"Don't take up a man's time talking about the smartness of you children; he wants to talk to you about the smartness of his children."

Why renting kids clothes could save your style + budget, mama

Kids grow so fast and styles change constantly so it's super easy to spend more than we would like on clothes. Luckily, a new kids service from Rent the Runway aims to help parents keep kids stylish and on budget.

The new service, RTR Kids, is an extension of the adult service and is expected to launch with wardrobe options for girls between 3 and 12 (sorry for now, boy moms). "We decided to do kids [clothing] based on the requests and pleas from our subscribers and community," says Rent the Runway COO Maureen Sullivan, according to Fashionista. "I think people have realized it's so impractical to buy your kids more expensive clothing — even though it's so tempting — based on how infrequently kids get dressed up and how quickly they grow."

The RTR Unlimited Plan is $159 per month (after getting $80 off a 60-day trial), and soon customers will be able to add kids clothes to their order. RTR Reserve (which starts at $30 for a four day rental) is also an option for parents who just need one special outfit for a special occasion.

Brands include Milly Minis, Little Marc Jacobs, Fendi Kids, Philosophy Girls, LoveShackFancy Kids, Marni and Chloé.

There will be "mommy-and-me"...

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Go rest and do nothing, mama—your children will thank you

At the end of every school year, from the time I was a student into my early years of teaching, I would hide away for a few days in my home, snuggle on my couch and sleep endlessly. The end of the school year was a time to pause, rest and renew before re-entering the world. My body needed that shut down.

These days, being mom as well as teacher that period of rest is much harder to come by. But I don't need them any less. As we all well know, I probably need them more.

And recently I was really feeling it—the intense need to shut it all off, dive into myself and block out the world around me.

Everything has felt as though it was on overdrive for a while. I reached my limit. I wasn't the only one. The whole family was off, for lack of a better description.

We escaped for a weekend in the woods, to a small island in Puget Sound, where there isn't that much to do, but ample room to be. The noise turned off. My body relaxed. I slept. I napped. I could have napped some more. A lot more. I could use a very long stretch of nothing.

In a moment of quiet, I realized how essential the work of being and resting is for my family. What importance there is in learning to rest and restore, to...

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I had an unexpected C-section and these pictures tell my story

I have PCOS, so getting pregnant wasn't easy. After three years, countless fertility treatments, four miscarriages and one round of IVF, my husband Michael and I learned that a healthy male embryo was sprouting inside of me. I was anxious and worried and scared. But I was also overjoyed and hopeful.

Once I hit the 24-week mark (a point that I had yet to reach with my other pregnancies), I tried to set my mind free from all the worries and had a renewed sense of determination. I wanted to welcome my son into this world with a drug-free vaginal birth.

But I had gestational diabetes. So my doctor scheduled an induction at 39 weeks, right before Memorial Day. The morning of my induction started like any other day, except when I used the bathroom, I felt a huge gush. My water broke, and for once, I thought, my body was cooperating with me and I may avoid induction.

Our doula Laura advised me to get active to help my body get into active labor. For the next several hours, I bounced on my ball, walked around and did nipple stimulation. As the contractions came on, they were only about eight minutes apart. I began doubting myself and decided it was time to go for my induction...

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My husband won't be my birth coach—and we're both okay with that

[Editor's note: This story is a an essay about a women and her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

The first birth I ever witnessed took place at home. It was my sister's fourth and by this point she was an old hand, as was my brother-in-law. There were two licensed midwives standing by, but they didn't get to earn their keep because my brother-in-law provided nearly 100% of the emotional support, coaching and delivery assistance. He was the one who caught my nephew and put him on my sister's chest. He, not a paid medical professional, was the first one to see his newborn son's face.

This all happened long before I even met my husband, but I always kept that image in the back of my mind as my ideal birth experience.

We've come a long way from the days when fathers were relegated to waiting rooms, pacing and smoking helplessly until the medical powers-that-be decided they were allowed to see their own wife and child. In the US it wasn't until the 1970s that it began to be considered normal for fathers to be present during delivery.

Fathers finally taking...

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A heavy load: Should homework be banned in elementary school?

Increasing research shows that increasing amounts of homework for elementary-aged kids have downsides in their lives and households.

While homework may seem like a necessary part of life for high school students, more research has shown it's consuming significant amounts of time for the youngest kids, right down to kindergarten, and some school districts are dealing with the problem by simply banning homework.

While some schools are reluctant to make such a drastic move, it is clear that children are getting too much homework right now.

Although the National Education Association endorses the “10-minute rule," which means 10 minutes of homework for first-graders, 20 for second-graders and so on, a 2015 report published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found some elementary school students were getting up to three times the recommended amount of homework per night.

“It is absolutely shocking to me to find out that particularly kindergarten students (who) are not supposed to have any homework at all... are getting as much homework as a third-grader is supposed to get," Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, the contributing editor of the study and clinical director of the New...

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Chip + Joanna Gaines just made a big announcement about their new TV network

Remember when Chip and Joanna Gaines were on The Tonight Show and Chip let it slip that a TV network was in the works?

Well, it's now official! People reports Chip and Jo's new network takes over Discovery's DIY Network next summer. So plan to do some serious binge-watching in 2020, mama.

The channel's going to be a mix of new home design (of course), food and wellness content. And all the old episodes of Fixer Upper will also have a home there. "Our intention with this network is to create and curate content that inspires, encourages, and helps to build bridges across our communities. We want honest, authentic programming that brings families together," Chip and Jo said in a joint statement.

The couple has come so far since Fixer Upper hit the HGTV lineup in 2013 and became a breakout hit for the network. They walked away from the show in 2017, took time for their family (and had a baby!) and we can't wait to see what kind of programming they serve up on the new network, where they will be serving as the Chief Creative Officers (the current President of HGTV, Allison Page will also be president of the new network).

"The difference moving forward is Jo and I are going to be able...

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Madewell's got matching mom + me outfits—and all our #twinning dreams have come true

If you're looking to do some #twinning with your kids this Mother's Day, Madewell has what you've been looking for, mama.

They just launched their second collaboration with Crewcuts, including The Embroidered Denim collection has which some matching mom and daughter looks we are totally loving.

Check out the options from this adorable collection:

Madewell x crewcuts Kids' Confetti Floral Embroidered Denim Shift Dress, $75

Super cute on its own or layered over a tee, this shift dress is all about love with the adorable heart pocket detail. Sizes 3 to 14 are up on Madewell.com.


Mama's Embroidered Denim Courier Shirt $79.50 

Madewell embroidered denim shirt

A great top for spring (that's easy to wash), this 100% cotton, oversized shirt is perfectly springy.


Madewell x crewcuts Kids' Floral Embroidered Jean Jacket, $69.50

Over the matching dress or on its own with a tee and jeans, this kid's jean jacket is on trend and great for layering in this season where the little ones are hot one minute, and cold the next.

This one's going fast! Sizes 2, 3, 8, 10 and 12 are the only ones left.


Wide-Leg Crop Jeans: Confetti Floral Embroidered Edition, $145.00 

Cropped, comfy and with an extra high rise, these pants...

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Amazon has toy vacuum cleaners that actually work!

