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10 ways to get ready for your newborn before baby arrives ?

Having a baby is going to blow your mind (in a good way). Getting prepared is one of the best ways to welcome the most awesome transformation of your life.


Here are 10 ways to prepare for postpartum during your third trimester.

1. Arrange those cute clothes.

Really important question: Why are baby clothes so stinking cute? Another really important question: How many baby outfits should you have for a newborn?

Newborn clothes typically fit full-term babies up to 8 pounds, and then once baby lengthens and chubs up, she will transition to 3-month outfits. Pro tip from experienced moms: Don’t overdo your newborn wardrobe, as baby often grows faster than you think. (Think around 1 month, or less.)

You might want to wash baby’s clothes in baby-safe detergent (try The Honest Company’s laundry detergent). Baby’s skin is highly sensitive after birth, so it helps to make sure clothes are freshly laundered with gentle ingredients.

To bring baby home, it helps to have the newborn basics. Here’s our newborn clothes shopping list:

  • 5 onesies (short or long sleeve, depending on season)
  • 5 soft pants, ideally with footies
  • 5 sets of socks
  • 4 sleepers (fleece or heavyweight for winter, lighter for summer)
  • 3 sweaters or layering items
  • 1 sleep sack
  • 1 all-purpose swaddle
  • 1 crazy-cute-OMG-I-can’t-wait-for-baby-to-wear-this outfit splurge ?

2. Think about your postpartum wardrobe, too.

Postpartum recovery is a crucial time for new moms.

You will still look pregnant for some time after baby is born—it’s normal!—but your body has unique needs that differ from pregnancy, so it helps to get your wardrobe ready. First, if you’re breastfeeding you’ll want shirts that have easy access for nursing. You’ll also want a few nursing bras. On the bottom side, you’re likely to need roomy pants to make way for your post-pregnancy hips and belly, as well as pads or adult diapers in the early postpartum.

Here’s our postpartum wardrobe shopping list:

  • 3 nursing-friendly postpartum shirts
  • 3 nursing bras with various features (sports bra, structured bra, sleeping bra)
  • 2 pairs of roomy lounge pants
  • 1 recovery robe
  • 1 postpartum yoga pant to smooth belly
  • 1 mama’s-still-got-it outfit that makes you feel amazing (size up from pre-pregnancy)

3. Set up a nursery nook.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that baby rooms with mom for the first months of life; moms love that they don’t have to go far to care for baby during those middle-of-the-night feedings. When you set up a small nursery nook in your bedroom, you can keep the decor simple and keep baby close.

For the closeness of co-sleeping without the stress, try a co-sleeper next to your bed. Read more on inspired ways to make a small space for baby.

4. Install the car seat safely.

Installing the car seat that you’ll tote your baby home in means that it’s really happening! It also means you’re a responsible mama who can totally be trusted to raise a tiny human from infancy to adulthood.

Buy the right seat.

Consumer Reports’ top-performing car seats for infants include:

The products review site also puts out a guide to car seat safety, with full rankings available here. (Note: Available to subscribers only.)

Install it properly.

Here’s what you need to know about safely installing and using infant car seats, from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

Make sure it’s rear-facing.

All infants should ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. For infants, rear-facing-only seats and rear-facing convertible seats are best.

And tightly in the back seat.

On where to install the seat, according to the AAP: “It may be best to ride in the middle of the back seat. However, it is sometimes difficult to install a car safety seat tightly in the middle if the vehicle seat is narrow or uneven.”

“Also, most vehicles do not have lower anchors for the middle seating position. It is safest to put the car safety seat in a position where you can install it tightly with either the lower anchor system or the seat belt; in some cases, this may be on either side of the back seat rather than the middle.”

Check out the video below for more details on how to safely install a rear-facing infant car seat, from the AAP.

Check your work.

You’ll want to make sure you install the seat properly before you head to the hospital, so consider having your work checked by a Child Passenger Safety Certified Technician (find a location near you). It can be trickier than it looks—and it’s crucial that you get it right.

The Car Seat Ladies, a doctor-nurse (and mother-daughter!) team with deep expertise in car seat safety, are also a great resource for specific questions you may have. They offer one-on-one appointments in Baltimore and NYC, and have a huge range of tips and insights for keeping your little one safe.

This video below on safely securing your baby into her car seat is also helpful.

5. Stock up on easy-to-make power meals.

Make-ahead frozen meals

You have so many options when it comes to prepping tasty eats in advance of baby’s arrival (check out BuzzFeed’s 23 fave make-ahead meals for new moms to freeze).

