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Hello world: When is it okay to bring my newborn baby outside?

Being a good mother doesn’t mean hiding my daughter from the world, but rather helping her navigate it, together.

Hello world: When is it okay to bring my newborn baby outside?

I’ve never been afraid of an adventure, of challenging endeavors.


Or if I was daunted, I generally did it anyway. I’ve lived on four continents. I moved to New York City, CapeTown, and Stockholm without ever having visited these cities, and when I found myself stranded in Istanbul with no money, I found a job in a language I didn’t speak. Most recently, I moved to the west coast of Norway for work, where my partner and I decided to start a family.

My pregnancy was easy, and the birth, although intense and overwhelming, left me feeling powerful.

I share all of this to contrast with what happened after bringing my brand new baby girl home from the hospital.

I was terrified to bring my newborn baby outside.

Leaving the house felt both irresponsible as a parent and unimaginably daunting. And I found many, many reasons why I shouldn’t do it. The weather is terrible (it is winter in Norway after all...) and it’s too cold to take such a fragile little creature out. The stroller seems so bulky and unwieldy, the baby carrier doesn’t fit under my coat and she’s too small for it anyway. What if she’s too cold? What if she’s too hot? What if the carrier/blankets/rain cover smothers her? What if she starts crying on the street? What if she needs to breastfeed when we’re out in public?

What if, what if, what if...?!

Three weeks passed. I would plan to go outside, even tell my (amazing and supportive) partner my strategy for a walk or trip to the grocery store. And then it would rain, or she would be sleeping and I didn’t want to wake her, or she would be awake and I wanted to wait until she fell asleep.

I love our attic apartment; it’s cozy and sunlit, but it is also very, very small. When not staring at the gorgeous new human in my life, I would find myself standing by the window in the kitchen looking out over the rooftops of nearby houses.

In a single stroke, my life shrank from traveling the globe to traversing the path from the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen.

I moved to Norway from New York fairly recently, and so when my daughter was born, I had very few friends and no family nearby to visit me. I felt isolated. Getting out of the house was essential, but I just kept imagining all of the things that could potentially go wrong and would decide to put it off until tomorrow.

I felt foolish, cowardly and overprotective. This was not the kind of brave, powerful Mama I pictured myself being! But I kept hearing/reading/thinking “give it time,” and “you’re still recovering.” But as the weeks wore on, I became more entrenched, rather than less, and the fears about going outside loomed larger than ever in my imagination.

What if she catches the flu while we’re out? What if she ends up in the hospital? What if I slip while I’m holding her, or the stroller tips over? I finally confessed my fears during one of many (tearful) Skype sessions with my own Mama back home. An emotionally supportive and infinitely practical Midwesterner, she both soothed me with her words, gave me a pep-talk consisting of “just keep peckin’ at it”, and ordered a baby carrier for me as an early birthday present (with express delivery).

Bless her.

Even so, I couldn’t quite do it. Where would I go? I wore the carrier around the house for practice, and even picked out what clothes I would dress my daughter in to stay warm outside.

A few days later, on yet another Skype call, my mother told me to go outside. I promised her I would. And she said, “No, go outside right now. Just go outside. Just to the front step if that’s all you can do.” So I got dressed, got my baby dressed, put her in the carrier, put on a hat, winter coat, and gloves, and stepped out the front door.

I took a big breath of cold, fresh winter air, walked about 7 feet to the mailbox, checked the mail, and went back inside. Victory and relief!

I felt as though I had just finished the NYC marathon.

The next day we walked around the block. And the next, to a nearby park. And finally, all the way downtown for her first doctor appointment. And guess what? It rained, she cried, and I had to breastfeed her in public... and the world didn’t end.

I realized then that being a good mother doesn’t mean hiding inside and making sure my child never cries. It’s about being there for her when she does – not avoiding the tears that life will inevitably bring on, but helping to dry them both now and 20 years down the road.

It’s still daunting for me, it may always be, but being a Mama means I’ll step outside of my own comfort zone to be there for my daughter through the teething, skinned knees, first loves, and first heartaches.

Being a good mother doesn’t mean hiding her from the world, but rather showing her the world while I'm still here to help her navigate it. And so this week we have a coffee date, three art openings to attend next week, and trips to Oslo, Berlin and New York planned in the coming months.

The next problem: How to get somewhere on time?!

We’re working on it. . .

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14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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