Birth Series – Two Miracle Babies & An Unexpected Cesarean Delivery.

I have had this desire to share a series of birth stories on my blog for a very long time. I love reading about different births, as each is so unique. I feel that it is so important for women to have an open mind before they bring their own baby into this world. We often set our minds so strongly onto the way we want things to be, but things can, and so often do go their own way. And, in that moment, knowing we want what is best for our baby, we will make ourselves vulnerable, and allow for what needs to happen, to happen.

This series will be sharing the story of many women who have each had their own unique experience at birth. My desire is for you to feel that you can relate to just one, and I truly hope that at least one story will help you. Know that some of these experiences are extreme, and the purpose isn’t to scare you, but to rather give you the peace of mind, that in the end, it is all worth it.


34016872_1936629416360782_3361209498537558016_nTWO MIRACLE BABIES & AN UNEXPECTED CESAREAN DELIVERY 

I am starting this series with the beautiful birth stories which belong to Kia Johnson, mother to two and South African TV and Radio Presenter. Kia was told, like many women that she would struggle to fall pregnant naturally. She is now called ‘Mom’ to two gorgeous children who are now 6 and 3.

Reading about Kia’s deliveries made me realize how lucky I was with such a straight forward birth.

“When I heard the news from my Doctor that I’m going to struggle to have kids naturally due to growths (polyps ) he had found inside my uterus (and recommended in vitro fertilisation) I felt a part of my soul go numb. I hadn’t wanted children at that time but I wanted to at least have the ability to do so naturally. I remember being in tears, it felt like I was in mourning, and for the longest time I was, it was just over a year when I finally made peace with what I was told.

After letting go of the idea of having children I decided to focus on my career which helped tremendously. It was however in that exact moment, when I wasn’t thinking about it, when I had given up all hope, that I fell pregnant with my daughter. I was in a state of shock for the longest time but also in a state of bliss, I couldn’t believe I was pregnant! So many things ran through my head as I was aware that I was not 100% okay in my womb, but the feeling of having this life grow inside of me did manage to push those thoughts aside albeit for moments. I was careful though and went for all my checks. I was so grateful, I prayed and rejoiced and just kept saying thank you for my precious miracle.

Like we all do I started chatting to everyone about pregnancy and the birthing process. 885719_960864343937299_2848662267234838086_oSome people gave good advice and others were a little ‘off the mark.’ I have to be honest though many people painted sunshine and roses and that’s what I expected. When reality set in my pregnancy had a mind of its own. I was nauseous every single day until the day I gave birth. I also opted for a natural birth and gave my Doctor quite the scolding when he told me my daughter hadn’t locked into position and I might have to have a caesarean. I was determined that it won’t happen to me and I will give birth the natural way.

But I was not prepared for what happened. I went into labour a few hours after my doctor had predicted I would, I counted the contractions, I breathed and tried to be calm. It was regular like clockwork. Till this day I wonder about that, how on earth can something so primitive in us be so timeous.  After 18 hours of labour, I just wouldn’t dilate, my Doctor tried everything and nothing worked. When my daughter went into distress we had to do a caesarean or she wouldn’t make it. Right there I couldn’t have cared if I gave birth to her through my ear I just had to get her out.

18893016_1561423837214677_4237598658673611921_nWhen she was born she screamed like a trooper. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and so tiny, with her little hands and feet and it was right there that I felt as if a hole in my heart was filled because of her.

After giving birth to my daughter I was told by my Doctor that my polyps will come back and I have to be prepared so I thought ‘oh well at least I have one child.’ A few years later however I remember one day I just felt quite odd. Till this day I don’t feel I can explain it properly but it was a sense of  peace and being the type of personality I am as I constantly worry, I knew it was unusual for me to feel this type of calm. But something had happened, I just knew it. It was as if my hormones had slipped right back into a balanced space. Could it be that I was just sick or could I be pregnant? Unlike the signs with my daughter (my breasts were getting unusually big and I couldn’t eat sushi it made me so sick ) I had no definite physical indication that I was pregnant so I was sure I couldn’t be but I decided in order to give myself some peace of mind why don’t I get a pregnancy test to make sure. The first one I took came out positive. I decided to purchase another test and this one came out unsure. The third one I took came out positive.

