Category: Blog

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What should I be feeding my baby these days?

You know you either breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby when they are newborns, but what comes next, when and how much? My 4 little one’s are way past this phase and it seems the recommendations change each year. I always went with my pediatrician’s recommendations and I would always suggest running all dietary changes for your little one by your pediatrician. I was always so nervous to introduce new foods because of all the stories I heard about food allergies. I started out with homemade organic baby food. Our first child did not like it at all and it even seemed to bother her stomach, so we did all store-bought food with her. Our second and third LOVED my homemade baby food. I started with apples, carrots and squash. Those boys gobbled it up! By the time our 4th baby came along, I didn’t have time for homemade and he did great with store-bought food. We were blessed in that none of our babies had any food allergies. I have a renewed sense of curiosity on the subject as my sister had her first baby last summer after years of struggling with miscarriages. Her little one is in the first foods stage.  I did some research and found this informative article from UNICEF. They give very specific recommendations on what to introduce to your baby and when to introduce it.

https://www.unicef.org/parenting/food-nutrition/feeding-your-baby-6-12-months?

Quick and Simple Apple, Squash or Carrot Baby Food Recipe.

  1. Clean or Peel the fruit or veggie you decide to work with.
  2. Place in a pot with water coming just below the fruit or veggie.
  3. Boil until the fruit or veggie is soft/tender but not falling apart.
  4. Strain the water out and place in a blender to COOL BEFORE blending. Once cooled, puree in the blender.
  5. Place the pureed fruit or veggie in storage containers of your choice. I used 4 oz mason jars as the serving size worked great for me.
  6. Store in either the refrigerator or freeze until you are ready to use. Follow the recommendations below for baby food storage and maintenance.

****Guidelines on baby food storage. https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/homemade_babyfood.html

Enjoy your day and God Bless!

With thanks, Lori/Toader/CEO

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I said I would NEVER give my baby a pacifier, until…

Prior to having any children, there were all sorts of things I said I would never do. One of those was that I was never going to give any of my babies a pacifier. I had heard that it would ruin their teeth and that it was a very hard habit to break.

My Pediatrician Said

Well that all changed the moment our paediatrician explained that some babies need the pacifiers or a finger to soothe and comfort them. She explained that it was the sucking that provided comfort. At that time, I really didn’t put much thought into the type of pacifier we used. I wasn’t aware of the benefits of one type versus another. I ended up using the traditional pacifiers with multiple pieces and parts (you know, the ones with a swivel arm and a button/cap on the outside). No matter how careful I was, I remember water and soap always getting trapped in the nipple when I cleaned it. I was not aware of the one-piece silicone pacifiers and why they were so much better. I now know that having one, solid piece makes the pacifiers easier to clean and less likely for small parts to come loose and become a choking hazard.

The other interesting fact I learned about was the nipple shape. I never understood why there were so many different nipple shapes. I assumed it was just for preference or comfort, but now understand that the rounded nipple is what the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests because it is less likely to interfere with breastfeeding. Outside of breastfeeding (or “nipple confusion”), when it comes to the shape of the nipple, it really is mostly about what your baby prefers or what they are used to. So the shape, size, firmness, softness, etc.. really depends on each baby. You might have to try a couple before you find the one that works best for you.

How many pacifiers I had

Though I said we would never use a pacifier, we probably kept about four pacifiers around at any one point in time. I must admit that I don’t recall following the rule of replacing the pacifiers every 4-6 weeks of use (typically recommended by each manufacturer). I was good about checking the pacifiers for cracks and tears to ensure it was okay to give to the baby, but I did not replace the pacifiers on a regular schedule as is suggested. Fast-forward 11 years, now we are makers of pacifiers and all these guidelines and rules have new meaning to us. My sister just had her first baby in August. I was shocked when she told me that she buys a 2 pack of pacifiers almost every time she goes to the store. Now, this is because she has dogs that get ahold of them and well because she misplaces things frequently. It sparked an interest in me, I wondered, how many pacifiers do people keep around or buy for their baby? So, I googled “how many pacifiers do babies go through”. I read that most babies use a pacifier until the age of 4 and that most parents purchase 72 pacifiers per child.