Little kids always want to help, and parents certainly want to foster that helpful attitude, but sometimes—like when you're trying to vacuum the living room—it's hard for kids to assist. Little arms can't lift heavy vacuum cleaners and toy vacuums that don't have suction can seem lame to kids who want to really help out.

Enter the toy Dyson vacuum: A plaything with (a little) suction power, so kids can vacuum alongside dad or mom and actually suck up some dirt.

It's fun, it's practical and if it keeps the kids from playing with your expensive adult vacuum, it's $30 well spent.


Casdon Toys UK on Instagram: “The Casdon Dyson Ball Vacuum is a just like the latest 'Ball' model, it has working suction along with a 'twist & turn' action for Little…”


This toy Dyson is made by UK toy company Casdon, but it's available stateside through Amazon, Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond and typically retails for about $30.

It's got a 4-star rating on Amazon with more than 2,700 reviews, and many parents report their kids love it.

Don't expect this toy to vacuum like your real Dyson though, but some parents share that it can pick up little bits of paper, dirt and animal hair, so the kids...

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Motherhood is: Sitting in the dark as your child learns to sleep on their own

My son is a good sleeper. He was born big at 9 lbs, 9 oz and after just a month, he began sleeping in stretches, letting my husband and I piece together four or five hours of rest at a time.

By the time he was 3 or 4 months old, he would sleep soundly for 10 hours at a time as long as I remembered to dream feed him a few hours after he first drifted off.

When he was 13 months old, we transitioned him to his own crib, in his own room. It felt odd at first, not hearing his night noises, the little snuffles and grunts that had become the background noise we fell asleep to each night, but it felt good, too. I relished being able to talk with my husband before we fell asleep and getting ready in my own room in the morning instead of gathering my clothes and sneaking into the hall bathroom.

My son is almost two now and he knows his bedtime routine well. He loves his bath, his stories and his special pajamas. On a usual night he leads the routine, instructing me on the steps, pushing towards rest as soon as he feels tired.

Despite his usual good temperament when it comes to bedtime and naps, he does have the occasional bad night or bad week. This week has been one of them. He's been happy...

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Royal baby name bets: Why 'Diana' is the top choice for many Brits

It seems the bookies in Britain have a favorite when it comes to potential baby names for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (and if we're honest, it's our favorite, too).

Despite recent speculation that 'Victoria' will be the pick, 'Diana' remains in the top spot with 6/1 odds at UK betting site Ladbrokes.

We're not entirely sure what that means other than that bettors in the U.K. seem confident that Prince Harry's child will be named after his late mother. As much as we would love to see that, we're not as confident as the punters at Ladbrokes. After all, Princess Charlotte's full name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, so would Harry and Meghan want to use the name as well? Only time will tell.

Following Diana and the runner-up, Victoria, are several other traditional English names bettors feel good about:

Albert (which was the frontrunner back when everyone was guessing what Prince Louis' name would be) is sitting at 12/1 odds, as are Alice and Phillip. Arthur, Elizabeth, James and Mary are sitting at 16/1 odds, and Alexander and Alexandra are tied for the tenth spot with 20/1 odds as of this writing.

If you're wondering why the girls names outnumber the boys, it's because British...

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Uh-oh: Persistent preschooler locks dad out of his iPad for the next 48 years ?

It's what every parent fears when they pry their phone or tablet from toddler hands: Getting locked out.

And one dad is now going viral for his epic lockout. Evan Osnos, a writer with The New Yorker, tweeted that his 3-year-old tried to unlock his iPad and locked dad out for an amazing 25,536,442 minutes. So like a solid 48 years.

"Uh, this looks fake but, alas, it's our iPad today after 3-year-old tried (repeatedly) to unlock. Ideas?" he tweeted along with a photo of the iPad lock screen.

Some Twitter users suggested Osnos save the locked iPad and give it to his child for their 50th birthday, while others joked "reboot your 3-year-old." Others suggested more practical solutions by linking to technical instructions on what to actually do in this scenario.

The story attracted attention worldwide, and according to Apple, it's not impossible to fix.

"If you enter the wrong passcode on an iOS device too many times, you'll be locked out and a message will say that your device is disabled. At this point, the data on your device has been erased. To recover the use of your device, you'll need to remove your passcode by performing a restore," Apple's instructions...

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*This* is the stroller every parent needs for naps on the go

If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.

The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.


Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that...

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Birth boundaries: Why Meghan Markle's private birth is a powerful message to fellow mamas

The moment she announced her pregnancy, the speculation about Meghan Markle's birth plan began. Would she deviate from recent royal tradition and ditch the Lindo Wing for a more private birth? Or would the Duchess of Sussex appear on the steps of St. Mary's with a fresh blowout, a newborn in her arms and heels on her feet?

On Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided "to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family."

A mother-to-be should be empowered and supported to make her own choices during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

Just because Meghan Markle's sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband's late mother, Princess Diana, both made swift public appearances outside the hospital following the birth of each of their children doesn't mean that Meghan should. The Duchess of Sussex has always made it clear that she is a feminist, and nothing is more feminist than a mama doing what works best for her and her baby, even if that means...

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Deal alert: J.Crew just launched an affordable kids collection on Amazon! ?

Kids are pretty rough on their clothes so it makes sense that mamas want to get a bargain—but sometimes, taking the kids to the mall to sift through sale racks isn't an option.

That's why we love that J.Crew launched an affordable crewcuts collection on Amazon! And we really love that all the pieces are under $30.

Here are some of our favorite looks in this super affordable and convenient collection.

LOOK by crewcuts Girls' 3/4 Sleeve Bow Shoulder Top, $18.00 

crewcuts striped shirt with bows

Classic with a cute twist, this black and white striped top with shoulder bow details is super adorable and at $18.00 it's affordable, too.


LOOK by crewcuts Boys' Long Sleeve Chambray Shirt, $25.00

J.Crew Chambray shirt boys

Every stylish kid needs a chambray shirt and this long-sleeved version is perfect for dressing up or down.


LOOK by crewcuts Girls' Flare Sleeve Dress, $26.00

This trendy dress comes in multiple colors and would make a great Easter outfit. And at just $26.00 you won't be too worried if it gets some grass stains during the hunt for eggs.


LOOK by crewcuts Boys' 2-Pack Knit Pull on Shorts, $24.00

There's nothing like a two-for-one deal! These shorts work out to be just $12 a pair, so stock up for summer now, mama.


LOOK by...

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The real reason it's so hard to make mom friends

My children put me in situations with other moms all the time at the playground, school events and activities. Yet I can count on one hand the number of true blue mom friends I've met under these circumstances.

A mom friend is someone who just gets you and the experience of being a mother. She lives nearby making popovers and quick visits convenient, and her schedule aligns with yours for playdates. She always saves you a seat at soccer practice and knows how to listen without judgment.

It's a valuable friendship we covet because the relationship is a gateway into the world of adults, and that's more than just a nice thing to have. It's a necessity. Google “making mom friends" and see how many results pop up. If there are so many of us looking for more mom friends to share the mundane, maddening and marvelous moments of motherhood, then why is it so hard to actually make them?