Due to the indecisiveness of the test I had to see my Doctor. He did an ultra sound and told me he it looked like I had a missed period but to be absolutely sure I had to come back 3 weeks later. When he did the ultra sound the second time around he found a heartbeat, I was 7 weeks pregnant! Another miracle!

This time around I was certain I would deal with my pregnancy far better than my first one. I was wiser after all and had more confidence but, I was so wrong. My son had decided to lay with his spine against my spine, this was not the ideal position at all. I carried quite small, most people couldn’t even see I was pregnant. The pain from him lying on my spine was unbearable at times. In the first three months I was under tremendous stress and almost lost him. I remember standing and packing my daughter’s clothes into her cupboard and not being able to move from the pain I felt. I just stood completely still. My husband took me back to the Doctor and this time I had to go on hormone medication to keep my womb strong. With this pregnancy too I remained nauseous throughout the entire time.

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I gave birth to my son via caesarean. I will never forget the moment he came out I almost froze. He didn’t make a noise, I heard nothing just complete silence. All I kept asking was ‘why isn’t he crying, why?  It was only a few minutes later that I heard him give a good scream, it was the best sound I ever heard, like music to my ears. When they brought him to me he was so tiny and beautiful. I loved the feeling of having his tiny body on top of my chest. He slept by my side the entire time I had to stay in the hospital, I just couldn’t bare to not have him close to me.

21768053_1679172785439781_5475012372583849563_nMy children are now both six and three and they are expert chatterboxes who keep me on my toes everyday. Their love is unconditional and the moments we share are so precious. I don’t get much sleep, I get sick a lot, I have to be stern in discipline and time outs exhaust me but gosh when they give me kisses, tell me they love me, clean up their room (okay my daughter is the only one doing it for now but still a bonus!) or when my three old shouts ‘bubbles bubbles’ for bath time I know that I am truly happy and blessed and wouldn’t trade these moments (even the tough ones) for anything. I feel so proud that they chose me to be their Mom.”

– Kia Johnson | Instagram

 


 

*Would you like to share your birth story with women around the world? Email me your story to onemodernmom@hotmail.com before the end of July 2018 to be featured. Did this story touch your heart? Did something similar happen to you? I would love to hear your feedback. Keep getting updates to this birth series by subscribing to my blog. You can also get updates by following my social media accounts: Facebook | Instagram

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Sleep Soundly This Winter In Granny Goose Linen.

There’s nothing in this world like climbing into your cozy bed after a long day, especially in Winter. The crisp, fresh linen that’s ice cold as it first touches your skin that quickly warms your shivering body as you frantically rub your feet together.

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I think back to my early teen years. I saved up for months to buy the perfect duvet set to match my baby pink room. Hot pink covered in daisies, reversible – the other side turquoise blue with hot pink polka dots. It was perfection to my thirteen year old self. But, did I love and look after that duvet set! You bet. The quality was so good that when I finally outgrew it, I passed it onto another girl who loved it just as much as I did, and she passed it onto someone else.

But, time went on and as I grew up and moved on, life changed a little. My double bed turned into a queen size bed to accommodate my man. And that turned into a King size bed… well, to accommodate a baby. And our choice of linen was just out of our reach financially. We settled for linen that was cheaper. The quality wasn’t great, and only now do I really understand how good linen can really impact your quality of sleep!

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I vividly recall tossing and turning every night. Waking up feeling irritated, trying to adjust my duvet cover. That feeling of discomfort that you just can’t get rid of. Cold winter nights I would find myself shivering beneath my covers. Hot nights spent frustratingly attempting to stop our sheer covers from sticking against my body.

Making my bed was never enjoyable. It was boring. A chore. I would fight with my duvet cover to get it on, as the loose frayed threads would tangle around my fingers as I hurriedly tried to just get the task done as quickly as possible. Bed time would arrive and I’d wait until the very last minute to climb into bed hoping I would be so tired I’d fall asleep immediately.