It is all very interesting, so we thought it would be fun to take a poll and see where everyone stacks up since every baby is so different. You can throw in a comment at the bottom if you had 2 or more babies that were different. Also, we would love to read in the comments what age you “think” you will stop using them.

How many pacifiers do/did you have on hand?
Vote
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Should I Buy My Baby’s Products In The Store or Online?

More and more people are buying online these days.  Let’s face it, it is so easy!  You think of something you want or need, and you are seconds away from getting it, virtually anytime and anywhere.  Not only is it very convenient, but you also have much more variety to choose from.  With Amazon.com for example, if you search for “Teething Toys”, you get 6,000 results.  Even if you went into Babies R Us before it went out of business, you might have had 40 options to choose from in the teethers section.   Although we have so many options shopping online, which for many means Amazon, there is a danger lurking that you sense is there but can’t quite put your finger on.   We hope to bring light to the details that could be the source of your gut feeling.

The Old Way to Buy Baby Products

Traditionally, we relied on large retailers such as Walmart, Target, and the former Babies R Us, to research a need in the market and find a product that fits that need. Those large retailers proactively ensure:

  • The product is Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) compliant
  • Any claims that a product makes on its packaging is verifiable by an independent 3rd party
  • The company that backs that product is focused on quality, not just profit
  • Products are made in ethical working conditions

In addition, because physical stores (i.e. Walmart and the like) typically buy directly from the brand that has the product manufactured, there is virtually no possibility for counterfeit products.  There is one party accountable to the end customer, and that is ultimately the brand.  If the retailer does a bad job at this, it is a poor reflection on them.

The New Way To Buy Baby Products

Amazon has drastically changed the landscape of retail.    The new way consumers buy relies on resellers to give you the variety and convenience that consumers have come to expect.   Resellers are mini online retailers that pay Amazon a commission for every unit they sell on Amazon.   So, when you shop on Amazon, you are not necessarily buying from Amazon, you are buying from a sea of small retailers that are fighting to get you to buy from them.  Many resellers have made millions selling on Amazon.com, so they keep growing and growing every day.  Anyone can sell on Amazon.  Competition and ease for resellers to start selling on Amazon have created a slew of potential issues.

  • False claims – some products may claim to be “freezer safe”, for example, but have not actually been tested to make that claim. Many resellers will add features to create more sales.
  • Fake reviews – Some resellers hire companies that specialize in creating fake reviews that help boost product listings to the top of search results and increase sales.
  • Paid for reviews – reviews that were given in exchange for a free or steeply discounted product.
  • Counterfeit products – If a product does well on Amazon, some unethical manufacturers will make an identical or very similar product and may or may not use the same quality of materials, then sell it for the same amount or less. Counterfeits may use the original branding to pass it off as the original, but sometimes they do change it a tiny bit and use very similar branding to mislead the consumer into mistakenly buying theirs instead of the original.
  • Sellers located overseas shipping direct to the US – These products don’t have to go through the same United States Customs process. Customs scrutinizes large shipments to ensure products are what they say they are and that they meet CPSC guidelines.  Smaller consumer packages often go straight to the consumers.  The other disadvantage to this is it takes a long time to get the product.

Amazon has policies in place to help combat some of these problems and every seller must agree to follow those policies; however, many of the offenders fall through the cracks.  Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from these scenarios, but they may take a little bit away from the convenience you are used to.

What can I do to make sure I buy the best product for my baby?

One way is to do it the old way.  Go into a trusted store.  As mentioned earlier, physical stores have a lot of products that fit most people’s/baby’s needs.  You can rest easy knowing that if you buy something in a store, it has been scrutinized carefully by the store.  If you are looking for a selection most like what you found in Babies R’ Us (BRU), we recommend buybuyBaby (BBB). BBB has even more of a selection than BRU did.  The trouble is, there aren’t as many BBB stores.  If you have one close to you, this is a great place to shop and learn about baby products.  Not only do they have a large variety of proven products, but they also have an excellent staff that can help answer questions and point you in the right direction.  If BBB is too far away, here is a breakdown of the various physical stores you might try.