A lot of times, the challenge is chalked up to the logistics involved in befriending a fellow mom, and this is valid. The practical reality of being out and about with kids—their distractions, interruptions, and schedules—make it tricky to get past casual conversations to form meaningful bonds. But this...

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Make toddler mealtime less messy with this, mama

Mealtime with toddlers can be messy. Whether you're introducing a new (and, in a toddler's eyes, questionable) ingredient or simply trying to fill up those little bellies before bed, things don't always go according to plan. In our home, what's on the menu is often met with a fair amount of resistance (broccoli, meet threenager...threenager, this is broccoli), and occasionally it even meets with the floor—or ceiling.

My husband and I try to enforce a strict "no plate pushing!" rule at dinner, but we can't always keep up with a sassy toddler's lightning reflexes. More than once, the dinner I had prepared met an untimely end as it slid off the counter or table.

Oh, butternut mac and cheese...we hardly knew ye.

But if your toddler is a plate pusher like mine, there is a solution. The OXO Tot Stick & Stay plates and bowls feature a suction cup base that clings to any smooth surface or highchair tray, proving nearly impossible for little ones to remove. (Don't worry, adults simply have to locate the wave pattern on the silicone skirt where they can inconspicuously lift the silicone base to release the suction easily—just don't tell your kid that.)


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I miss my husband

[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

I miss my husband.

It seems silly for me to say that, because it is silly, because he's right here next to me most of the time. In a development that has surprised at least 65% of the guests at our wedding all those years ago (including probably both of us), we are still very much married, with four kids, and all the chaos to show for it.

But I miss him still. It's true, even as we move around each other through the kitchen and the bedrooms and the school concerts and the 500 grocery store trips we take per week, combined. I miss him the way you miss something you used to have and totally took for granted, like collagen or personal space or uninterrupted sleep.

We are good at what we do, tag-teaming our way through this working and parenting life like a well oiled machine on our good days, passing kids to each other like relay batons without even breaking our strides. It's a thing of beauty, a master dance that took years to achieve and yet still is so tenuous that...

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Postpartum depression left me feeling empty with holes I didn't know how to fill

Nine weeks after giving birth to my daughter, I scheduled a horseback riding lesson. I'd been stuck under a wave of postpartum depression that was stubbornly lingering, like the cold damp that refused to let up even though the calendar said spring. The advice from everyone—friends, family, even my doctor—was to do something for myself, something I had enjoyed pre-baby.

Horses, I thought. Horses would be that. My weekly lessons had never failed to bring me joy. I loved everything about the barn: the sweet smell of sweat and hay, the way curious heads poked out over the half doors of their stall, the feel of the leather tack, the power and harmony and effort it took to make the riding look seamless, effortless.

Horses were supposed to make me feel better. They always had before. But when the day of my lesson arrived, everything that could go wrong was going wrong. My daughter had received her first round of shots the day before and was more fussy and clingy than she'd ever been, sleeping poorly and waking up hourly to chomp at my breast.

After a night spent holding and rocking her, I watched dawn break to that annoying in-between rain/not rain— the kind of mist that somehow...

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To the mama in the thick of it: You don’t need to be everything to everyone

Looking back 12 years, I adored our family of four. We had two happy, silly, lovable boys who were just beginning preschool and kindergarten. My partner, Steve, and I were starting to feel like real adults, with jobs and kids and a house to take care of. Life was complicated but beautiful. Our son, David, had a disability, Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, which meant he needed to be fed, diapered, and assisted with most activities.

It seemed like there was always someone who needed my attention. I wanted to give each of my boys—my sons and my husband—what they needed, but that required more time and energy than I had. So I defaulted to my old strategy of setting myself aside.

In our little family, denying my needs and wants meant there was one less complicating factor to manage. Plus, I reminded myself that I was doing a good thing by loving and serving others. I felt confident that this would not only make my boys happy, but it would also fill my heart and make me happy. Best of all, if everyone was happy, I would be okay. I would be enough. I would be lovable. Deep down, that's what I really wanted—to be loved.

Although we had finally found our way into a new normal, I felt...

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18 emotional photos of partners meeting their baby for the first time ?

There's no feeling that compares to the moment you become a mama, but one that feels just as sweet is seeing your partner with your baby for the first time. Regardless of how your baby came into this world or how this tiny human was created, there's just something about seeing the person you love the most with your child.

We asked #TeamMotherly to share photos of those precious first moments. With more than 2,500 responses, we couldn't share all of them here so if you're feeling *all of the feels* take a look at the full thread.

"After a long battle with infertility, this was the first time my husband held his son.💙"—Jennifer B.

"I'm a single mom, so here's my service dog meeting my newborn. He was there through my labor and delivery. 💜"—Rebecca L. M.

"My wife reassuring me that I'm still alive and that we're okay—40 week appointment preeclampsia diagnosis, and a crash C-section because both baby boy and I were in big trouble. I'll never forget this, truly the best moment of my life so far. ❤️😭"—Danielle N.R.

"I was 34 weeks pregnant with our daughter when he got diagnosed with AML Fast Acting Leukemia, got sent to Indy the day he walked out after a month...

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One baby, 3 parents: A new kind of IVF

If you ask most people, there are some immutable facts of life: The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Winter leads to spring. And babies have two biological parents.

But as the BBC reports, fertility doctors in Greece and Spain they've used genetic material from three people to conquer a mother's infertility.

The baby boy was born earlier this week to a 32-year-old mother who previously went through four unsuccessful cycles of IVF, before doctors who used an experimental form of IVF. They took genetic material out of the mother's egg, placed it into a donor egg and used sperm from the intended father. The baby has a tiny amount of DNA from the donor woman, but most of his DNA comes from his parents.

The team behind this pregnancy hopes more infertile people will become parents by using this form of IVF, but some experts suggest it should be reserved for families affected by deadly mitochondrial diseases.

Tim Child, from the University of Oxford and the medical director of The Fertility Partnership, tells the BBC: "I'm concerned that there's no proven need for the patient to have her genetic material removed from her eggs and transferred into the eggs of a donor."...

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3 reasons why I'm letting go of bottle-feeding guilt

From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed,...

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These viral photos capture the beauty of home birth and the strength of women

They are the moments that change a mother's life, body and soul, and birth photographer Vanessa Mendez has dedicated herself to preserving birth stories, giving them life outside of mama's memory.

A recent birth she documented, the arrival of baby Indigo June, has gone viral because it highlights the beauty of birth and the incredible strength mothers possess.

"Women are filled with such power and such strength," Mendez wrote on Facebook, where her series of photos documenting Vanessa DeCosta's recent home birth has been shared nearly 350,000 times.

When DeCosta, now a mom of two, felt the early signs of impending birth in the early morning hours, she was preparing herself for a long labor like the one she had before giving birth to her first child, son Golden Wilde.

Knowing that her husband (who is in the Army's Interservice Physician Assistant Program) had a big microbiology test the next day, she let him sleep and took her phone into the bathroom where she settled into the bathtub, being as quiet as possible—but soon she couldn't be quiet anymore and it became clear that this labor would be different from her first.

"My body seemed to be taking over and every...