I sound like I’m ungrateful, however, I never really realized that my linen was actually the problem until I started using linen from Granny Goose! This sounds like the perfect advertisement. Like, I found the cure to all of your problems! But, in reality – they honestly have been my perfect solution to a bad night sleep!

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Criene Images

It created a cozy environment that very quickly became a place I felt I could escape to in order to reboot, to refresh my mind and to gain some sanity after a long day of motherhood. It has become a place that we snuggle up as a family to watch a movie. The perfect Sunday morning lie in spot that memories are created with my little boy finding his spot in the middle for tickles and stories. It’s become a place that my hubby has the desire to hang out in after a long day of work. Funny that something as simple as linen can have such a huge effect.

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Their linen is obviously made from Cotton and the style we chose is made with their 200 thread 100% count cotton percale. I’ve noticed how warm and snuggly I feel even with the same duvet inner. The thread count & cotton has made the hugest difference for Winter. We also chose a gorgeous Herringbone Throw which we have been using at night too. It is a beautiful, soft throw spun from soft acrylic fibers and finished with a trendy blanket stitch. They are available in Mint & Cobblestone (and are actually on sale at the moment!). Sometimes, during the day, I will sit and work on my bed and just use it over my legs – and it warms me up immediately. Such a perfect buy!

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I always thought that white would be such a silly colour to have on our bed due to having a toddler, but the marks that he has made have washed off without an effort. And, let’s be honest – there’s nothing better than fresh white linen! Right?

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I have to be totally honest and say that I have truly been enjoying my sleep at the moment. I was worrying about winter creeping up on us with the thin linen we had before that just wasn’t going to cut it for the cold nights. And we managed to get our Granny Goose linen just in time. It has made the hugest difference, and we wake up well rested!

It was such a pleasure going through the ordering process with the Granny Goose team. They are so helpful, and are incredibly well educated on their products and what will work best for you! They have a gorgeous selection, and really are well priced for the phenomenal quality. You won’t need to be replacing your linen any time soon after investing in new linen from them.

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I just want to add that the beauty of the Granny Goose linen is that it easily fits into your current bedroom style. No need to change things around for your linen – your linen fits in, yet stands out!

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We obviously couldn’t forget about our fur babies either – so we decided to get one of the Pet Duvets for them. My female Alaskan Malamute is besotted with her new bed. It is super padded, warm and cozy for her, and I love it because it means I can put it on our bed or the couch and I know that the hair won’t be a problem. My Siberian Husky hasn’t had much of a chance on it yet, as Skye isn’t a fan of sharing her bed with hairy men. 😉

*I will be telling you a bit about my experience with their luxury Duck Down Pillows in my next blog post as they have totally cured the migraines that I used to wake up with almost every morning and have helped me sleep so much better at night. I’m really excited to share my thoughts and experience on this with you as I am sure that it could help a few other people too!

Have a look at Granny Goose’s social media platforms:

Facebook
Website
Instagram


A huge thank you to the incredibly talented Lauren McCreath Interiors for helping style the room to perfection. She did such a great job, as per usual!

Bedroom Photographs shot by Seppi Hochfellner.
Lounge Photographs shot by Criene Images.

You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook to see future collaborations.

Capturing An Indescribable Love: Mother & Son.

IMG_7896There’s something incredibly special about raising a family in this generation. Things have changed, and the fact that we are able to do photo shoots with our families and children really is something magical. We are enabled to capture special moments, and to freeze a moment of time so much more easily than when I was growing up.

It certainly does take someone talented to capture the true emotions between a family or between two individuals. They have to make themselves vulnerable behind their cameras to just slip into your normality as a family. I’ve met some photographers who just don’t have that – and then there’s those, like Aimy from Aimy-Louise Photographer whose just got it.

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I was amazed at how quickly, and effortlessly Aimy captured my little boy and I on Saturday afternoon. The entire shoot was totally natural, and not once did I find her stopping my little guy from doing something he wanted to do to force him into some ‘perfect’ frame. Aimy simply awaited the moments that had emotion overflowing from them – she watched as we played, and allowed us to, well, just be us!