Store Type

Store

Variety Product Confidence

Physical Stores

buybuyBaby

A A

Walmart

C A
Target D

A

Local Boutiques A*

B*

Amazon N/A**

N/A**

* Independent retailers are a catchall category for retailers that are either online only or only have a handful of physical stores dedicated primarily to baby products.  Some can be excellent in terms of variety and quality assurance, and some can be poor in both.  If you explore locally, you are sure to find some good ones.
** Amazon purchased Whole-Foods, so they do have brick and mortar locations; however, the baby section in these stores has not changed much and is relatively limited.

As you can see from the chart, Walmart and Target may not have the same variety that you can get online; however, they carefully scrutinize the products they offer and the companies that provide them.  We are happy to say that Little Toader products are available in stores and we know firsthand how important quality is to these retailers. It is also worth noting that there are Walmart’s and Targets virtually everywhere, so while you may not have as much selection, you won’t have to wait for your product to ship and you know you are getting a good product.

Navigating Amazon

You think you got the chops to tackle online, fine, but make sure you follow these tips.  You can still find some very good quality products, from reputable companies on Amazon, you just need to do a little homework to make sure you are getting what you think you are getting.

  • Make sure the product’s reviews are on the up and up. There is a website that tells you if the reviews for a product seem fishy.  You can even install a chrome extension, so you can find out without leaving the product page, how legit those reviews are.  Each page will have a “Pass”, “Warning”, or “Fail”.  You can try it out on one of our Little Toader products below.

https://reviewmeta.com/amazon/B00HTURS3Q  Or try a product with ratings that seem too good to be true on Amazon, copy the url at the top (e.g. https://….) and paste in top area of the page on http://reviewmeta.com

  • Verify the accuracy of claims. There are so many resellers that can add content to the product page. Sometimes they may make a claim that will lead to more sales.  We suggest you find the website for the manufacturer of the product and check to see what they say about the product.  You will also be able to verify if you are getting a good deal from that seller.
  • Verify the reliability of the brand. For example, if you search for “Teething Toys” and see several different listings for what appears to be the exact same product, but the packaging is different, this can mean that these products are made overseas, resold to many different people or companies. It is hard to verify the safety of these products with so many different people involved.
  • Check for Counterfeits. There are a lot of well-known brands that have knockoffs.  These can be a little hard to detect because they are made to look just like the real product. If you look at the product listing and notice that the seller has a significantly smaller number of reviews, a shorter history on Amazon, and it is branded slightly different than what you find on the original manufacturer’s website, then be cautious and report it to Amazon.  Counterfeits typically are not made with the same quality of materials.
  • Don’t buy products that ship from overseas. If you are interested in buying collectables, buying a product that ships from overseas may be okay, but if you are buying a baby product, be sure it is shipping from the US.  If the product is Prime, you don’t have to worry about this.  If the product shows a long delivery window, beware.

So, if you want to buy baby products without having to second guess, find a local store that you trust, whether it is buybuyBaby, Walmart, Target, or a baby boutique.  That may not always be the most convenient, so if you are going online, just make sure you are aware of the common gotchas we discussed to protect you and your baby from poor quality products, or products that aren’t quite what they claim to be.

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How do you clean your baby’s pacifier when you are at home or on the go?

Keeping your baby’s pacifiers, teethers, nipples, bottles, etc… clean is key to keeping your baby healthy and well.  Each parent has a different opinion as to what constitutes “clean”.  This opinion will largely drive your preferred method. That being said, here is a quick list of some of the more popular methods used to clean our baby’s “stuff”.

