How Can You Tell If Your Child Will Have a Genetic Mutation?

It’s estimated that everyone carries between 5 and 10 genetic mutations in their DNA. While these mutations don’t always present obvious symptoms, it’s possible to pass them on to your children, even if you don’t have a family history of a particular disorder.

Whether or not your child is born with these genetic traits depends on inheritance factors, also known as genes. For each genetic trait, a child receives one gene from each parent. Although pregnancy is uncertain, learning about carrier genetics can help couples interested in starting a family determine their child’s risk of a genetic mutation.

Inheritance Factors That Cause Mutations

There are two different inheritance factors that can lead to the development of a genetic mutation: X-linked inheritance and autosomal recessive inheritance.

X-Linked Inheritance Disorders. X-linked inheritance disorders can be dominant or recessive. 

  • X-linked dominant disorders develop due to mutations of genes on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes (XX), while males only have one (XY). For a female to develop an x-linked dominant disorder, a mutation in one of the two copies of the gene must occur. To affect a male, a mutation in the only copy of the gene is necessary. Because of this distinction, males are also more likely to experience severe symptoms associated with x-linked dominant disorders than their female counterparts.
  • X-linked recessive disorders are also caused by mutations to genes on the X chromosome. However, because males only have one X chromosome (XY), just one mutation can cause a disorder. For an x-linked recessive disorder to affect a female, a mutation must be present in both copies of the gene (XX). This means males are also more likely to suffer from x-linked recessive disorders than females. 

Autosomal Recessive Inheritance Disorders. Autosomal recessive inheritance disorders develop when a person inherits two separate genetic mutations, one from each parent. If both parents are carriers – meaning that their DNA has at least one genetic mutation – then their child has a 25% risk of having an autosomal recessive inheritance disorder. Unfortunately, many carriers don’t know they’re at risk. This is because autosomal recessive traits typically don’t present any obvious signs or symptoms. In addition, autosomal recessive disorders tend to skip generations.

Types of X-Linked Inheritance Disorders

There are a variety of X-linked inheritance disorders. Some of the most common are:

  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Hemophilia
  • Red-Green Colorblindness
  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
  • Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy

Types of Autosomal Recessive Inheritance Disorders

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Cycle Cell Anemia (also known as sickle cell disease)
  • Tay-Sachs Disease

Testing and Learning More

If you’re thinking about starting a family, then you’re probably wondering whether or not your child is at risk of developing a genetic mutation. Genetic carrier testing provides a safe, effective means of answering this question. This screening procedure identifies between 3 and 110 hereditary disorders and involves a simple three-step process.

First, you visit your general practitioner or OB/GYN and have your blood drawn. Next, your sample is sent to a laboratory for further testing. A few weeks later, you visit your doctor for a follow-up appointment where your results are revealed. If it’s determined that you or your partner are a genetic carrier, then your doctor can answer any questions you have or refer you to a qualified genetic counselor.

How to Save Money Ahead of Having Kids

You’ve probably heard that it’s expensive to have kids. But do you know the true cost? Some estimates show that it costs the average family over $230,000 to raise a child to adulthood. That doesn’t even include the costs of sending them to college. Chances are, you don’t have that kind of money sitting around. While that number is certainly high, there are some things you can do to start budgeting for kids before you have them. 

Create a Budget

Budgeting is a good idea for anyone trying to save a bit of money. This is particularly true for individuals who are planning to be parents soon. There are two ways budgeting is going to be beneficial for soon-to-be parents. First, it’s going to save you some money before your baby arrives. But you’re also going to learn how to live a more frugal lifestyle, which will be essential to making things work once you have a kid.

Here are the steps you need to take in order to create a budget:

  • Get all your financial statements in one place. This includes anything that shows an account balance, or any kind of income or expense. Make sure you get everything, or else you won’t be able to create an accurate budget.
  • Total up your monthly income and costs. This will show you exactly where your money’s going and will give you an idea of how you can save more.
  • Distinguish between your constant and changing expenses. Constants are going to be things like rent or a mortgage payment. Changing expenses are spending money going out to eat—or even things like utilities if you use significantly more energy during certain months.
  • Find ways to cut out expenses to save more money. You’ll want to look at both your constant and changing expenses to find ways to save more. Try to limit the amount you dine out or consider cutting back on some of your subscriptions and memberships. You can also save by reevaluating your constant expenses. Consider downsizing to a smaller living space or getting a less expensive vehicle. 