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Disney's new streaming service only costs $6.99 a month ?

It's been nearly two years since Disney announced it was leaving Netflix to start its own Disney-branded streaming video services, and now we know what will be on it, and how much it will cost.

The service is called Disney+ and will cost $6.99 per month, or almost $70 a year, and it launches on November 12, 2019.

For a lot of parents who've already included a $12.99 Netflix subscription in the household budget, this means you might have to make a choice between the next season of Stranger Things and the forthcoming Frozen 2.

The Frozen sequel isn't the only anticipated kids' movie that will hit the Disney stream in 2019: It seems the live-action Lion King and Dumbo sequels won't end up on Netflix, and neither will Star Wars Episode VIII or Toy Story 4.

As Engadget reports, the streaming service will be home to the Marvel cinematic universe and will be streaming the new Capital Marvel movie (it's so good!) from day one. The Simpsons will also be on Disney+, as will all the Pixar and Star Wars stuff,

It's not great news for Netflix-loving households. But if you always wished you had access to the Disney vault, the new streaming service could be a good fit for you.

Back when the news...

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When you and your partner disagree on how to raise the kids

[Editor's note: This story is a an essay about a women and her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

In the beginning, I didn't realize how different the parenting styles of my husband and I were. We wanted to imbue our children with the same values (kindness, respect for others, enthusiasm for learning) and had the same goals (getting them out of the house and independent enough to schedule their own doctor's appointments by the time they graduate).

When your children are babies, let's face it, there's not a lot of actual parenting that goes on. Aside from loving them unconditionally, at that stage parenting is mostly care-taking: changing diapers, wiping runny noses and the like. Yet, at that point, we still had the same values (discussing how our children were the cutest on earth) and goals (getting them to sleep for more than two hours at a time).

The first year or two, we rarely disagreed. We had the same opinions on babywearing (great for naps), breastfeeding (free food), and vaccines (as many as advisable, as soon as possible). But as our children grew...

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All models of Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play recalled after infant deaths

Pediatricians and grieving parents have been calling for it to happen for years, and on Friday it finally did.

All models of the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play sleeper have been recalled, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced.

The CPSC says parents "should immediately stop using the product and contact Fisher-Price for a refund or voucher".

The recall follows a long-simmering controversy and a Consumer Reports investigation into the Rock n'Play.

More than 30 babies have died in Rock 'n Play Sleepers since 2009 (some were restrained and some were not) and hundreds of injuries have been reported. Facing mounting pressure from the public, the recall has finally been issued.

If you have a Rock n' Play, do not put your baby in it. Go to service.mattel.com and click on "Recalls & Safety Alerts" or at 866-812-6518 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday for more information on how to get your refund or refund or voucher.

You might also like:

  • Why Consumer Reports wants the Rock 'n Play recalled
  • What parents need to know about the huge spike in ER visits for kids who swallow objects
  • 10 safe sleep guidelines every parent, grandparent and caregiver...

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Are first-born children more intelligent? Behind the viral headlines

Parenting multiple children of different ages isn't easy. Your firstborn is going to have different strengths and challenges than your youngest or your middle child—and not just because they are older, but because they are the oldest.

Recently, a 2016 study resurfaced online and went viral. It suggests that first-borns are more intelligent than their younger siblings—but despite the snappy headlines, it's not so simple.

That study, published in The Journal of Human Resources, suggests there is a cognitive gap related to birth order, as younger kids score lower on assessments than their older siblings as early as 12 months old.

The researchers believe that "broad shifts in parental behavior from first to later-born children is a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labor market outcomes."

In layman's terms: Parents are often more mindful about pursuing enriching activities the first time around, and we tend to relax as parents (and get busier) by the time our second child is in the picture.

Our younger children will have different early experiences than a first-born but don't feel guilty, mama. There are so many things you can do to boost...

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What parents need to know about the huge spike in ER visits for kids who swallow objects

It's a trend emergency room staff have noticed but parents haven't: The number of kids under six needing medical help for swallowing objects they shouldn't has gone up significantly in the last two decades. Luckily, there's a lot parents can do to keep their kids safe and bring this number back down.

A new study to be published in the journal Pediatrics found that since 1995 the number of children swallowing things like batteries, jewelry and toys has gone from 22,000 in 1995 to 43,000 in 2015.

But there's no need to panic. Most kids (90%) who swallow some random thing are sent home from the ER without needing to be hospitalized. It all depends on what they swallow.

Coins are the big one, representing a whopping 62% of such cases, but battery ingestion is on the rise. Batteries only represent about 7% of the things kids end up in the ER for swallowing, but in the last two decades, these incidents have increased by 150% (probably because we have a lot more button batteries around our homes than we did in 1995).

The problem with button batteries

These little tiny batteries are found in all kinds of stuff, like key fobs, remotes, digital thermometers, toys and even those singing...

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Can we get real with you, mama?

There are cracker crumbs on the floor right now. We've been wearing yoga pants most of the week, and don't even get us started on how much dry shampoo is in our hair. But you know what? This week, we're celebrating the moms who keep it real like we do. The ones who remember that it's the little moments that make us so lucky (like this mama!). To us, those are the wins that matter anyway.



PS. Can we get a 🙌 for Megan Markle keeping it royally real? Plus, we're digging this budget friendly way to dress our kids.

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10 ways babywearing benefits both mothers and babies

If you have a newborn at home, you're likely carrying them for hours on end. That's totally normal. Newborns want to be near you, on you and held by you. But this need that your baby has can make everyday life a lot trickier. How are you going to text that friend you've been wanting to see for so long, if you have a baby in your arms? How about pouring yourself a glass of water or carrying grocery bags? One word: babywearing!

Babywearing—the act of wearing or carrying your baby with the help of a special carrier—has been around for centuries. Nomadic people used to wear their babies to travel with them more effectively. And families in Africa, Mexico and many other parts of the world still to this day use specialized fabrics or traditional carriers on the daily. In the past couple of years, this old tradition has gained popularity in the United States. That's because babywearing provides the best of both worlds—a loving way to hold your baby and the convenience of hands-free parenting.

Here are 10 benefits of babywearing, for both baby and you.

1. It's great for traveling with your baby.

Babywearing allows you to go places without having to push a stroller or carry it from one...

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14 Easy Relaxation Practices to Share With Your Children and Teens

Everyone experiences times when they wish they could relax for a few minutes. Taking a few moments to engage in simple, everyday relaxation techniques will help to sustain and strengthen you throughout your day. If you have relaxation practices that work for you and help your body to re-energize, you might wonder how you can […]

The post 14 Easy Relaxation Practices to Share With Your Children and Teens appeared first on .

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Joanna Gaines on her surprise pregnancy:  'If you ever want to feel young again, have a baby at 40'

When Joanna and Chip Gaines announced they were expecting again, eight years after welcoming their fourth child, Fixer Upper fans were shocked. But no one was quite as surprised as Chip and Jo.

And now, Jo says that having a baby in her arms is making her feel young again as she approaches her 41st birthday.

"I kid with people, 'If you ever want to feel young again, have a baby at 40,' " she tells People. "It's brought this whole new thing for me where I'm a lot more laid-back. People joke that I'm the 'Fun Jo' now."