But you don’t have to just stock up on frozen food—you can also fill your shelves (and freezer) with power foods that will help provide great nutrition during the early days of breastfeeding.

Healthy “fast” food

Nutritionist and wellness expert Shannan Monson recommends that you stock your whole house with healthy “fast” food. Premade smoothies, protein shakes, frozen egg quiches, grilled chicken, all the prepped food you can get your hands on.

Being prepared with quick things you can eat with one hand while nursing a baby in the other will save you from skipped meals and cookie cravings the rest of the day.

You can also stock the ingredients to make hearty, healthy lunch and dinner bowls to power you through the early days of breastfeeding. Don’t overcomplicate it—just rely on shelf-stable grains and frozen veggies to power you through and mix in whatever cheese, produce and beans you have on hand.

Grain bowls

Need a quick and healthy dinner idea? @nutritionsimply here again with my favorite I-forgot-to-plan-and-we-need-to-eat dinner idea. I usually take 1⃣2⃣3⃣ and blend for baby food and voila! Din. Din. Tag a mama who'd love more quick dinner ideas and spread the love 😘 Farmer's Market Grain Bowl (serving suggestions are for 1) 1⃣ The Grain Base: quinoa, farro, wild rice, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.-- 1 cup cooked or about the size of a baseball 2⃣ The Veggie Toppings: dark leafy greens, crunchy cruciferous veggies, starchy root veggies (you can’t go wrong here--1 cup cooked or about the size of a baseball 3⃣ The Fruit Toppings: mangos, cherries, pears, and other soft, sweet fruits--¼ cup or about the size of an egg 4⃣ The Cheese Toppings: soft cheese like feta, goat cheese, and Brie are my favorites, but hard, finely shredded cheese work as well (use nutritional yeast or goat’s cheese for dairy-free option--1 ounce or about the size of a pair of dice 5⃣ The Nut Garnish: all nuts and seeds, but we tend to go for soft crunchy nuts like walnuts, peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts and pine nuts-- 1 ounce or about the size of a pair of dice Dress with 1 TB each olive oil and balsamic vinegar or dressing of choice and serve warm for a hearty and nourishing quick weeknight meal.

A photo posted by Motherly (@mother.ly) on

And smoothie bowls

Just like the grain bowl, smoothie bowls are easy to whip up for breakfast and dessert as long as you’ve loaded up your freezer with organic fruits and berries—and stocked your cabinets with hearty ingredients like goji berries, coconut flakes, nuts and chia seeds.

Um, YUM.

6. Get the right breastfeeding support.

We know as first-time moms it’s easy to focus on overcoming labor and delivery, but the truth is that while labor is intense, it usually lasts just a day or two.

Your breastfeeding relationship will be one of the most demanding parts of life as a new mama. As Motherly’s expert lactation counselor Megan O’Neill shares:

Breastfeeding truly is one of the most unnatural natural things you will do. Mama needs to learn, and baby needs to learn. 

Learn the basics.

For some women, breastfeeding is easy. For others, it’s super demanding. Take the time to learn the basics of how breastfeeding works in new motherhood, and how often you can expect to nurse.

Lactation consultant Wendy Wisner provides an overview of what to expect as a new mama.

Take a class.

We love the idea of taking a class with popular breastfeeding expert and lactation counselor Lindsay Shipley to learn the basics so you’re not so surprised when you’re attached at the boob to your little one 24/7.

Find a breast pump.

Figure out how you can get (or rent) a breast pump. Many hospitals, birth centers, lactation consultants and mother resource centers offer rentals, but they can get pricy.

Look for a breast pump ahead of time instead of waiting till baby arrives and scrambling to pick up and pay for it. YummyMummy, a breastfeeding supply store, offers rental through its website and works with your insurance.

Get 1-on-1 support.

Ask your OB, your girlfriends or your future pediatrician’s office who they recommend. You might also want to find lactation consultants who can visit you in-house in case you have tricky issues around feeding (like some of us at Motherly did!) that require support at home.

Some lactation consultants, like Lindsey Shipley, even offer Skype sessions.

Locate a support group.

La Leche League, a breastfeeding advocacy group, offers support groups in all 50 states to help you bond with other mothers learning how to breastfeed, or find other women figuring out how to make breastfeeding work. Find one near you.

7. Prep stations around your house.

There will be a ton of diaper-changing and baby-feeding (not to mention newborn-snuggling) going on all over your house in the next few months, so we love the idea of making it easy on yourself by creating stations in several key places.

