• Getting an au pair for your baby is a major step. Unlike nannies, au pairs are like temporary family members who will be providing live-in childcare assistance. The most unnerving part of welcoming an au pair in your home is that you don’t know them well. Moreover, the biggest challenge is to make them comfortable to develop a harmonious relationship. Therefore, while seeking the services of an au pair childcare agency, ensure that you avoid the following mistakes:

    • Overlooking the agency’s credentials Your first job is to find a reliable au pair childcare agency. Make sure that the agency is accredited by respected organizations. Furthermore, inquire how they review and select the prospective au pairs. Likewise, understand how they match au pairs and families together. Crisis management is crucial when it comes to au pairs, therefore, probe on how they have handled any form of problems in the past. Since au pair services require a hefty investment, don’t forget to get a clear picture of all the costs involving the application, program, and weekly stipends.
    • Not thoroughly assessing the au pair’s application The au pair childcare agency will send you the application of the au pair you are interested in. So, scrutinize it and look for important details. For example, if you are expecting the au pair to drop and pick your kids from school, check if they have a valid driver’s license.
    • Not communicating with them You should insist on having a word with the potential au pair as it will allow you to get to know them and their expectations better. You can come to a consensus on things like everyday duties, weekly stipends, and know if they want to take up a language course during their stay. Therefore, if you like an application, ask the au pair childcare agency to set up a phone call or video chat with the au pair. It will also be a great opportunity to convey your hopes about this alliance and avoid any confusions later.

    Here are some popular au pair childcare agencies you can check.

    • The International Au Pair Exchange
    • Au Pair Foundation
    • Cultural Care Au Pair
    • Au Pair in America
    • Go Au Pair
    • Agent Au Pair
    • USAuPair
    • InterExchange Au Pair USA

    Cost of the au pair exchange program
    if you want to host an au pair, be mindful of the financial add-ons. These include non-refundable application and processing fees, program fees, a weekly stipend, language course fees and, an overall increase in your household expenses for a year. Usually, the program fees charged by the au pair childcare services come down to a minimum of $7,000 approximately. Furthermore, the minimum weekly stipend for an au pair is around $200 per week. Likewise, an English language course can cost $500 or above approximately.

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  • An au pair is an adult or a young adult aged between 18 and 30 years, who belongs to a different country and provides live-in domestic childcare for approximately 10 to 12 months. An au pair can play a role of an elder sibling for your children. You can find these individuals via au pair childcare agencies that ensure protecting the rights and interests of the involved parties. By the means of this exchange program, parents get a lending hand and reliable companion for their kids. Moreover, the au pair gets an opportunity to experience the country’s culture and learn its language.

    Au pairs are often compared to nannies. However, there are some major differences between the both such as:

    • Age limit Agencies facilitating au pair childcare services have certain age requirements, whereas while hiring a nanny, there is no such prerequisite.
    • Background check Au pair services make sure that they thoroughly review the prospective au pairs as well as their families to thwart exploitative activities. On the contrary, a potential nanny’s records have to be verified by the parents.
    • Working hours Au pairs are live-in caretakers but they have designated work hours that can be anywhere from 30 to 45 hours per week, which are agreed upon by both, the host family and au pair. Similarly, nannies have specific work hours, but they should abide by the country’s labor laws.
    • Nationality The au pair program’s objectives revolve around positive cultural experience. Therefore, the au pair is required to be of another nationality. On the other hand, parents looking for nannies preferably want a local resident.
    • Remuneration An au pair is supposed to receive a weekly stipend, which is usually around $200 a week. Likewise, a nanny receives a weekly or monthly salary that should meet the country’s minimum wage standards.
    • Education If the au pair wishes, they can take up a language course during their stay in the country. The host family is responsible for managing the required fees. Conversely, a nanny doesn’t require a language course. Likewise, the family isn’t accountable for any of their educational expenses.
    • Employee status An au pair is considered as a temporary family member and friendly companion for the kids, while a nanny is an employee who is supposed to look after the kids mostly while the parents are away. Since an au pair isn’t an employee they can quit any time they want.
    • Responsibilities The duties of an au pair are only restricted to childcare and some light domestic work. On the contrary, a nanny’s routine tasks will depend on the agreement between the nanny and the employer.