Instagram followers now that Jo has been embracing her fun side with some impromptu bookstore appearances for the release of her new children's book and its clear Crew inspires his mom to get silly.

Joanna Stevens Gaines on Instagram: “Dance party on aisle 3! Crew and I stopped by the @barnesandnoble in Palm Springs today and secretly signed a few books to celebrate the…”

Jo has been open about what a shock to the system a pregnancy at 40 was, getting personal in an an emotional essay for the fall issue of her magazine, Magnolia Journal.

"I truly believed I was done...And yet, after eight...

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Pediatricians are calling for a soda tax—what parents need to know

The other day I asked my 3-year-old what he wanted for dinner and he had one word for me: "Coke." I laughed pretty hard at that one (and suggested actual food instead) but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), kids' consumption of calorie-laden sodas isn't funny, it's actually alarming.

The AAP is joining the American Heart Association in calling for a tax on soda, as well as other proposed policies for federal, state, and local lawmakers to reduce the amount of sugar America's kids are consuming.

The AAP's new policy statement, "Public Policies to Reduce Sugary Drink Consumption in Children and Adolescents," recommends taxing soda, limiting the marketing of sugary drinks to children, and making healthier beverages more financially attractive to parents.

While current guidelines suggest kids get fewer than 10% of their daily calories from added sugars, research shows kids get about 17% of their calories from added sugars, with about half of those coming from soda and other sugary drinks, the AAP notes."On average, children are consuming over 30 gallons of sugary drinks every year. This is enough to fill a bathtub, and it doesn't even include added sugars from...

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What Gabrielle Union learned when her daughter went through a no nap phase

We've all been there. You've got into a rhythm with this new motherhood thing, living your life in three-hour increments and carefully planning your showers, meals and general self-care during nap time.

And then suddenly, nap time stops and you're left wondering how you're supposed to do anything when you've got a baby who won't let you put them down. This is exactly what new mom Gabrielle Union-Wade was dealing with when her daughter Kaavia James, who is almost 5 months old, fell out of her nap habit.

"Kaavia went through a phase of not napping. I was like, 'When do I shower or pee or live?' " Union-Wade says in an interview for the May issue of Parents, People reports. "So I had to get a little comfortable with her crying, which I had not been. And then I took the quickest shower of all time!"

Gabrielle Union-Wade on Instagram: “Perfect Sunday 💖🥰 @kaaviajames”

This is something so many of us can relate to. Many babies go through a phase where they don't want to be put down, regardless of how much mama needs to use the bathroom or shower.

Plenty of moms have had to dance in the shower to...

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12 nutritious foods to eat in the first month after childbirth

The first few weeks home with your new baby can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. And though the first month postpartum would be a great time to focus on your health and wellbeing, self-care probably won't be at the top of your list. But you don't have to leave the house to take care of yourself, mama.

In fact, what you eat will go a long way to help you be, look and feel like your best self.

Now, I'm under no assumption that in your sleep-deprived state, you will want to chop vegetables and grilling chicken for a salad, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice eating healthy.

Here are 12 everyday items that are great to have in the house for those early weeks when you can't work out yet and when opening the refrigerator or cabinet is the most you are willing to take on.

1. Oatmeal

This complex carb is high in fiber and protein, so it will fill you up and keep you satisfied. Oats are also said to help with milk production if you're breastfeeding.

2. Nuts

These healthy fats also contain protein, so they make for a great snack, and you can easily grab a handful when you need a boost of energy. These healthy fats are crucial to your little one's organs and brain...

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Everyone's miscarriage story is different—here's mine

[Trigger warning: This essay discusses one woman's journey with miscarriage.]

I'll never forget Mother's Day weekend in 2017 when I found out I was pregnant for a second time. For four additional weeks, I silently celebrated the good news (along with my husband, close family and a few friends). I felt amazing. My son, who had just turned 2 years old, was going to be a big brother.

Although it was early on in the pregnancy, I found and bought the perfect big brother shirt for him. I was excited for all of the pregnancy reveals, ultrasounds, shopping and nursery planning that would join me for the next nine months. For those few weeks, I was on cloud nine.

But, then everything changed.

It was like any other Monday— I was working and taking a quick break for lunch. Something about that day was different, however, I just didn't feel pregnant. Was I overreacting? Maybe. Even though I was not having the common miscarriage symptoms like the bleeding or the cramping, I still had a gut feeling that something was wrong. And I was right.

That was the day I found out I was miscarrying my baby at nine weeks. I'll never forget the ultrasound. There was no little flicker of a heartbeat and...

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It's science: Picture books are best for little brains

In the era of handheld video and Audible subscriptions we have so many high tech things we can use to tell our kids stories.

There are so many options, and many parents are drawn to the convenience of tablet-based books, but researchers say old-fashioned picture books are still the best bet for little brains.

A study published this week in the journal Pediatrics found that parents and toddler interact and collaborate more when reading paper books than when reading e-books on a tablet. Researchers videotaped 37 parent-toddler pairs reading three types of books: Regular old print books, basic e-books and enhanced e-books with sound effects or animation. They found parents and tots "verbalized less" when reading together on a tablet, and recommend print to increase interactions.

This follows another study by researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, that also found printed picture books to be better for preschoolers and parents.

The study's authors exposed 27 children between 3 and 5 years old to Canadian author Robert Munsch's classic stories in three different formats — as audio only, as a picture book with audio, and as an animated video — to find out what happens in...

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Want to make mom friends? 5 places to start

When I had my son six years ago, none of my friends had kids. None of them. Pregnancy wasn't even on their radar, let alone thoughts of playdates, breastfeeding and diapers. While this didn't phase me during the nine-month in utero period, it hit hard after I brought my baby home.

Spending 10 hours alone with a newborn will make anyone feel a little lonely. Eventually, I realized if I wanted to make it out of the baby phase alive, I needed to find mom friends fast.

But how?

Truth be told, I have no shame. Despite my strong introvert tendencies, desperation motivates me. I will talk to anybody. I've approached fellow mothers in grocery stores, airplanes (flying with children builds automatic camaraderie), coffee shops, and doctor's offices.

Over the years, I have discovered a few tried-and-true friend-making methods. Here are my top five.

1. Join a parent-baby class.

Yes, join, even if you are an introvert and hate that kind of thing. You can find family music classes and parenting classes by searching online, checking your local newspaper and library, or asking your pediatrician.

When my son was a couple months old, I joined a nearby mom and baby group, and it was a lifesaver. Having...

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Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris wants to give teachers a $13,500 raise

They're educating the next generation of Americans, but the nation's teachers are not paid well. Compared to teachers in other countries, or Americans in professions requiring similar levels of education, school teachers in the USA don't make much, and the rest of the country knows it. A 2018 poll showed two-thirds of Americans think the nation's teachers are underpaid.

Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris thinks so too, and she's making higher pay for teachers part of her campaign platform. "The people who are going to educate our children are our teachers, and for too long, they have been paid substandard wages," Harris said in an interview with CBS News this week. "The data is very clear, teachers are as compared to other college graduates, receiving 11 percent less in pay across the country."