  • Soap and Water
  • Steam Sterilizer
  • Boiling
  • Dishwasher
  • Mom or Dad sucking on the Pacifier

Obviously, some of these are easier to implement than others.  Urgency plays a large factor in the approach taken.  The other factor is perceived effectiveness.  We will go over each and discuss the pros and cons we found on each, so you can decide for yourself.

Mom or Dad sucking on the Pacifier

There is no questioning the ease and simplicity of simply popping your baby’s pacifier into your mouth and sucking off any debris or germs that it may have collected.  There has been a study that suggests introducing your saliva to your baby could prevent the development of allergies such as asthma and eczema (AAP.org) http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/6/e1829.abstract .  I wouldn’t get too excited about this because though there are studies showing that saliva can help, many medical professionals warn against this method as this is also how you can spread viruses to your baby at a critical time when their immune systems have not fully developed. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/pacifiers/art-20048140

Pros: could possibly prevent some allergies – very easy to implement.

Cons: your baby could contract viruses and harmful bacteria from you – most medical professionals recommend you don’t take this approach.

Soap and Water

This is a close second in terms of ease to implement.  You can always pop into a bathroom, even when you are on the go.  Washing with soap and running water is a very effective way to get rid of most of the germs.  After all, it is what you do for yourself whenever your hands get dirty or you are about to put something in your mouth.  Washing with soap and water is typically considered more effective than antibacterial wipes.

Pros: very easy to implement – quick – effective

Cons: it may not get rid of all germs or bacteria

Steam Sterilizers

This method has similar effects to boiling.  It kills germs and bacteria by exposing them to high temperatures.  Note: you must still wash your baby’s pacifiers with soap and water before you put them in the sterilizer to remove the bulk of the germs.  The sterilizer will kill the rest (mostly).   Sterilizing is particularly useful if you don’t have reliable clean water.  There is a wide range of models available that cost $15 – $100.  The less expensive varieties are typically used with the aid of a microwave and require some additional steps in the sterilization process. The more expensive options are just load-and-click.

Pros: will kill any bacteria missed after washing with soap and water – easier than boiling – very important if you don’t have a reliable clean water source.

Cons: when it comes to pacifiers, the “virtually bacteria free” badge only lasts a moment.  Once the pacifier is removed from the sterilizer it will be as clean as your hands and your babies hands and/or anything else that touches it (which is a lot).

Boiling

Boiling is the best way to kill germs.  You can expose the germs to higher heat for long durations when boiling.  You don’t need to buy anything additional to implement this method of cleaning.  You do need to make sure, as with sterilizers, that your products are safe to boil.  Products exposed to this method of sterilization must be able to handle high temperatures without breaking down leaching chemicals.  Refer to your product packaging and/or the manufacturer’s website to confirm they have used third-party testing to confirm their product is safe to boil.

Pros: best way to kill bacteria – no upfront cost to implement – very important if you don’t have a reliable clean water source

Cons: when it comes to pacifiers, as with sterilization, the bacteria-free badge only lasts a moment.  Once the pacifier is removed from the sterilizer it will be as clean as your hands and your babies hands and/or anything else that touches it (which is a lot).  It is the most time-consuming method of cleaning your baby’s products. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/crying-colic/Pages/Pacifiers-Satisfying-Your-Babys-Needs.aspx .The extremely high temperatures may not be recommended for some products; therefore, causing more harm than good. In addition, it is extremely important that you ensure all water is drained from the pacifier after boiling and that it is completely cool before you give it to your baby.

Dishwasher

This is a very desirable method of cleaning your baby’s pacifiers and other products that go in their mouth.  It’s not quite as effective at killing bacteria as steam sterilization and boiling but is more thorough than washing it with soap and water or popping the pacifier in your mouth.  It is certainly a much easier approach to batch cleaning than all the other options.  Most people run their dishwasher every day. There are a few things to be mindful of.  It may or may not be as effective at cleaning if something in the dishwasher is obstructing the water flow.  This could prevent the detergent and water from hitting your pacifier, bottles, nipples or teethers.  You also must be cautious of the potential for detergent residue left on your baby’s pacifier, teether, nipples, bottles, etc….  If you use this approach it is advisable to rinse your baby’s products by hand afterwards.