No matter how much you decide to cut out of your monthly expenses, it’s important that you come up with a plan. Determine how much you’re going to need when the baby arrives and figure out the best ways to reach that goal. 

Try to Eliminate Your Debts 

You’re going to be hit with a lot of new expenses when you have a child. You can prepare for a lot of these, but many will also be entirely out of your control. Eliminating or lowering your current debts is one of the best ways to prepare for this increase in new costs. It’s a good idea to increase your debt payments when you figure out your budget.

If you have debt in the thousands or tens of thousands and are worried about how this will affect your future family, now is the time to start chipping away at it. Some consumers with extreme debt have found success through settlement. Debt relief programs like the one offered by Freedom Financial Network require enrollees to make monthly deposits into a designated account for months or years until they’ve saved enough. Then professional negotiators contact creditors, aiming to settle existing debts for less. Since these programs require some time to complete, it’s smart to start now so you’re squared away when your bundle of joy arrives.

Use Saving and Investing Apps

If you have a baby on the way, you need all the help you can get to put more money into your savings. A lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea of investing because it comes with a risk that you might lose money. However, when done correctly, it’s one of the most effective ways to save for the long term. There are now a ton of apps out there that help people invest their money for a very low cost. Stash is one of the most popular, as it comes with an extremely low cost—only one dollar per month if your account is under $5,000, and unlimited free trades. Wealthfront is another good app for people who want to start a college savings plan early. It offers a low-cost solution to helping people prepare for that big expense later in life.

Sell Your Unused Items

It’s a good idea to sell things you’re not using at a garage sale or online. This will instantly give you some extra cash that can either go to savings, paying down debts, or purchasing necessary items you’ll need for your baby. You’ll also be doing yourself a favor by making some extra room in your home. 

There’s a lot you need to think about when preparing for a child. While having kids is an expensive endeavor, starting to save now can help you pay for all those added expenses down the line.

Wonderful Ways of Bonding With Your Newborn

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The bond a parent has with their child is something special. You’re going to cherish this connection for as long as you live, so why not have it start off well? Your newborn might not be able to communicate with you directly, but your baby still appreciates everything you decide to do with it. You will want to strengthen that bond and show your baby that you love it. Here are some activities that have been shown to further improve the wonderful bond between parent and child.

1. Reading books

Newborns aren’t the most avid readers. You can’t expect them to understand the depth and nuances of a good Dostoevsky book before their first birthday. However, they love it when their parents read books to them aloud.

A lot of parents don’t see the point in reading to their newborns, considering the fact that their brains haven’t yet developed enough to comprehend the words that are written. However, this completely misses the point of reading with your kids. Their minds are very malleable and any kind of exposure to new stimuli and information is going to leave a positive lasting impact. The sooner you start exposing them to the joys of reading, the sooner they’ll want to do it on their own when they learn how to.

Let’s not forget, it’s a great way to build a good connection with your child. If you read fun and interesting stories to them, they’ll always think of you when they start reading on their own.

2. Listening to music

Music is something people can appreciate at all ages. Yes, that includes newborns to an extent. You can play all of your favourite music to your child and have them listen along with you. They might not be able to sing along or understand the lyrics, but even newborns can enjoy rich melodies and chord progressions. They might not know what it is, but the smile on their face will tell you that they enjoy it.

Without even knowing it, music is helping your child practice a degree of mindfulness. There’s some element of music that gets us closer to independent thought and emotional development. This makes it ideal for playing with your children.

If you play an instrument, practicing with your child would be a great way to make the activity fun for both of you. The guitar you have laying around and collecting dust could be better utilized during playtime with the kids. However, keep in mind that your child might not be as forgiving as other people are when you miss a note or two.


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3. Cooking

Making food for your family is one of those activities that are both fun and tiresome. It’s an art that is masquerading as an everyday chore, which is why your opinion of it may vary from day to day, depending on what kind of mood you’re in.

Your child might be right at your heels any time you’re preparing food in the kitchen, which poses an additional problem. You can’t exactly let your kid help you make food, so how do you include them in this activity? As with any other thing their parents do, children will develop an innate fascination with what you’re doing in the kitchen. You should humor this interest and give them some hints that they’re helping

Obviously, you’re not going to let your child near the cutting knife or any kind of raw meat, but small details will make their day and further their fascination with the kitchen and cooking. Let them touch vegetables and feel their texture before you put them in the pot. Children have a very tactile way of interacting with their environment. If you’re making something particularly aromatic, see if they’re fascinated by the individual smells during the cooking process.