Harris says she has a plan that would boost teachers salaries by about $13,500 a year. It would cost $315 billion over 10 years and would be paid for by ending tax loopholes for the country's wealthiest citizens.

The average salary for a public school teacher in 2016-2017 was $58,950, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, although some states, like Mississippi and...

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The truth about being autistic and a mother

I was diagnosed as being autistic this year and wasn't surprised. It has taken some getting used to, but it was such a real feeling of relief that I cried at my diagnosis—raw emotion just came pouring out of my face.

I felt like I could remove the mask, put down the tools I had been using for so many years to hide who I was, deal with life and start being truly myself.

After repeatedly being misdiagnosed with a range of different mental health difficulties, I was frustrated and annoyed that I did not have the answers to why I found some aspects of life so challenging. At times I felt like I was watching life from inside a goldfish bowl, I did not quite understand how others managed to achieve what they did without the problems and disasters I often seemed to encounter. Certain situations, heightened senses and social interactions were making me have frequent meltdowns, manifested in many different ways, and were causing me to become anxious.

For years I had devised a complicated and stressful ability to camouflage and conceal my difficulties. This ranged from observing and mimicking the behavior and language of my peers, to overworking and overloading myself to a breaking...

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How I learned to discipline my kids without shame or punishment

His day started with three smiley faces. Taped to the wall of our playroom was my son's behavior chart, and every day I measured his worth with three hanging smiley faces. I know that sounds like a dramatic way to word what was happening, but our children do look to us as they form their self-concept and sense of self-worth. So, for him, each smiley face that disappeared told him he wasn't good.

You're bad. You're naughty. You're wrong. You're not enough.

It was a simple system. On the chart hung three cards. One side of each card had a smiley face. The opposite side had a sad face. Each time he broke a rule or committed some act that I deemed a transgression, one smiley face got flipped. If all three got flipped, he was isolated to a little green chair at the end of the hallway for time-out.

I told myself I was being fair. I told myself that this was "positive discipline" because I wasn't using physical punishment. I told myself that it was simply a visual reminder to him that he needed to control his behavior.

I convinced myself it was helpful to him. So, there it hung—a constant reminder to him of his inadequacy because, let's be honest, 3-year-olds don't behave perfectly,...

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Is this viral bedtime chart realistic for most parents?

In 2015 a teacher at an elementary school in Wisconsin posted a 'bedtimes by age' chart to Facebook, and parents are still commenting on this post nearly four years later.

The teacher who posted the chart, Stacy Karlsen, didn't create it, she just found it, she told Fox 6 back in 2015. She thought the parents of the 200 or so kids at Wilson Elementary would find the chart as helpful as she did, but the post's viral reach went far beyond her intended audience.

In the last four years countless parents have looked to this chart for guidance, but is it right?

According to the sourceless chart, a 5-year-old who needs to be up at 6 o'clock in the morning should go to bed at 6:45 pm.

As many Facebook commenters have noted, that simply isn't a realistic bedtime for many parents, especially for working moms who pick their child up from childcare at 5 or 6 in the evening. Keep scrolling, though, and you'll find plenty of comments from parents who find the chart valuable and easy enough to adhere to.

The chart is controversial and a bit of a mystery (who made this thing?), but that's sort of fitting because children's sleep is, too.

As science writer Stephanie Loomis...

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Less really is more: How to parent like a minimalist

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had big ideas. I wanted to give my children the world. Like most new parents, I had the best of intentions.

Every generation wants to give their children more than they had themselves. My intention was no different—I wanted to give my children more. More love. More protection. More opportunities. More toys.

More, more, more.

This desire for 'more' was rooted in love.

After I had children and they began to grow, there was a shift. This desire for more became rooted in fear.

If I didn't play with them enough, would they be happy? If I didn't stand at least two foot from them at all times on the playground, would they fall? If I didn't land a spot in a top preschool, would their education be impacted?

In the words of Erin Loechner, “No one ever told me how much fear is hidden in love."

All this fear, camouflaged as love, quickly started to take a toll on me. Trying to be everything and do everything for my children left me depleted.

My desire to give my children more left me feeling less.

Less energy. Less joy. Less calm.

Then I found Minimalism.

Minimalism is more than just getting rid of all your stuff (although I am on that bandwagon too.) It's...

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5 easy ways to start a better tooth brushing habit for the whole family

When my husband and I first introduced our daughter to the world of dental hygiene, she was less than enthused. Over time, though, (and by incorporating a few tricks up our parenting sleeves), we found ways to make teeth brushing and oral care more fun for our toddler―and even learned a few things ourselves.

One of the best changes we made? Switching the whole family over to quip electric toothbrushes.Not only does their subscription service make it easy (and affordable!) for me to know my family is using a fresh toothbrush every three months, but my daughter also loves knowing she's using a cool, grown-up toothbrush just like her father and I, just made for kids.

Here are five tips for establishing a good brushing routine―and to put the fun back in dental hygiene fundamentals. 😁

1. Start earlier than you think.

You don't have to wait until your child has a mouthful of teeth to start teaching them how to take care of them. Even though those pearly baby teeth will eventually fall out, they're critical to your child's development and help with everything from supporting craniofacial growth to aiding in speech development. Plus, the sooner you start a consistent teeth...

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New stroller restrictions at Disney parks: What parents need to know

If you're planning a trip to Disneyland or Disneyworld this summer you better check the size of your stroller.

Disney just announced that large strollers and stroller wagons are now banned from the parks. This means strollers that are "greater than 31" (79 cm) in width and 52" (132cm) in length" won't be allowed into either the Florida or California Disney parks.

"These updates are designed to help guest flow and ease congestion, making the parks more enjoyable for everyone," Lisa Mendillo, the Communications Manager for Walt Disney World Resort writes in a blog post.

Plenty of strollers (even some doubles and joggers) are small enough that they will still be allowed into Disney parks, but if you've got a big rig, you might want to swap if for an umbrella-style stroller before your visit, or just rent a Disney-approved stroller when you get to the park.

Here are a few popular models that fit the dimensions, according to the Disney experts at Mouse Travel Matters.

  • BOB Revolution Flex Duallie 2.0, Revolution Pro
  • Joovy Scooter x2
  • Zoe XL2 Best V2
  • Baby Jogger City Mini Double
  • Baby Jogger City Mini Double GT
  • Bumbleride Indie
  • Britax B-Agile
  • Baby Trend Expedition Double...

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Grey's Anatomy's Caterina Scorsone opens up about the moment that redefined her motherhood

Actor Caterina Scorsone is a familiar face to the many moms who've binge-watched Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy while feeding babies late at night.

Scorsone is not a real-life doctor, but she is a trained doula and knows a lot about what women experience as they become mothers, but when her second child was born with Down Syndrome, Scorsone's perspective on motherhood shifted massively.

On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, Scorsone tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety that when her now 2-year-old daughter Paloma was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, her "whole concept of what motherhood was had to shift."

With her older daughter, Eliza, Scorsone felt she had a good understanding of what her job was as a mom: She was preparing her daughter to survive in a competitive world by giving her the education and skills she would need.