 

We wanted to have some updated photos in time for Mother’s Day, and although the deadline was short, Sunday rolled around and I had my images popped neatly in my inbox awaiting me. My heart burst with love, emotion and pride as I scrolled from one image to the next. She captured the imperfections, the raw and real moments. The happiness and vulnerability of a mother and son.

 

Aimy’s photos speak emotion. Her colours deep, leaving you with a sense of wonder and allowing you to see directly into the heart. I love that she doesn’t cover up every flaw, but rather shows your imperfections as what makes you unique and beautiful. These photos are so special to me. By looking at them, I will always look back and remember that feeling of my little boys small, warm, dirty hands holding my face to plonk a kiss on the tip of my nose. Those same hands excitedly gripping onto mine, trusting me to guide him out of harms way into safety. The sound of laughter echoing between the trees as he throws the fresh, crisp Autumn leaves above my head waiting for them to take landing.

 

Each family, and mother and child has their own unique story – and Aimy makes sure that she captures your story exactly for what it is. There are no corny poses, and no rights and wrongs. She allows your family to be comfortable in your own skin. And that is what makes her stand out to me as one of the best photographers for family, engagements, couple, newborn or wedding photography in Cape Town.

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Aimy-Louise Photography is offering a special on her Mommy & Me Mini Sessions. For R700 you get 30 minutes with her and 10 edited photos. This is such a wonderful deal, and I really encourage you to make use of this special if you’re needing some updated images with your kids, if you are based within the Cape Town area.

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You can see Aimy’s portfolio here:

Website
Facebook
Instagram

Thank you, Aimy for the beautiful images of my little boy and I. You truly captured our quirky and very special relationship perfectly!


*My wardrobe: My Scattered Heart

Win This Mothers Day!

COMPETITION TIME

Motherhood is challenging. It’s beautiful and it’s rewarding in so many ways. But you only truly understand just how hard another Mom works on a daily basis once you become a Mother yourself. The lists are endless, and very seldom are we ever thanked for all that we do.

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This month, we celebrate Moms! Every mom from every walk of life. We salute you for all that you do. We appreciate you for all of the sacrifices you have made for your children and for your families.

And, we want to reward you, and to encourage you to take a moment to yourself this month!

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One lucky Mom will be winning a R1000.00 Spirit Jewellery voucher to spend either online or in-store, a pair of gorgeous Poppy Divine PJ’s valued at R900.00 and a voucher for you and a girl friend to have some ‘you’ time enjoying a Foot Soak and Massage at Rouge Day Spa valued at R150.00 each.

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The total value of this special Mother’s Day competition is R2200.00.

In order to enter, please visit my Facebook or Instagram account to enter!

The winner will be randomly selected. Please note that we will be checking that each entry has been successfully completed.

Please note: Rouge Day Spa is located in Cape Town, you may still enter if you are an SA resident, but aren’t in Cape Town, and you are welcome to gift your voucher to a friend who lives here!

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GOOD LUCK, and may you all feel appreciated and relaxed this Mother’s Day! This competition is only open to South African residents! The prize is not refundable and may not be exchanged or returned.


Photos: Criene

Skin Health In The Nappy Area – Johnson’s Baby

12832452_1089740687713121_5881449826012048151_nLast month, I was honoured to be invited to the Johnson’s Baby Wet Wipe masterclass in Johannesburg. Being based in Cape Town, they decided to fly me over to be at the event. This was a huge deal for me, and it meant that they had some important information to get across.

The masterclass was hosted by the beautiful and quirky Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, and we were well informed about all of the do’s and don’ts of caring for babies nappy area by the highly educated Professor Carol Hlela and JOHNSON’S® Baby Portfolio Manager, Jacquelyn Paterson.

It’s amazing how few of us moms are actually well educated on how we should be looking after our babies nappy area correctly, and I certainly did learn a lot from the class. I think so many of us think that it is a straight forward process, if baby is happy and clean, but we actually don’t think deeper into what we are doing.

They mentioned that the most vulnerable skin area for babies is undoubtedly the nappy area. The reasons for this are self-evident – for most of the day and night, their delicate skin is enclosed in a nappy which creates a moist, humid environment.