They can’t help you in the cooking department, but you can help them experience a whole world of new sensations just by letting them stay near you. Eventually, they’ll figure out that the individual ingredients make for something that is even more delicious than the sum of its parts. It’s a valuable learning experience.

4. Enjoying nature

There’s no better way to spend time with your child than the great outdoors. Keep in mind, your baby has been spending nine months cooped up in a tight space, so it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that they might want to see some of the outside worlds.

Walking around parks would be great if your baby could walk on its own. For the time being, you should consider carrying it, at least until your baby grows old enough to be able to walk alongside you. Don’t hesitate to take your baby on a remote country destination as this is where they would be able to experience the clean air and have fun with the local farm animals. Feel free to pack all the essentials for a longer trip and tuck your baby in a comfortable Maxi Cosi car seat. While in nature, new parents can find it a bit difficult to walk for long periods of time with a baby in their arms, especially once it gains some weight. This is why chest carriers make for a great solution in that period right before the child starts trying to walk.


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5. Playing with toys

They say that play is the language of children and there’s quite a lot of research to back that up. Children have a pretty limited set of ways they can communicate with you. Crying and laughing are just about the only types of input you can expect from your newborn. On the other hand, they might try their best to express themselves using toys and playthings.

By playing with them, you enter their own personal world of imagination and wonder. Their toys aren’t just pieces of plastic and cloth, to them they’re parts of an entire imaginary world. Keep that in mind if you start playing with them, you might not have the same view and you could be ruining their vision of playtime. On the other hand, your baby will certainly love playing with you no matter how you contribute to playtime!

Conclusion

As a parent, you’re going to want to spend as much of your free time with your child. They mean everything to you and you want to show them the love and care they deserve. Finding the most interesting ways to spend that time should be your next step. Making the most of your fun and bonding is a great way to further your connection with your child.

Smarter Ways To Stock Snacks And Make Kids Eat

Most people find it difficult to make kids have their snacks, on time that it. They often wonder when their kids should snack. Well, there are smarter ways to stock snacks at home to make it exciting enough so that kids love to snack whenever you want to. To start with, it is wrong with things that every time is snacking time. The best way to go about it is to think of snacks as their mini meals.

There are several children who graze all through the day enjoying their snacking time that seems to be neverending. Yes, snacks are good in several ways such as:

  • It is good for health as it gives their body the desired nutrients
  • It helps to keep their hunger at bay and
  • It also helps them to stay focused on their studies at school and also at home while doing their homework.

True as it is, most of the times the bags of these kids are full of chips, cookies and all other food items that are low on calorie and nutritional value.

It is here where the problem lies. Such snacking is unplanned and random snacking will surely lead to several health issues and other problems. If your kid’s snack nonstop there are two basic problems that your kids will experience. These are:

  • It will interfere with their appetites and
  • It will also upset their natural instinct to feel full or to experience hunger.

Therefore, you should time your kid’s snacking correctly so that it actually helps them to get the energy as well as the nutrients they require.

The perfect timing

According to research, children and teens need to snack every three to four hours all through the day. This will help fuel their growth, keep their body active and energized and meet their daily nutrient requirement and food plan. This deciphers into these basic things:

  • Young kids should have two snacks a day at least and they also need to eat at least three meals a day
  • Older kids can do with one snack a day but should have at least three meals to fulfill their body requirements.

However, if an older kid is very physically active or is experiencing a growth spurt, the number of snacks per day should be increased to two.

Therefore, if you want to offer planned meals and snacks on time consistently through the day, you will need to stock your home snacks accordingly. You may follow a good rule of thumb which is:

  • Offering them snacks just a couple of hours after a meal ends and
  • About a couple of before it is time to start the next meal.

If you postpone snacks a few hours after each meal will have two significant positive effects in their food habits which will surely help them grow and keep health issues at bay.

  • One, it will prevent your kids from refusing to eat a meal and
  • Two, it will prevent them from craving for food as a snack just after the mealtime ends.

In other words, it will encourage a healthy appetite in them if you put stops to snacking straightaway before meals.