But when Paloma was born, Scorsone had to reframe what it means to be a parent. Paloma's arrival taught her that parenting isn't about paving a path of success for a child, but about being a home for a child while they create their own path through life.

Like a lot of parents of children with cognitive, neurological or...

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I wanted to be the mom that gave 110% on everything—but that left nothing for *me*

When Elliot was born, I thought being a mom meant giving 110% on every single task. I kept floors spotless months before he could crawl. I ate up parenting podcasts and books at every turn. I was all too happy to give my husband pointers (commands?) when his swaddling technique differed from my own. Mother knows best, after all.

I thought that the more time I spent learning about parenting, the better I was at it.

When Elliot napped, I rarely did the same. There was always more to be done! And if I didn't get it all done, I wasn't a good enough mom. Or so I told myself.

That's the constant struggle with perfectionists. We hear “good" and we think “could be better." There is no “good enough" in the perfectionist's compendium.

The lack of sleep didn't help. It stirred my anxiety around the clock. Even when Elliot started sleeping through the night, I didn't. I would wake up around 4 am to pump under moonlight, worried my milk supply would drop.

When Elliot started eating solids, I made everything by hand. I wanted to maximize the “flavor window" and was determined to fill it with apples and peaches and lentils and squash. I took pride in steaming and pureeing organic kale. He loved...

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Playing 'Baby Shark' to a stadium full of baseball fans is total #dadgoals ?

The Baby Shark song is everywhere. On our TVs, on our phones, in toys and even on the speakers in baseball stadiums.

Father and Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus recently selected the Baby Shark song as his walk-up tune, puzzling sports reporters who are used to hearing players pumping Drake or Guns N' Roses when they approach the plate.

"It reminds me of my son and gets me where I want to be for an at-bat," Andrus told SportsDay. "You will get used to it. I did."

(Parents are nodding right now.)

Fox Sports Southwest reporter Emily Jones clearly does not care for Andrus' nautical themed bop and caught up with him in the dugout to ask him what is up with the song choice. He told her it's his son's favorite song, so he had to give it a shot.

Andus' son, Elvis Emilio, is nearly 2 years old and basically the perfect demographic for Baby Shark.

If Baby Shark doesn't help Andrus hit home runs though, the jam may get knocked from the playlist. Andrus told MLB.com: "I am very superstitious, if it gets a hit every day, I am going to keep it. If I don't get any hits, it might not be up there. Hopefully it will be the song I hit well with."

We think it's adorable that...

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This is how much the average babysitter gets paid per hour in 2019

Every parent needs a night out once in awhile. How much that babysitter will cost depends largely on what part of the country your family calls home, but new stats show that today's babysitters are making bank compared to the rates my teenage self charged (not that they don't deserve it).

According to UrbanSitter's 2019 National Childcare Rate Survey, 42% of parents spend over $10,000 a year on babysitters. The average cost of an hourly babysitter is $16.75 for one kid and nearly $19.26 for two. Back in 2017, $19 would get you coverage for three kids, and a babysitter for one was between $15 and $16, so the rates have gone up over the last two years.

No surprise, San Francisco is the most expensive major American city to hire a sitter in (at $18.75 per hour for one child) and Las Vegas is the cheapest (at just $11.63 for a single kid).

UrbanSitter on Instagram: “💰Are you paying your sitter too much or too little? Check out the average rates by city for 2019. ⬆️ Link in bio. . . . . . #childcare…”

The high cost of an evening away from home is likely why 58% of parents get a babysitter only once a month...

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Breastfeeding + pumping moms need these lunch staples in their diet

That dreaded last week before you return to work as your maternity break winds down offers enough jitters to manage. Amongst the various thoughts that may enter through your mind—the focus on breastfeeding and pumping and how you're going to manage it all is almost always at the top of the list.

Aside from stressing less and keeping calm, one of the best ways to ensure that your supply stays plentiful is by incorporating a good meal plan. Adequate nutrition intake and optimal nutrition choices do have a positive impact on breast milk supply.

Because returning to work requires a lot of planning, we've put together a list of lunch staples so you can stay nourished and keep your breastfeeding/nursing routine going the way YOU want.

1. Iron rich foods

With busy days, you'll need your energy. Iron rich foods are not only a nutritious option for moms—to provide you with the mojo to conquer the day—but also for your little ones as you continue to nurse. Consider a spinach or kale salad, soup or stew with legumes, or even a lean ground beef burger.

2. Hydration

Staying hydrated throughout the day is essential to keep you feeling stable and focused. Adequate water supply is important to...

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I never thought I would co-sleep with my kids—until it became exactly what my daughter needed

When my first daughter was born, I didn't have a concrete plan for sleeping arrangements. As the first weeks turned into the first month, however, it became very clear that co-sleeping was not working out.

Instead of getting more sleep, I was exhausted by all-night nursing sessions. I couldn't find a comfortable position when the baby was in the bed, and when she slept in a bassinet next to our bed I couldn't block out the constant snorting and gurgling of a newborn.

I missed reading in bed at night, which felt impossible with a light-sleeping infant by my side. She woke when my husband sneezed, or when I fluffed my pillow. I longed to go to bed like a normal person, instead of sneaking in like a thief with the lights off, trying not to make a sound.

So out she went, banished to her own bedroom, but this didn't necessarily result in more sleep.

The first year was the hardest, when I'd drag myself out of bed and down the hall multiple times during the night for feedings. When I returned to my own bed, though, I was always grateful for the respite. I needed those brief hours away from my kid, with a wall and door separating us. It was important for my sanity, for my marriage,...

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This viral newborn photo honors loss in such a beautiful and powerful way

After years of planning her fertility journey as a single mom, Heather Bowman was thrilled to learn that she was expecting twins, but she was also scared. Her twin pregnancy came after multiple pregnancy losses, including a previous twin pregnancy, and a diagnosis of unicornuate uterus, a rare uterus malformation.

So when Bowman's doctors couldn't find a heartbeat for one of the babies at her 17-week ultrasound, Bowman was devastated. Her son's heart was no longer beating, but his sister's was, and so Bowman rallied herself for the rest of the pregnancy.

When her daughter Leti was born, Bowman opened up about her losses to photographer Jessica Young, who had been recommended by a friend. Young came up with an idea for Leti's newborn photo shoot that honors her brother James' place in her journey. When Bowman arrived and saw what Young had planned for the shoot, she "lost it," she tells Motherly.

"All Leti could do was look over to where her brother would have been, and I couldn't help but feel he was lying there, letting her know he was there and that he is always with her," says Bowman.

Jessica Young on Instagram:...

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Motherhood is: Becoming a mama through intrauterine insemination

I come from a large, robust family; lots of siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, a veritable menagerie of personalities. Our kind of wild rumpus is not for everyone, but I wouldn't change it for the world. That said, I wondered if I would ever have—or want—a brood of my own.

Then, 11 years ago, on my first day in a new city, I met the woman who would eventually be my wife and travel with me down the path to parenthood. This was a road less traveled, at least for a while. Like most couples, we wanted to be more settled, have a house, save some money. We wanted to be at the right place at the right time before we started our family. And like most couples, we quickly realized there isn't a perfect time to have a kid, and the more you analyze the concept, the scarier it gets.