Have you ever taken note of how many different brands of wet wipes are available on Masterclass Infographicthe shelf at your local grocer store? What determines your decision on which pack you purchase? Is it on special? Is it cheaper than the rest? Do you look at the ingredients? Are you a creature of habit? Is it organic/natural? Do you like the scent? Is it the quality of the wipe?

No wonder we feel so overwhelmed as parents or grandparents or carers of young children? How are we ever supposed to know which is correct when we are suffocated with options? Did you know that some brands of wipes are too dry? They don’t have enough water in them, which means that you use more each nappy change anyway? Did you know that some brands of wet wipes that you love because they smell so nice are actually packed with ingredients that aren’t good for babies skin and sensitive nappy area?

We were taught about the different layers of the skin in the nappy area and I actually found myself wondering how I ever thought that it was all so straight forward. Being educated on this area can really save a new mom from so many stressful and heartbreaking encounters. Understanding how this area works can save your precious babe from nappy rashes and the pain that comes with them.
Did you ever think about the fact that a wet wipe is the one thing that touches your babies skin the most for the first year of their life? How crazy is that? You think about when you have visitors over and you make them sterilize their hands every time they’ve touched anything other than your baby, but we don’t even think twice about this important statistic!

Did you ever have the thought cross your mind when making that typical new parent comment about how soft your babies skin is. You feel theirs and compare it to your skin that may be dry and tough, and probably even slightly aged. Babies skin is not only 3x thinner than an adults, but is more permeable and also loses moisture up to 5x faster.

Doctor Hlela, paediatric dermatologist, explains: “Healthy skin plays an important role in the overall health of a baby as it provides a protective barrier that prevents infections, water loss and the penetration of irritants and allergens. The first months of a baby’s life are crucial, as damaged or dry skin can allow germs to pass through more easily. Skin penetration can result in skin inflammation, allergies and bacterial colonization. If the skin barrier gets compromised, this can increase susceptibility to microbial and chemical attacks.”

I hope that this helps you for future nappy changes, maybe this can be an important tool to pass on to other parents-to-be:

How to keep baby’s nappy area healthy:

The Nursing for Women’s Health (AWHONN) recommends 5 steps to protecting the delicate skin barrier which is as simple as following A, B, C, D, E:

Air – Include Nappy-free time: expose the nappy area to air, frequently, and for as long as possible. Your baby will love that feeling of fresh air against those chubby bum cheeks, and there’s nothing cuter, right? But, on a serious note – exposing that diaper area to air will reduce the chance of your baby ending up with a rash or any infections.

Barrier – Use a great barrier protection with an emollient: The vulnerability of baby’s skin barrier requires protection with specially formulated moisturizing emollients. Using a barrier cream that provides a lipid film will protect your baby against exposure to irritants such as urine and stool. Emollients can strengthen and enhance the health of babies skin, reducing the risk of pathogens penetrating the skin.

Cleansing – Gently cleanse the area with a baby wipe at every nappy change. When cleaning a baby’s nappy area, make sure that the urine and stool are dealt with separately. Never link the two. Clean the stool first, take a new wet wipe, and then clean the urine area.

Diaper – Choose super absorbent diapers and change them frequently. Unfortunately, not all brands of nappies fit this brief. Failing to do so could mean that the urine and stool is resting on the part of the diaper that is constantly touching babies skin. This can really provoke discomfort for them and can also cause major issues for this area. Ensuring to do frequent diaper changes and understanding your babies general routine will assist you in figuring out how frequently you should be changing their diapers in order to avoid any irritation.

Educate – Educate other moms and care givers to follow the proper nappy hygiene skin care practices.

I also wanted to take a moment to give you a little bit of advice that may help you narrow down your options when it comes to doing your wet wipe shop. This should help you feel less overwhelmed by all of the options, and will provide you with that peace of mind knowing you are using the best on your baby’s skin:

WHICH IS THE GENTLER CLEANSER – WATER & COTTON WOOL OR BABY WIPES?

Bathing your baby with a gentle cleanser in a tub of water not only helps keep her skin healthy but is also a wonderful bonding ritual that helps promote her sensory development. But in between baths, babies need to be gently cleansed at every nappy change. Water does not easily remove oily substances from the skin and tends to have a pH level that is higher than that of baby skin.