Smart snacking habits

If you want to install smart and good snacking habits in your kid you must know these few facts:

  • It all starts with the place. If they are snacking at home, they should have a designated area for it. Mark an area as the “eating zone” and make sure that all snacking is limited to that location.
  • You can mark the kitchen table or even the countertop for it. This will help you to monitor their snacking.
  • If your kid’s snack all over the house you will hardly know what they eat and how much they eat. In addition to that, you will also have to deal with the spills, crumbs and other mess.
  • It is also required to make sure that your kids are not allowed to watch TV while snacking. There are different studies that show that it results in mindless munching and in turn, leads to overeating.
  • Do not force smaller children to eat larger portions but make sure that they get into the habit of more frequent snacking as compared to the older kids. This is because little kids have smaller stomachs and therefore can hold less.
  • Make a more predictable routine for snacking and offering meals. This will help them to be ready and expect something to eat and help you to be prepared with the right food to fill the hungry tummies.
  • Your kids may be very hungry right after coming home from school but make sure that they eat at the right meal times and do not offer any snacks too close to their mealtime.
  • Always offer nutrient-dense foods that may be lacking in their diet otherwise so that it improves and fulfills the nutrient intake of your child.
  • Always place food items that are healthy in plain sight of your kids such as a bowl of fresh and ripe whole fruit at the center of the dining table or your kitchen or small containers containing fresh veggie snacks such as carrots, broccoli florets and celery sticks in the fridge at the eye level of your kids.
  • Lastly, you should stock your fridge and kitchen with lots of canned snacks. This may include canned fruits in a juice, natural applesauce, and others but make sure you check the label to find out whether or not it contains any added sugar.

Does it feel a costly affair for you? To cut cost, you can:

  • Divide larger cans into smaller reusable containers with smaller portions.
  • You may even buy single-serve containers that are more convenient as well.
  • Use more frozen fruits as these are often are less expensive such as frozen strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Well, if you are well organized then you will not have problems in stacking your kitchen or even making your kids eat their meal and snacks on time and on a regular basis.

Front Facing vs Rear Facing Car Seats-Good or Bad?

As a parent, you immediately have the urge to protect your little bundle of joy. It’s nature-it’s natural instinct. While you can’t cling to them as you drive, you can put your trust in a car seat that not only comfortably cradles your baby, but keeps them safe and secure.

With so many car seats on the market, choosing the right one can be a daunting and stressful task for a new mommy. Front facing? Rear facing? Which one should you choose, and how many car seats will your child need as they grow? How long should your child remain rear facing? Which ones will support a

Each kind of seat has its own set of pros and cons, and based on my experience, I can share how I successfully made my selection and gained total peace of mind while I drove my baby around.

Rear Facing Car Seat

A rear facing car seat is designed specifically for infants. Most seats will grow with your baby, allowing them to stay rear facing in the seat until they reach the seat’s specific weight or height limit. Each seat is designed differently, so it’s hard to say when the measurement limits will expire.

The “old” way of thinking has children rear facing in their seat until one year of age, or 20 pounds-whatever comes first. Recently, it has been suggested that parents keep their child rear facing as long as possible. The “new” way of thinking is keep kids rear facing until they are at least 2 years old and/or 60 pounds. Why?

The benefits of keeping a child rear facing include:

  • Added head and neck support in case of a crash.
  • A rear facing seat spreads out impact more evenly.
  • The belts don’t become a hazard because they are worn across the body properly.
  • Necks are supported when children doze off. Their body placement also remains cradled.

The cons of keeping a child rear facing include:

  • Hassel once the child is heavier/taller. Creates a hard to reach/hook space for parents.
  • Can’t see the child or address their needs once they hit toddlerhood.

The good news is that car seat systems can be used rear facing and turned front facing without having to purchase an additional seat. Some even turn into booster seats when the child is much older and ready to sit on their own.

Front Facing Seats

Front facing seats are solely purchased when a child has hit a height, weight, or age requirement. This usually happens at around the age of 18 months (depending on the size of the child) and all the way up to 3 or 4 years old. Front facing seats are never to be used rear facing. However, if you have purchased a convertible car seat, yours has been specially designed to convert back and forth, making it ok to do so.

Front facing seats are great transition seats that teach your child how to sit in a car properly, buckle up, and enjoy the views and privileges of being an older child in a car. It also helps transition them to a booster seat, which can be used around 40 pounds and up to 100 pounds.

The benefits of putting your child in a front facing seat include:

  • Easy access. Your child can literally climb in and out of their seat.
  • Easy to see, talk to, and help your child.
  • Easy for parents to set up the seat and hook the belt.
  • Most children find sitting front facing makes them less dizzy and they enjoy being in a car and going on longer rides more.

