memorable moments with those you love and cherish. Happy New Year from your friends at UrbanSitter!
Did Halloween sneak up on you? Are you now realizing that it is less than a week away and your kids still don’t have a costume? We totally get it. Sometimes life happens and things fall through the cracks. Have no fear. We have pulled together our favorite kid’s costumes and the best part is, they are all available on Amazon Prime.
Looking for a reason to book a babysitter this weekend? Running out of date night ideas or getting bored of the same old date night routine? Have no fear Dallas parents. Not only can we help you find your dream babysitter but we also pulled together 5 fun ways that you can take your date night to the next level.
Who says dates can only happen at night? Reclaim your Saturday or Sunday and make it a date day that will get your endorphins going. From a kayak or canoe ride at White Rock Paddle Co. to a gorgeous hike on the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Trail, nothing elevates a date like some sweaty activity.
Dinner dates are cute but getting into the kitchen together to cook (something other than kid friendly food) is way hotter. Elevate your dinner date and check out these date night cooking classes at Sur la table.
3. Upgrade the classic movie date ✅
Sometimes the perfect date night is sitting in a dark movie theater enjoying a new movie and not having to say much. What could be better? Combining that with good food and cocktails. Enjoy new and classic movies, specialty cocktails and delicious food at Alamo Drafthouse.
Photo Credit: Alamo Drafthouse
4. Infuse date night with some adrenaline and adventure ✅
Parenting alone is quite the adventure but sometimes you need to throw a little adrenaline into the mix. What better way to bond with your parenting/romantic partner in crime than experiencing the rush of indoor skydiving at iFLY or tapping into your inner child at Altitude Trampoline Park.
Photo credit: iFLY
5. Get outside your comfort zone and try something new ✅
Trying something new and outside of your comfort zone can be a vulnerable bonding experience and a great way to elevate date night. Why not try learning how to swing dance or taking an improv class together? While you might not make the cut for Dancing With The Stars or be the new power couple on SNL, you will at the very least get a good laugh together and maybe walk away with some sweet new moves.
While deciding on the perfect date night may be a tough choice, finding the perfect date night sitter has never been easier. Find, book, and pay your date night sitter all in one place. Sign up for UrbanSitter today!
How to Turn Your Passion into a Successful Small Business
Presented by Lynn Perkins, UrbanSitter CEO & co-founder
Did you know there are more moms starting businesses today than ever before? It’s estimated that as many as one in three U.S. small business owners are moms. In fact, female entrepreneurs represent 39 percent of businesses in the U.S. and are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. economy, employing more than 9 million people and generating $1.7 trillion in sales.
Do you have an inspiration or great business idea and wonder what it would take to get started? In this workshop, Lynn Perkins, CEO and co-founder of UrbanSitter, will outline a step-by-step plan for evaluating your business idea, building your product or service, and ensuring a successful launch—all while balancing work, faith and family.
Lynn will share her first-hand experience and expertise having launched UrbanSitter in 2011 with two other moms co-founders. Their childcare service is now nationwide with over 1 million registered users. Lynn’s team has raised over $40M in venture capital funding—and even had babies while successfully expanding the business. Workshop topics will include:
Setting up a business entity
Taking on business partners
Securing business financing
Marketing your business
Acquiring your first customers
Landing great PR coverage
Juggling family, faith and a new business
About the speaker Lynn Perkins is CEO and co-founder of UrbanSitter, a mobile and online service that is reinventing the way parents find trusted childcare. Launched in 2011, Lynn grew UrbanSitter into a national marketplace in less than a year. To date, more than 3 million hours of babysitting have occurred on the platform across 60 cities. An Internet startup veteran, UrbanSitter is Lynn’s third startup experience. Lynn enjoys mentoring other entrepreneurs on the topics of fundraising, hiring and business strategy.