Depending on the water quality in your area, it may also be “hard” which can cause skin dryness. Good quality wipes like JOHNSON’S® are pH buffered to suit baby skin and contain gentle emollients for skin protection.

JOHNSON’S® Baby suggests parents look out for the following when choosing wipes:

 

  • Gentle emollients to protect the skin from damage caused by frequent cleansing.
  • The pH level in wipes should be as close as possible to baby’s natural pH which is around 5.5.
  • The type of fabric used for the wipes is extremely important. JOHNSON’S® always uses 100% cotton because it is soft for the skin and reduces friction.
  • Read the ingredients on the packs and avoid products with strong chemicals such as ALCOHOL, SOAP, TRICLOSAN or even ESSENTIAL OILS which can have an irritating or drying effect on the skin.
  • Not all fragrance is baby skin appropriate – use a wipe that is mildly fragranced or fragrance-free, proven safe to use on sensitive skin. 

JOHNSON’S® is also sharing their TWO-STEP ROUTINE to keep the skin barrier in the nappy area healthy:

STEP 1: CLEANSING AT NAPPY CHANGE

JOHNSON’S® Baby Wipes

  • Optimally designed for cleansing babies’ sensitive area
  • Made with soft cloth to reduce friction on delicate skin
  • Contain 97% pure water
  • pH buffered to suit baby’s natural pH level of 5.5
  • Free from alcohol, soap and essential oils
  • Enriched with mild emollients to protect the skin

JOHNSON’S® Baby Wipes are available in 2 variants:

1.EXTRA SENSITIVE WIPES are ideal for newborns and very young babies. These ultra-gentle, fragrance-free Wipes are clinically tested and proven as safe as pure water on newborn skin

Extra Sensitive Wipes

2. GENTLE ALL OVER BABY WIPES are perfect for older babies. They effectively cleanse everything from wet bottoms to dirty hands and delicate faces.

Gentle All Over Wipes

*Both variants have the special NO MORE TEARS® formula which is mild enough to use even around baby’s eyes.

STEP 2: PROTECTING BABIES SKIN IN THE NAPPY AREA

After cleansing, apply emollient products that help strengthen and enhance the skin barrier like JOHNSON’S® Baby Jelly which has a soft texture that spreads easily and contains nourishing oils to help soften the skin. It forms a barrier against wetness, helping to protect against the causes of nappy rash.

 

11953524_1003318893021968_7851623380238881546_oAVEENO® Baby Daily Care Barrier Cream is another excellent option from the JOHNSON’S® stable. Unscented and suitable for newborns, it is formulated with colloidal oatmeal to actively soothe and reduce the redness of dry, delicate baby skin. Developed to minimize the risk of allergies, it creates a breathable skin barrier to protect against external irritants.

THE BENEFIT OF PETROLEUM JELLY:

– Emollients moisturize by supporting lipids, which are part of the natural make-up of the stratum corneum to provide optimal barrier protection.

– Petroleum Jelly provides greater lipid concentration and absorption versus other emollients, providing optimal barrier protection.


Who knew there could possibly be so much to learn about your babies nappy area? But, it just shows how educating yourself as a parent-to-be or carer can really save both you and your baby from a huge amount of pain and anxiety.

I found this masterclass incredibly insightful, and I honestly walked away learning so much that I didn’t know! You may already know this, or may be beyond this stage of your childs life, however, you can help somebody else by passing this information onto them. Perhaps this could even help you figure out which products to gift a friend who may be expecting.

In my home, wet wipes are a permanent resident – we use them for anything and everything – we might as well make the right choice in what to look out for when it comes to purchasing them for our family.

A huge thank you to JOHNSON’S® for providing me with all of these facts and tips.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS YOU’D LIKE ME TO GET AN ANSWER TO FROM EITHER PROFESSOR HLELA OR JOHNSON’S® BABY PORTFOLIO MANAGER, JACQUELYN PATERSON, PLEASE SEND ME A PRIVATE MESSAGE, AN EMAIL OR LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND I WILL GET BACK TO YOU WITH AN ANSWER.