    The costs of au pair childcare services will vary across agencies. Typically, au pair childcare agencies charge a program fee, which can be between $7,000 and $9,000. These exclude the non-refundable application fees and minimum weekly stipend expenses.

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  • The arrival of a baby marks the start of a whole new time and phase in the life of a parent. This is a time when love and affection take a priority even as the logistics of raising a baby into adulthood will become the uppermost concern on everyone’s mind.

    There are several products that we tend to invest in, when a new baby is on the way. Starting from clothes to cribs and even baby strollers or prams, there are a number of things that make life easier when you have to handle a baby. It is imperative to invest in the right kind of products because handling the delicate infant is a matter of getting the position, posture and other such details correct so that the child and mother are both comfortable. For this, one will have to look into many details so that the products will actually help in taking care of the child. Here are a few tips on buying the best kind of baby stroller for your baby.

    Lightweight and easy to push
    One of the main things to remember is that you will need all your strength and both your hands at the same time for your baby. For a while, the new mother will not be able enjoy a hands-free existence unless the baby is sleeping. So, it would be best to invest in a stroller that is lightweight and easy to push rather than a very heavy duty stroller, which will cause discomfort for the mother.

    Brakes and other mechanics
    There are a number of mechanisms that have to be in place so that the baby stroller is safe to use. You will need to check the brakes and ensure that they work properly and are easy to apply. Also, ask for a demo at the store so that there is no confusion thereafter. Further, you can check for the guarantee or warranty on the stroller and find out what all it covers. Also, the wheels and other aspects should be checked properly. This is especially important so that your toddlers and older children are also safe in case they are walking beside you while you have the baby in the stroller.

    Expandable and foldable
    The average baby stroller today is one that can be expanded in terms of size and also folded so that you can easily stow the same when you are on the go. Ensure that these mechanisms work properly and check for the location of the levers so that the same is well out of the baby’s reach and grasp.

    Try and choose a piece that can later on accommodate a toddler as well so that you do not have to invest in a new baby stroller with the growing years. Do check whether the seat can be pushed upright so that the baby can easily sit up when he or she starts to sit.

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  • While traveling, to keep your baby safe and comfortable, you need a stroller. For buying a stroller you do not have to shell lot of money. You can find the best baby strollers at a decent price. Strollers come in various price range and offer different features. As new parents, you may be confused to make the right choice. Don’t get anxious. Our guide will help you to choose the right one for your child. Always buy a stroller that is certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).

    For newborns:
    You need a special baby stroller when you are travelling with your newborn. Until the baby is 6 months old, you need a carriage that can fully recline to support the infant.

    Travel system:
    Most of the first time parents prefer to go for a travel system that comes with a car seat and can snap into the stroller. Once the baby starts to sit up, the stroller can be used to move the baby around.

    Jogging stroller:
    For the new mothers who want to get back into shape immediately after delivery, jogging strollers are an excellent option. They have a sporty look and come with three wheels, making it easy to push while jogging. Do not buy this until you are very serious about jogging.

    Umbrella stroller:
    If your baby is older than 6 months, go for an umbrella stroller. It is very light weight and is perfect to carry while handling a toddler.

    How to buy the right baby stroller
    Before shopping for your first stroller, set a budget. It will make it easy for you to narrow down your choices. You can go for a super deluxe stroller from popular brands between the price ranges of $100 to $300 range. Things you need to test before making a purchase include the following:

    Make sure the stroller you are buying fits into the trunk or the back seat of your car.
    Ensure opening and closing of the stroller is easy.
    It should be convenient for you to lift and carry the stroller when it is open or folded.
    There should be enough storage room to fit the baby gear in the stroller.
    Check for cup holders and a snack tray.
    Ensure that you can adjust the backrest easily.
    Fastening and unfastening the harness should be simple.
    It must come with easy-to-use brakes and swivel lock mechanisms?
    The handle height and the grip should be comfortable for you.
    Warranty and return policy:
    The warranty offered by most manufacturers cover flaws and poor workmanship. It does not cover the malfunctions. If you happen to buy a defective baby stroller, you can get it replaced at the store where you bought it from. Buy a stroller from a store that offers long-term return policy and keep the packaging safe until you are completely satisfied with your purchase.