I eventually took a job at a liberal arts university that brought us from bustling metropolis to small rural town. The living here was affordable, we were closer to our families and the whole town resembled the cover of a vintage “Welcome To (Wherever)!" postcard. We felt as ready as we could to finally start our family.

Now what?

We're two women, so traditional conception was off the table. We looked into local...

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I wanted to find mom friends so I took the first step

My iPhone buzzed. I looked down at the text message on the glowing blue screen. The words took a moment to sink in. It was like being back in primary school and discovering you hadn't been invited to your friend's sleepover, only worse.

"Hi," the text began. "Just letting you know there's no Pilates tonight. We're all going to The Hub to C an indie music jam. SAT! C U next week 😀."

I put my phone down and stared numbly around my kitchen. Dirty dishes jammed the sink. My toddler's banana was smeared all over the fridge door, but I couldn't gather the energy to wipe it clean. The monotony of life as a stay-at-home mom was starting to get to me. And while I knew I was lucky to have everything I'd worked for—family, a new apartment, financial stability—I also knew that I had never felt so lonely.

"C U next week."

I'd joined the Pilates group shortly after we'd moved to the Gold Coast in an effort to meet new people. At first, I felt I'd fit in. The five or six other women who attended were a bit younger than me, but we shared an interest in organic markets, the beach, and environmental protection.

The one thing we didn't have in common, however, was kids.

I looked out the window at the...

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Sometimes we have those weeks where we start to feel a little disconnected from the people we love. And sometimes that means there's something within ourselves that needs tending so we can then get the strength back to put our energy into others. Take a break, mama. Take some time to reconnect with yourself so you can reconnect with your family in a whole new way. Here are 12 self-care ideas you can do in under 10 minutes, and five ways to connect with your partner when parenthood feels like too much.



PS. Grey's Anatomy's Caterina Scorsone opens up about how motherhood looks different than what she expected, plus this MLB dad played 'Baby Shark' to a whole stadium full of fans.

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What's a 529 college savings plan? What parents need to know

As you dream of your child's future, you might have this question looming over your head: How am I going to pay for my child's college education? As parents, we know that the earlier you start a college fund for your kids, the better.

If you're not sure what other ways you can financially prepare for the coming college years, a good place to start is a 529 college savings plan. These savings plans are designed specifically to help pay for college and are a great investment option for families who want to see their money grow, tax-free, over a stretch of time.

Here are answers to common questions around 529 plans so you can be fully equipped to start saving for your little one's bright future:

What is a 529 savings plan?

A 529 is a state-sponsored college savings plan that allows parents to invest money towards educational expenses. The 529 is beneficial for many reasons, but most importantly, the savings plan is tax-free. Once the beneficiary of the account is college-bound, they're able to withdraw funds free of federal and state income taxes.

By the time college rolls around, the recipient can use the money towards a variety of schooling necessities, such as:

  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Laptops...

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Ali Fedotowsky-Manno is refreshingly real about why her second child got fewer baths + more bottles

We love how honest Bachelorette turned blogger Ali Fedotowsky-Manno is about motherhood, and how real she is whenever she talks to us here at Motherly.

It has been a whirlwind three years for Fedotowsky-Manno, who welcomed her oldest, daughter Molly, in July 2016 and son Riley in May 2018, and she says parenting looks a whole lot different when you're doing it for the second time.

For example, Molly's babyhood was a bit cleaner than Riley's, because Big Sister definitely got more bath time back when mom and dad only had one baby to deal with. "We've always given Molly a bath every day ever since she was a couple months old, which probably wasn't even a good thing at the beginning. But it was just part of her nap time routine. We worked with a sleep coach. She said it was important to have the same routine every night," Ali tells Motherly.

"But with Riley my son, the poor kid, probably for the first six months of his life, until we could put him in the big tub with Molly, he probably got a bath once a week," she explains. "We'd always say he was the dirtiest stinkiest baby ever, because he barely ever got a bath. But we were just always so busy. Like it was so hard!"

Shifting from...

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To my village: This isn't my first baby—but I still need your support more than ever

"Please know I still need you." Sometimes I whisper these six words under my breath after you've walked away or after we hang up from a phone call.

There are nights where I cry myself to sleep holding these feelings in, and there are early mornings where I start my day feeling stressed the second my eyes open, and am simply thinking it. And sadly, there are other times I feel so alone and helpless and expect you to read my mind and know I need your help.

Please know I still need you.

Yes, I'm a seasoned mom—I have four children. I am pretty sure I could change diapers with my eyes closed at this point. I have (fortunately and unfortunately) become the most progressive and talented multitasker around. There are moments when I'm cooking dinner, responding to a work email, quizzing a kiddo on their times tables, getting another one off their time out, taking my turn in Candyland, and nursing a baby at the very same time.

It's a lot.

Do I deserve a pat on the back? No. I'm just doing what I need to be doing to survive and to ensure that everything that needs to get done, well... gets done.

All I want you to realize is that I still need you. I need my people, my friends, my fellow moms,...

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This is incredibe—Just one month after giving birth this mom had two more babies

Imagine having a baby and then, a month later—surprise—you're having two more! It sounds impossible but it really happened to a 20-year-old mother in Bangladesh recently.

According to the BBC, Arifa Sultana welcomed a baby boy in February and went home from the hospital with her baby. But 26 days later she was back at the hospital and in a lot of pain.

She'd never had an ultrasound during her pregnancy, and when the doctors performed one they realized Sultana had a second uterus, and a pair of full-term twins were needing to get out of it.

"When the patient came in we performed an ultrasound on her and found there were twin babies," Dr. Sheila Poddar, who delivered the twins (a girl and a boy) by emergency C-section told the BBC.

After four days in the hospital, the twins went home with their mama and big brother (if you can call a 1-month-old a big brother). "The babies and her are all healthy. I am very, very happy that everything went well," Dr. Poddar explained, noting that she's never seen anything like this in her career and was quite shocked.

As CNN reports, the condition that led to these non-triplet triplets is known as uterus didelphys and it is a rare congenital...

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Surrogate grandmother: This 61-year-old just gave birth to her son's daughter ?

Many grandmothers are in the room or just down the hall when their grandchild enters the world, waiting anxiously to meet the baby who will make their baby a parent.

But 61-year-old Cecile Eledge wasn't just in the delivery room when her granddaughter Uma was born earlier this week. As first reported by BuzzFeed News, she was the one giving birth to her.

"It started off as really a joke. My mom, she loved being pregnant and she also really wants grandchildren—and has gone to great lengths to make that happen," Cecile's son, Uma's father Matthew Eledge explained in an interview with Motherly.

Cecile was the gestational surrogate for Matthew and his husband, Elliot Dougherty. As a gestational surrogate, Cecile did not provide an egg (that came from Elliot's sister, Lea) but did carry her granddaughter in her womb.

As Matthew tells Motherly, Uma's birth was a community effort and her upbringing will be too.

"My mom, I believe she's the hero of the story because she had to endure so much, but at the same time, my partner's sister, she was generous enough to donate her eggs and she didn't have to do that. That required a huge invasion of her life," he says, noting that while...

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