For a nursing station, you’ll want:

Where you’ll need it:

You’ll likely find several comfy spots in your home that work for feeding after baby arrives—likely in your bedroom and living room—so it’s easy to have a cluster of goodies in each station, especially if you’re going upstairs and downstairs.

For your diaper changing station, you’ll want:

  • Size 1 diapers (oh so teeny tiny and cute!)
  • Wipes (those little behinds are so precious you’ll barely mind cleaning them, we promise!)
  • Diaper cream (we’re big fans of The Honest Company Healing Balm)
  • A changing pad (either a full-size changing pad or a compact changing kit)

Where you’ll need it:

You’ll likely be changing diapers in baby’s nursery, in your bedroom and in the living room/playroom (not to mention on the go around town), so depending on your home’s layout, you might consider setting up baskets full of diaper goodies in each location. The Diaper Genie caddy makes it easy to organize, but any basket will do.

For a bathroom station, you’ll want:

We know it can feel overwhelming to find the right doctor for your baby, but it’s easier with advice from Dr. Tiffany Knipe, Motherly’s expert pediatrician and a mom of two little ones!

Here are Dr. Knipe’s 3 tips for finding the right pediatrician.

1. Start in your third trimester.

Start looking for a pediatrician in your last trimester. If you have local friends or family who have children, talk to them. Do they like their doctor? If yes, why? If they don’t, why not? What fits one family may not fit another. In fact, as you move forward as a parent this is a good message to keep in mind for all things.

2. Interview around.

If you live somewhere with a few local options, meet at least two or three doctors.

Get an idea of what features are found in all pediatric practices and which things are variable.

3. Ask the right questions.


Is this office convenient/accessible?

Remember, you are likely going to be traveling with a baby and baby paraphernalia, in cold or wet weather, and, at times, with a sick or fussy infant. You want a doctor’s office that is easy enough to get to.

Do they take their time?

If a pediatrician doesn’t have the time or patience for you before your baby is born, they are unlikely to have the time for you after.

Are there sick and well waiting rooms?

Ask your doctor or their office staff the policy for newborns and sick children. Newborns should not wait in a busy waiting room because of their susceptibility to infection.

Can you reach them after hours?

Is your doctor accessible? What are the office policies for after-hours? Babies rarely get sick Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. So, how will your doctor handle these situations?

What hospital is your doctor affiliated with?

If your child needs a specialist or an emergency room, does your pediatrician have a reliable network of physicians and affiliations to get your child the help he needs?

Do you have chemistry?

Much like choosing a partner or a friend, you should get a good vibe from your pediatrician. For overly anxious parents, your doctor should help to mitigate your anxieties (not exacerbate them). And for overly relaxed parents, your doctor should make it clear to you when to worry.

9. Take an infant CPR/ first aid course.

Learning how to help a choking baby or what to do if your little one ever stops breathing can put your mind at ease as you transition to life as a new mama.

The Red Cross offers classes around the country (find one near you here) but you can also ask you health care provider about where to locate one. You’ll feel good knowing that you know what to do in an emergency.

10. Plan your maternity leave.

Whether you’re going to be staying at home for good or will be heading back to work, you’ll want to prep your new working life after baby is born.

Make sure you’ve checked in with HR on your company’s procedures, and find out if there are any state-specific benefits you’re eligible for while on leave. If you’re staying at home, start doing some research on new-mom support groups or mommy-and-me programs to connect with other new moms.

Find out what you need to know for a successful leave with our maternity leave transition plan.

BONUS! 11. Sleep! ?

We know it’s so hard to catch those Z’s with leg cramps and a big belly in bed and constantly feeling like you have to pee. We get it. But if you’re wondering if you should clean the house or nap while the end of your pregnancy draws near, we promise: THE ANSWER IS NAP.

New mamas lose a lot of sleep in the first year of baby’s life, so on behalf of all those bleary-eyed new-mama warriors of the world: Sleep now, and forever remember this peace.

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[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.]

To my husband,

We met when I was 22. We started building a life together. We became each other's best friend, cheerleader, guidance counselor, and shelter from the storm. We laughed together, cried together, and stood up in front of all the people who matter to us and vowed to stay together until one of us dies.

We said the words without irony or hesitation, knowing that while we weren't perfect, the problems we could face in life would never be enough to break us.

And babe, I had no clue what our future held. But I knew I wanted to experience it only with you.

Then we got pregnant! And when our son was born, I marveled at the fact that we made a person. You and me. It honestly still blows my mind even five years later.

I'd heard women say things like, I fell in love with my husband all over again once I saw him as a daddy. I love watching you be a daddy, too—but just like becoming a mother has been transformative for me, becoming a father has been transformative for you, too. And it has taken us some time to get to know the new versions of ourselves.