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  • Choosing the different items to bring up your baby in the best possible way is one of the most important things that every new parent must do. A crib, stroller, carrier, bath tub and other such items are some of the things that we invest in, when a baby is about to arrive. In most countries like the US, it is imperative to install a baby seat in the car and even have it checked before you take the baby home from the hospital. The crib and the stroller are also equally important, and they must be chosen and installed with great care for comfort and safety of the parents as well as the child.

    The crib is one of the most important things for the baby. This is the piece of furniture where the baby will spend maximum time, especially in the first three months of his or her life. Therefore, one must choose the same with care. Come and find out what all you must look at when you are choosing a crib.

    Safety: The wood must be soft and the textures must be smooth even as all sharp edges are rounded off and completely eliminated. This is one of the most important aspects while choosing a crib, because eventually, the baby will start to finger the rails and learn how to cruise around this space and even haul himself or herself up using the bars. Remember, this is not an expense, but an investment.
    Stability: This is another crucial detail that one must check and double check before buying a crib. Most cribs in the US and other such countries come with wheels attached to the legs. Therefore, you would do well to actually place a few items in the crib and check for any creaking sounds as well as the stability of the plank, which is to hold the mattress. Further, it is also important to check if there are any breaks that you can apply for these wheels so that the crib does not move and cause an injury once the baby starts to get up and lean against the bars of the same.
    Mattress: Another important fixture within the crib is the mattress. Now this is important because it will support the delicate spine and rest of the infant’s body while the child sleeps, sits, rolls over and bounces about. So, choose something like foam which will be soft yet sturdy enough to take the shape of the baby’s form and give much support. The growing child will need the best materials. Use mattress pads on the sides of the crib so that the child does not get hurt by the rails while rolling over and sitting up against the same. Also, the bedding should be soft and ideally made up of cotton and other such breathable textures. This will keep the child comfortable and also produces less risk of choking.

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  • The crib is the first place where you put your newborn to sleep at home. It is the best choice for your tiny one to sleep when compared to a bassinet, cradle or a bedside sleeper. When you plan to buy a crib for your baby, ensure buy a JPMA certified one. Our guide will help you buy the best piece for your baby.

    Buy the basic one:
    Just go for a crib that has no finials or scrollwork because sometimes your baby’s clothes may get caught in the details and hurt the baby. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has eliminated the drop-side models as they have been the cause of death of at least 32 infants. So the safest buy is the basic one that meets all the mandatory safety standards, has slat strength, structural integrity, and mattress support.

    Go for safety first:
    Never go for a used crib as it may not meet the safety standards. If you want to buy an old one, do not buy anything that is older than 10 years. Whether you are buying a new one or an old one, check for the spaces between the slats. It should not be wider than 2 3/8 inches. Also look for any edges that are sharp and bulging out nuts, screws, posts and knobs.

    Opt for a firm mattress:
    Do a safety check on the mattress before buying. Push it down with your hands to see if it bounces back firmly or not. Soft mattresses are one of the main causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the US. According to the Federal law, the mattress in a full-sized crib must be 27 ¼ inches wide and 51 5/8 inches long. And it should not be more than 6 inches thick. Make sure the mattress fits snugly in the crib. Also buy sheets that fit firmly to the mattress. If the sheets are loose and don’t fit tightly, there is every chance of your child being entangled to the sheet. Avoid putting stuffed animals in the bed with your baby because they act as suffocation hazards in the bed. Same is the case with bumper pads that come along with bedding sets.

    Tips for your baby’s safety:
    Put your baby to sleep on his or her back.
    Be sure to buy a crib model that has not been recalled by the manufacturer.
    Inspect the hardware and the screws regularly and tighten them if required.
    Once your baby starts pushing his or her limbs, remove the mobiles.
    Place the crib away from windows, drapes, blinds, toys, curtains to avoid any accidents.
    Keep the baby monitor’s cords away and out of reach.
    Once your baby learns to climb out of the crib, stop using it immediately.