Cons of a front facing seat:

  • Belt must be worn properly or the seat won’t do its job.
  • Children can easily unhook their own belts.
  • If a child falls asleep and hunches over, they are without support and could be injured easily in case of an accident.
  • If there is an impact, your child’s head and neck are less protected.
  • Most front facing seats (especially booster seats) aren’t anchored like a rear facing seat is, so the seat solely relies on the use of the seat belt.

All children are going to face front eventually. I learned that really isn’t a rush and if a rear facing seat offers more support and protection, then I put my child’s safety over everything else.

When shopping for a car seat, it’s important to consider these pros and cons. Variations of different car seats can be purchased from both big-box retailers or specialty baby boutiques online. Based on my experience, your best bet is to purchase a convertible car seat so that it can be used rear facing first, and then front facing once your child shows signs of growth and readiness. This cuts down on costs and keeps your baby in a cradled, secure seat longer!

Setting Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Children

Are your children familiar with the concept of New Year’s resolutions? If not, explain to them that those are goals they would try to reach during the upcoming year and that they would have to invest some effort into doing it. However, tell them that the effort doesn’t have to be theirs alone and that you will always support them. And finally, through examples, make them aware that those resolutions should be healthy and useful ones. Here are some that fall under that category.

Be kinder to your planet

When it comes to preserving the environment, pointing your children in the right direction from their earliest age is essential. Let one of their resolutions be to do something positive for our planet every day. For example, teach them to always separate trash, so that everything that can be actually gets recycled. Plant a tree in your backyard together or create a vertical garden on your balcony with some fruit, vegetables or herbs. They could decide never to litter and to pick up whatever trash they can from the green areas around them, as long as their hands are protected. And finally, explain that this is a resolution they need to stick to not just this year, but for as long as they live.

Challenge general opinions

If you want your children to grow into intelligent and responsible people, they need to detach themselves from everybody else’s opinions and start forming their own. For instance, just because a toy comes in a pink box, it doesn’t mean it’s for girls only and that cars are only for boys. Also, the fact that a TV commercial says your child can’t do without something doesn’t mean they actually need it. Therefore, a good New Year’s resolution would be that your kids give valid arguments for anything they want or they think they need. For instance, if they want a jacket with their favorite cartoon character on it, a good argument would be that their old one is too small or worn out. If they only want it because everybody else is wearing it, tell them that’s an invalid argument and that the jacket they already have is perfectly fine. Teaching them to think critically can improve their academic success and provide them with a more realistic perspective of the world.

Choose healthier food

As far as wellness goes, the most important decisions you and your child can make involve healthy food and physical activity, which is why some of their resolutions should be about better food choices. Start with investing in a premium Bosch refrigerator and loading it with fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy food options. This is important since the way you store your food determines how long it maintains its quality and taste. Once your child is surrounded by healthy food, instead of salty and sugary snacks, set some smart and fun resolutions. One of them could be that your child tries a new fruit or vegetable every week, or that you switch from supermarket granola bars to the ones you make together at home. Other resolutions might include drinking water or home-made smoothies and lemonade instead of bottled sodas, a bowl of fruit salad instead of cookies for their afternoon snack and using honey instead of white sugar for sweetening their tea or cereals.

Be more active

No child should sit and stare at any screen for hours a day. So, instead of spending time watching TV and playing computer games, have your child set a resolution to spend some time every afternoon playing outside. If their friends are busy, make it a family affair and play dodgeball or Twister in your backyard. Furthermore, clever resolutions would include trying a new sport and sticking to it for at least six months, cutting down on screen time and taking their pet for a walk for an hour every day. These healthy resolutions can help your child develop better, lose any excess weight and even boost their metabolism and immune system.

Be friendlier to others

Developing empathy in your children should start before they even know what the word means. There are many resolutions they can set to support this. For instance, once or twice a year they can donate their old clothes and toys to an orphanage or a children’s shelter. Your children can promise to do or say a nice thing to one of their neighbors or their schoolmates every day. These things can be small, like complimenting them on their behavior, a project well-done or even lending a hand to somebody who has fallen in the schoolyard, instead of laughing at them. They could help carry their neighbor’s groceries or volunteer with you in a local hospital or a retirement home. The point is that they try to gain better insight and understanding of people around them, which can build your kids’ character.

This year help your children set New Year’s resolution that will improve the quality of life for them and your whole family. And since it’s your job to always be there for your kids, help them go through with all of their good decisions throughout the next year and longer.

About the author:

Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home décor, and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”