Pros: you can clean a lot of items at once – it is usually effective (assuming there is nothing obstructing water flow).

Cons: you still need to rinse by hand after the wash cycle – its only practical to do once a day – must still check with your manufacturer to ensure your products can withstand higher temperatures and harsh detergents associated with dishwashers.  It is the longest cleaning process, in terms of time.

What to do?

Now that you know some of the more popular methods for cleaning products your babies put in their mouth, you can decide what will work best for you and your baby.   For every study or source that promotes something, there seems to be a study or source that states otherwise. You will likely use all of these methods sometime or another (except, perhaps, cleaning our baby’s pacifier by sucking on it).

WARNING 1 – Make sure you read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and care.  Some products will explicitly state you should not boil, use sterilizers, or put in a dishwasher (or use top rack only).  If you aren’t sure, check the manufacturer’s website or the packaging for the product.

WARNING 2 – With any cleaning approach you use, thoroughly inspect all of your baby’s products for any signs of wear and tear prior to each use. If you see any signs, discard the product and replace it.

Teething Bracelets and Teething Necklaces could pose strangulation and choking risks to babies, warns FDA
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Urgent Notification: FDA Warns of Teething Jewelry (amber, silicone, beaded, and non-beaded) posing life threatening choking and strangulation hazards

Teething can be one of the most painful stages our babies go through. When looking for a teething remedy it is important to understand the options available and to follow any and all care and use instructions listed on the product packaging.  In this recent FDA warning, teething items like the necklaces and bracelets have been identified as posing life-threatening choking and strangulation hazards. Please be sure to understand the risks associated with various teething remedies.  Below is a short summary of the full article. Access the full article here to get the most recent warning.

The FDA’s warning was written in response to incidents of beads breaking off from necklaces and bracelets, and incidents of strangulation.

ITEMS INCLUDED IN WARNING:

  • Necklaces/Bracelets made of
    • Amber
    • Silicone
    • Marble
    • Wood
  • Necklaces/Bracelets worn by
    • Adults
    • Babies

As parents, we have long been proponents of products that are one, solid single part as it reduces the likelihood of the product breaking off.

Summary: Regardless of the teething remedy you use, don’t leave your child unsupervised and always inspect items your baby is likely to put in their mouth for cracks, tears, or any other type of wear and tear. If you observe any wear and tear such as those described, the teether should be discarded and no longer used.

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Getting Ready For Halloween

Are you ready for Halloween?!? It’s a little over a month away!

Time to start planning those Halloween costumes, getting treats and decorating.

If it’s your baby’s first Halloween it can be a very exciting time picking out their first costume, taking the perfect pictures and taking them trick-or-treating.

My little ones have their costumes picked out already, this year I will have a hot dog, cat witch, unicorn princess and a dinosaur.

What are your children going to be for Halloween?

panda2

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Summer Outdoor Activities

Summer is in full swing and it looks wonderful outside! No more staying cooped up inside with the kids, time to get out and explore! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

– Nature Walk: Just a simple walk in your own yard or down your block. Look for leaves, sticks, bugs and birds.

– Go to the Park: Swings, slide, money bars and new friends!

– Water Play: Get out the pool, a few buckets, some cups, squirt guns, etc. Kids love to get wet!

– Zoo, Aquarium, Museum: Head out for some educational fun, many offer summer classes for kids of all ages.

Share your ideas! What are you doing with your kids this summer?

-1

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Valentine’s Day Tradition

[two_third] Traditionally Valentine’s Day is known as a day for lovers but now that you’re a parent it is the perfect time to start some new traditions with your children. It is a day for love, a day to tell those you love how much you love them.

Start a new tradition with your children on Valentine’s Day; find a way to share the love with your whole family! Here are a few ideas:

  1. Decorate their bedroom door with some streamers for a fun surprise when they wake up in the morning.
  2. Make a Valentine’s Day themed breakfast.
  3. Have everyone in the family make each other cards and write one thing they love about each other.
  4. Call extended family members and tell them that you love them.