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  • There are many different types of cells in the human body. One of the most important are the stem cells. These cells have the ability to morph into any other type of cell whenever required. They cells can be harvested from two sources a person’s bone marrow and a baby’s umbilical cord. While harvesting it form the bone marrow can be painful, harvesting stem cells form the umbilical cord does not harm the mother or the baby in any way. If the child happens to suffer from blood disorders or immune system disorders, these stem cells can be used to treat the child. LifeCell is India’s largest stem cell bank with over 12 years of experience in dealing with umbilical stem cells.

    Apart from being easy to harvest, there are many reasons why umbilical stem cells are preferred over bone marrow stem cells. Firstly to use stem cells to treat a patient, it must match a number of parameters. In the case of bone marrow stem cells, all six parameters need to be a match while in the case of umbilical stem cells, only 4 parameters need to match. Harvesting the umbilical cord also allows you to preserve the cord tissue, which is not possible in the case of bone marrow harvesting.

    What happens with the stem cells at LifeCell?
    Once the blood from the umbilical cord is collected, it is sent for testing to a lab. Here it is registered, tested for infections and checked for sterility and cell count viability. The stem cells are then separated from the cord blood and the cord tissue samples. The stem cells and the cord tissue are frozen at a temperature of -196 degrees Celsius so as to be preserved until needed. LifeCell is the only stem cell bank that gives you the opportunity of dual site storage facilities. What this means is that the stem cells harvested are stored in two different places so as to protect it from being destroyed by an unforeseen disaster.

    Umbilical stem cells can be harvested for only upto 10 minutes after the baby’s birth. Some of the reasons you should consider harvesting your baby’s umbilical stem cells are:
    The availability of Indian donors for stem cells is particularly low and there is already a very long waiting list for these cells.
    If stem cell treatment is required, a person’s own stem cells are the first line of treatment.
    Umbilical cord stem cells can be used to treat a number of conditions ranging from diabetes to autism and cerebral palsy.
    It can cost upto 20 lakhs to buy stem cells from a stem cell bank.
    Hence, though it may seem like a major investment, it is well worth saving your baby’s umbilical stem cells with LifeCell.

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  • LifeCell is one of the most important global names involved in stem cell banking. Stem cell banking involves the practice of collecting blood that is still leftover in the umbilical cord of the new born baby as well as the placenta so that it may be used in the future for medical treatment purposes. There are a number of reasons why this has emerged as a major and important practice after child birth. Come and take a look at the reasons why you should get cell banking done.

    What are stem cells?
    The basic building blocks of a human body have been categorized as stem cells, and they help in the effective development and functioning of various organs. These cells can repair and replace in order to treat certain life threatening diseases. This is especially helpful for immune diseases, which can be treated with the help of stem cells because they can repair and restore normal functioning of the damaged organs. The cells that are to be used for treatment will be harvested and then processed so that the repair functions can start.

    Why should you bank stem cells?
    The stem cells of your baby must be banked because it can help in transplants to restore the functioning of damaged organs. Also, it is important because it can also help in harvesting cells of rare ethnicity in case you are in a part of the world where you cannot find that ethnicity. This makes it very important so that any kind of disease can be fixed.

    Where do you find stem cells?
    The stem cells can be found in various parts of the body like the dental pulp, menstrual blood, bone marrow, fat cells and even the peripheral blood. This is usually concentrated in the umbilical cord, which needs to be harvested for repair and restoration of diseased organs.

    What is the potential of stem cell banking?
    There are over 500 clinics that have been registered under LifeCell. These clinics are authorized to conduct transplants and other therapeutic treatments. The procedure has already helped in conducting over 5000 transplants the world over. It has the potential to become a routine practice with the mere cost of banking the stem cells at the birth of a child. The probability of a person requiring a stem-celled based transplant has gone from 1 to 217 for the average person. This also increases the scope of this procedure.

    What is the probability of an effective treatment?
    The treatment has a high matching probability if the stem cell can be found for the right patient. The existing inventory has been raised to many hundreds of thousands of units as well, which makes it that much easier to find a match. Also, there is immediate availability of frozen stem cells so that people can avail the same in case there is an emergency.