We worked together—mostly on the same team—and have shared so many beautiful lessons and experiences together. Everything is new when you're a first-time parent! And this new dynamic of three definitely threw us for a loop—I wasn't used to sharing your attention with someone else, and I wasn't used to sharing my attention with someone other than you.

It took a few years to hit our stride. I think maybe we never had big things to disagree on before we became parents. It threw me off to be anything but harmonious with you. But just like we said we would on that gorgeous September wedding day, we found our way back. We stayed on each other's team.

And then I got pregnant again.

We were planning a huge life change already— moving across the country to start anew, restart your business and make a new future. I didn't have an easy pregnancy this time. And generally, for many reasons, life seemed harder than ever.

Our daughter was born and it didn't take long for postpartum depression to steal me away, for far longer than I should have allowed it to. I was scared to get the help I needed and I let it get the best of me. I'm truly sorry for that. I'm mostly sorry that I sometimes let it get the best of us.

It's easy to love a partner when it's just the two of you. Our priorities were never tested then—you were at the top of my to-do list, and I was at the top of yours. But—funny thing—this whole parenting thing seemed to make life a little more complex. And when your kids are little, and completely dependent upon you, there are many days when there just isn't much left over for anything or anyone else.

Babe, we're in it right now. Really in it. These are the parenting trenches. The baby years. These years can make or break us. And can I be so bold as to say: I think they're making us.

They're making us learn how to communicate better. How to find common ground when we disagree about real stuff, like the ways we want to raise our children. We're invested in not only the outcome but the short term effect. We're a team.

They're making us think about the future. Not just the fun stuff, but the difficult stuff like estate planning, life insurance, and college funds for the kids. They're making us challenge ourselves to provide our children with comfort and opportunities. We've always worked hard but the stakes have never been this high.

You know I'm the optimist, the dreamer, while you consider yourself the realist—but I think we can agree on this: going through some of the tough stuff with you by my side has shown me that we are stronger than the tough stuff. We can get through it. We can get through anything. As long as we hold on to each other.

Motherhood transformed me. Fatherhood transformed you. And having kids completely transformed our marriage. We'll never be who we were on our wedding day again.

Time marches forward—only forward. I miss the carefree version of "us", but I love this version even more. Because we know what we're made of now, and in so many ways we didn't before.

I'm sure that in our lifetime, many more obstacles will arise that will transform our marriage. But I've never been more confident that whatever may be, we'll find a way through it—together.

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Baking Christmas cookies together is a family tradition for many, but the Centers for Disease Control is warning parents that if your recipe contains raw flour or raw eggs, you really shouldn't sneak a bite before it is cooked, and neither should your kids.

The CDC is warning people not to eat raw cookie dough, cake mix or bread as we head into prime baking season.

The agency acknowledges the appeal of a spoonful of chocolate chip goodness but asks that we "steer clear of this temptation—eating or tasting unbaked products that are intended to be cooked, such as dough or batter, can make you sick."

Salmonella from raw eggs is, of course, a concern, and so is the raw flour. According to the CDC, flour needs to be cooked in order to kill germs like E.Coli. That's why the CDC is asking parents to "say no to raw dough," not just for eating but even for playing with.

"Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay, too," the CDC posted on its website.

On the Food and Drug Administration's website, that agency advises that "even though there are websites devoted to 'flour crafts,' don't give your kids raw dough or baking mixes that contain flour to play with." Health Canada also states that raw flour should not be used in children's play-dough.

The warnings follow a 2016 E.coli outbreak linked to contaminated raw flour. Dozens of people got sick that year, and a post-outbreak report notes that "state investigators identified three ill children who had been exposed to raw flour at restaurants in Maryland, Virginia, and Texas. Restaurant staff had given them raw dough to play with while they waited for their food to be served."

The CDC worries that with flour's long shelf life, products recalled during the 2016 outbreak may still be in people's pantries (although the CDC notes that any raw flour—recalled or otherwise—should not be consumed).

If your kids do have flour-based play dough, don't worry.

Some parents are still choosing to use flour-based craft dough to make Christmas ornaments or other crafts this holiday season and are reducing the risks by A) making sure the kids aren't eating their art, and B) thoroughly washing little hands, work surfaces, and utensils when the dough play is over.

Other parents are choosing other types of craft clay over flour-based dough.


During the 2016 outbreak, the FDA called for Americans to abstain from raw cookie dough, an approach Slate called "unrealistic and alarmist," noting that "the vast, vast majority of people who consume or touch uncooked flour do not contract E. coli or any other infection."