How do you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day with your children?

[/two_third]

[one_third_last]

Want a safe Valentine’s Day treat for your baby?

[/one_third_last]

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5 Easy Steps to Make & Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

new year's resolutionEach year, families create their own New Year’s resolutions to try and live healthier lifestyles, spend more time together, improve their finances, and more. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to craft a New Year’s resolution that it is to stick to them. This is especially true when you make them as a family and everyone has to do their part to achieve the goal. However, it is better to work as a team and support each other. Resolutions are also a great way to teach kids about the effectiveness and importance of setting goals, and how to see them through. Here are 5 tips to help you make and stick to your New Year’s resolution.

1. Brainstorm an idea together.

As a group, your whole family should come up with ideas together, and then decide on which works best for you all. Typically, families want to save more money, use less energy, get more fit, or spend more quality time together. Have every person contribute one idea so everyone feels included. Then, think of some creative ways to actually meet your goal. Will you take a short walk every evening? Will you designate a movie night?

2. Measure your progress.

It’s important to set milestones for yourself so you know if you’re working towards your goal or just slacking. Set up a calendar or list somewhere public in your house that everyone can access. Then, write down what each person’s responsibility will be so everyone knows how they’re accountable. This will help everyone stay motivated and working toward the goal.

3. Reward yourselves.

Often achieving the resolution isn’t enough to keep us motivated. Come up with a clear reward for each person involved. Ideally this is something that can be broken into mini-rewards and given out along the way by meeting your mini-goals. If your resolution is a lofty goal (like loose 20 pounds or save a bunch of money), you’ll need to find some way to reinforce your sense of accomplishment and keep you going.

4. Try something different.

Break up the monotony of a boring routine by meeting your resolution differently. If your resolution is to be more environmentally conscious, do 1 new thing each month to ease yourself into the new lifestyle. This will help prevent sliding back into bad habits. If you’re trying to loose weight, perform different exercises so the same routine doesn’t get boring. Don’t try to do too much at once or you risk giving up all together.

5. Tell your family and friends.

Once you spread the word that you’e trying to change yourself with  a New Year’s resolution, it’s good to let the people in your life know about it. This will make you feel accountable to them and keep you motivated. You don’t want to disappoint your friends! Plus, with all the support and cheering you’ll receive, it will make the whole task easier. You might even convince them to make a change in their own lives!

Image courtesy of  Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

nursing pillowGuest blog by Sandy Clark, Inventor of San Diego Bebe Eco-Nursing Pillow

San Diego Bebe® was designed by San Diego native Sandy Clark, a passionate breastfeeding advocate and mother of twins. Clark was inspired at a San Diego beach one day where she witnessed a young mother unsuccessfully nursing her baby. As the mother struggled to keep a blanket across her shoulder while her baby wailed from heat and hunger, Clark vowed then and there to design a product that would help resolve the issue of privacy while nursing. San Diego Bebe® was born that day.

When Clark sent her nursing pillow to Duke to be tested and reviewed, Duke University Chemical Scientist Dr. Heather Stapleton, who is a mother herself, said, “The San Diego Bebe® Eco-Nursing Pillow is not only a very supportive pillow with amazing features for discreet nursing, but is also free of flame-retardant chemicals that have been shown to cause adverse health effects in animal studies. I applaud Double Blessings (Clark’s company) for taking steps to produce high quality products that meet the same flammability standards without using these chemicals.”

San Diego Bebe® Eco-Nursing Pillow is the healthiest and most innovative nursing pillow on the market. Made with virgin polyfiber Eco*Loft™, a non-toxic and hypo-allergenic foam-alternative, it’s void of harmful chemicals. It’s also recyclable and eco-friendly. San Diego Bebe® is available in two versions, for nursing one baby or twins. The entire line is baby-safe, and is covered with deluxe plush fabrics including organic cotton.

Click to view a Nursing Pillow Comparison Chart to learn more.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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