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  • Many young women are troubled by this question, ‘Am I pregnant?’ after they have intercourse with their partner. If you are a working professional, then the fear of unwanted pregnancy will always nag you. Fortunately, you can undergo an online pregnancy test to determine whether you indeed are on the ‘family’ way.

    What exactly is an online pregnancy quiz or test?

    This test is not a replacement to the more common home pregnancy test. The OPT is a very simple tool to determine whether you are expecting or not. There are no injections, no swabs, and no urine samples involved in this test. You just answer a few online questions from the comfort of your home or your office.

    A typical online pregnancy quiz is free and does not cost a dime. You can take this quiz as many times as you want. Since the symptoms of pregnancy might change very frequently, you may like to take this quiz several times.

    There is no time duration either. You can answer these questions even while you are involved in other chores- domestic or professional.

    A typical online pregnancy test will ask basic questions like the kind of contraceptives taken, the duration and schedule of your menstrual cycle, your age and also whether you have taken a home pregnancy test or not.

    Please note that the OPT is not intended to replace the more elaborate home pregnancy test. It is possible that this test may indicate that you are pregnant while in reality you may be not. Please consult a doctor to verify the OPT results.

    Sample questions of the online pregnancy quiz

    Have a look at some of the questions that you may be asked;

    What is your birth control method?
    Is your period late?
    Are you feeling fatigued?
    Are your menstrual cycles regular or irregular?
    What is the frequency of your intercourse during your fertile days?
    Are you experiencing nausea?
    Are your breasts tender?
    Do you experience cramps in your lower abdomen?
    Do you experience any bleeding?
    Are you visited upon by unusual food cravings?
    What is the frequency of your urination?
    Do you experience constipation?
    When is your next period?
    Have you taken recently a home pregnancy test?
    Is your body temperature normal or elevated?
    How accurate are the OPT results?

    The online pregnancy quiz results are not 100 percent accurate. However, this test is an initial indicator of your pregnancy. You can use the results of this test to go and visit a doctor. The outcomes of this test are an indication of the levels of your reproductive health.

    The online pregnancy quiz is often a beneficial pregnancy probability test. Just use this test to calculate the probability of you getting pregnant. As we have said earlier, this test does not replace the more accurate home pregnancy test.

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  • Pregnancy is one of the best phases of one’s life. It is important to detect pregnancy at the right time so that one can have all the check-ups done and take the necessary precautions. Detecting pregnancy at the right time is a matter of calculations based on your last period and the missed one, as well as the signs and symptoms that come during the first weeks of pregnancy. Apart from a home kit that could test for pregnancy, you can also try an online pregnancy test to find out whether or not you are pregnant. Yet, you will still have to go through a physical test in order to find out whether or not you are pregnant for sure. Here’s how the online pregnancy test works.

    • Questions: The test asks you a series of 12 to 14 questions so as to detect your last period and what mode of protection you have been using like condoms, birth control pills and more. Also, the test will seek to find out your ovulation date by asking the first date of your previous period and also the cycle you have. You could have a 25 to 28 day cycle, which differs from woman to woman.
    • Symptoms: The test will also ask you questions regarding various symptoms that you may have been experiencing. These can range from a sudden aversion towards various kinds of food and nausea as well as vomiting. Also, bloating in the abdomen region and tenderness of the breasts for a period of a few weeks are considered as symptoms of early pregnancy.
    • Results: The online pregnancy will show you the probability of your pregnancy rather than confirming that you are pregnant. Whatever the result be, you will have to see a doctor or take a home based pregnancy test as well so that you can confirm the results. Sometimes, you may be suffering from bloating, pain and light vaginal bleeding as well as missed menstrual cycle due to reasons like an STD or infection. So, it would be best to have the same checked by a doctor too.
    • Other tests: You can also calculate other things online like your due date, the status of the pregnancy which will point at the size, weight and other dimensions and development stage of the fetus. Further, this kind of a test will help you in understanding which trimester you are in, and when your trimester dates are. Also, you can calculate the check-ups of your various trimesters so that you do no miss any. But before any of this, it is important to find out whether or not you are pregnant. Also, once it is confirmed that you are pregnant, you will need to then take ample care of yourself in emotional and physical terms so that you can have a healthy and comfortable pregnancy with a well-developed fetus.
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