Two years ago, 63 Americans were made sick by E. coli infections linked to raw flour, according to the CDC. We don't know exactly how many Americans ate a spoonful of cookie dough or played with homemade play dough that year, but we do know that more than 319 million Americans did not get sick because of raw flour.

Are there risks associated with handling and consuming raw flour? Yes, absolutely, but it's not something to panic over.

Bottom line: Don't let your kids eat raw dough when they're helping you bake cookies for Santa, and be mindful of raw flour when choosing crafts for kids.

(And if you have just got to get your raw cookie dough fix, the CDC notes that cookie dough flavored ice cream is totally safe as it "contains dough that has been treated to kill harmful bacteria." Sounds like mama's getting Ben & Jerry's tonight.)

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Twinkling lights are everywhere I look, and the magic of the holiday season is filling our house. The kids are growing more excited each day anticipating Santa's arrival and gifts are accumulating, ready to be wrapped in beautiful paper and bows.

Elf and The Grinch have been playing on repeat and the nativity scene has found a safe spot among our decorations. It's one of the busiest times of the year and it can be hard to catch your breath in the hustle and bustle of it all.

But then something stops you.

Maybe it's a pang in your heart or a memory of someone dearly missed. Maybe it's a familiar feeling of emptiness—of wanting this person to be a part of this magical, joy-filled time of year.

It's so easy to forget that many people are struck with sadness around the holidays and are longing for someone who's missing from their lives. We give and give to our families and friends and communities this time of year—food for dinners, and toys for less-fortunate children—but people don't always realize that another type of giving is needed.

The gift of comfort.

Because someone who is missing their mother, father, brother, sister, child, friend or spouse needs your connection and warmth. They need a reminder of their loved one is not forgotten, and maybe above all—just needs a hug.

Family traditions are wonderful and cherished, but they can also feel incomplete when someone is missing.

For me, I love the holidays, and watching my kids experience all the joys this season has to offer truly fills my heart. Yet, not a Christmas goes by that I don't think about what Kendrick (my first child lost at 2 months old) would have thought of this time of year.

Would he have loved hot cocoa like his sister and brothers? Would he have gotten into all the ornaments on the tree as a toddler? What toys would he have asked Santa for? What Christmas wishes would he have made for others?

I am left to wonder these things without answer. And even though I fully embrace this time of year and relish the holidays, I can't help but miss him.

I wanted to share my story as a reminder that even though your holiday cup may be filled with joy, someone you know may be wrestling with sadness. With all the merry and bright and cups of cheer, it's important to be mindful of this and to treat people with extra care. Reach out to someone you know who has lost someone, and let them know you're thinking of them. It won't go unnoticed.

Many of us have dealt with loss at some point in our lives, and we've learned to carry these special people in our hearts so that they are always with us. But missing someone never goes away. There are so many experiences in our lives we wish we could just snap our fingers and have them right by our sides—the holidays being one of those.

So as you check off your shopping lists, make your donations, trim your tree, or light your menorah—please don't forget to show care to those who may be hurting a little this holiday season.


They're certainly in a position where they could buy every item on their kids' Christmas lists, but Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher aren't planning on piling up the presents under the Christmas tree this year.

"So far, our tradition is no presents for the kids," Kunis said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. Mom to 4-year-old daughter, Wyatt, and 2-year-old son Dmitri, Kunis says she and Kutcher are determined to not raise entitled kids—and are learning from the mistakes of Christmases past.

“We've told our parents, 'We're begging you: If you have to give her something, pick one gift,'" Kunis said. “'Otherwise, we'd like to take a charitable donation, to the Children's Hospital or a pet... Whatever you want.' That's our new tradition."

The minimalist Christmas that Kunis and Kutcher embrace makes sense on a lot of levels: It teaches kids how to be more mindful consumers, removes the emphasis on material goods... And saves you from those chaotic trips to the mall.

Going without presents doesn't mean going without

Putting a halt on presents these upcoming holidays is one way to reinforce what the season is really about: Spending quality time together as families and cherishing what we already have. But "no presents" doesn't mean "no fun," either.

Some of our favorite non-material gift suggestions include:

  • Experiences
  • Lessons
  • College contributions
  • Coupon booklets
  • Piggy bank donations
  • Gifts for others

Or you could take a cue from Kunis and Kutcher without going all the way: Maybe you only focus on one or two quality gifts. Or pass on anything that will likely get discarded to the bottom of the toy box before next year's holidays.

Think of Christmas gifts for kids kind of like eggnog: A little goes a long way.

[Originally published October 11, 2017]

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