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To Santa Claus or not to Santa Claus?

As a wellness consultant, journalist, and mother of two, this was a delicate topic for me. When my children were born, I had mixed feelings about "lying" to my kids about the existence of Santa Claus. Because the very career I chose is about supporting people's physical and emotional health, it was a difficult decision.

The relationship between parents and children is critical, I was worried that violating my daughter's trust could damage it entirely.

So I read what experts had to say, and concluded that my fears were largely unfounded. "When it comes to the Santa Claus Myth, the misleading does not harm [kids] because their focus is more on the symbolism of the events occurring during this season rather than the specifics of any reality behind the 'why,'" says Dr. John Mayer, psychologist at Doctor On Demand, who specializes in children and parenting. Mayer emphasizes that the story of Santa Claus is part of our tradition, and that tradition can be very important to children, with many social and developmental advantages.

His explanation made sense to me. Plus, who doesn't want the Jolly Old Soul around?So I decided to tell the lie. My husband insisted it made Christmas more "magical."

So, Santa came. I kept him to a minimum in our home, telling the girls that they could only ask him for one big thing (though he always managed to bring a couple of extra trinkets too). We chose a service project every year, trying to take the focus off the man in the big red suit.

Still, it made me cringe every time I had to manipulate the truth about Santa to my sweet, sensitive, trusting daughters. So this year, when my oldest turned 8, I decided enough was enough. I wanted to tell her before someone else did.

But how could I tell her without breaking her heart and taking away her trust?

It was a hard decision and I didn't know if I was doing it too soon, but the impending doom of her finding out on her own felt like a clock ticking down to the day when my lies would suddenly be discovered.

Still, I thought of the experts, who claim that my worries were for naught. "Most children understand when they find out why their parents lied to them about Santa, so it rarely impacts the trust relationship," explains Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist and marriage counselor in Boulder, CO, who works with a lot of parents. However, when parents are considering whether to participate in the Santa tradition, they must consider that when children learn the truth, they may be shocked, disappointed, and frustrated temporarily, he says.

Despite the potential for disaster, I was hoping for a good reaction.

I took my daughter out for ice cream and explained that now that she was old enough, it was time to put her on the Santa team. I said that the magic of Santa Claus is passed down from parent to child and that it is about giving thoughtfully and anonymously all year long. I told her that not every 8-year-old is mature enough to take this responsibility, so she can't tell her friends, but now she is an official Santa Claus.

According to Mayer, "When children find out about Santa, it provides children with that 'ah-ha' moment about their parents that they can be whimsical, and that they are giving and loving and fun. Overwhelmingly, most children have fond memories of the discovery of the secret." This has really been true for my daughter.

She is so pleased with herself that she was "ready to be a Santa," and she's excited to pick out her little sister's presents and fill her stocking on Christmas Eve!

I told her that her duties aren't just once a year—that she can be Santa Claus to anyone who truly has a need. So sometimes we make cupcakes for elderly neighbors and surprise them at their doorstep or even leave them anonymously.

There are lots of other ways to break the news about Santa. You may even find that the discovery happens naturally. You know your child best, so let your relationship guide the conversation.

The Santa tradition merely transformed in my household from one of secretive, magical giving by a stranger, to anonymous, heartfelt giving to others. It was a beautiful experience.

As a family health consultant, I feel that this not only preserved our relationship but also taught a valuable lesson about giving. She loves to wink at me when we talk about Christmas in front of her little sister.

She is so excited to give her sister the gifts she picked out for her, letting Santa get the credit. Of course, she picked out some to come from her as well. I can't wait for her to help me fill the stockings on Christmas Eve.

I have no regrets anymore. I gave her magic until she was eight, and I gave her the spirit of giving for the rest of her life.

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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 it doesn't skimp on comfort.

Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.

There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.

I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.

Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.

This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's been more than a year since Khloé Kardashian welcomed her daughter True Thompson into the world, and like a lot of new moms, Khloé didn't just learn how to to be a mom this year, she also learned how to co-parent with someone who is no longer her partner. According to the Pew Research Center, co-parenting and the likelihood that a child will spend part of their childhood living with just one parent is on the rise.

There was a ton of media attention on Khloé's relationship with True's father Tristan Thompson in her early days of motherhood, and in a new interview on the podcast "Divorce Sucks!," Khloé explained that co-parenting with someone you have a complicated relationship with isn't always easy, but when she looks at True she knows it's worth it.

"For me, Tristan and I broke up not too long ago so it's really raw," Khloé tells divorce attorney Laura Wasser on the podcast. She explains that even though it does "suck" at times, she's committed to having a good relationship with her ex because she doesn't want True to pick up on any negative energy, even at her young age.

That's why she invited Tristan to True's recent first birthday bash, even though she knew True wouldn't remember that party. "I know she's going to want to look back at all of her childhood memories like we all do," Khloé explained. "I know her dad is a great person, and I know how much he loves her and cares about her, so I want him to be there."

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We totally get why being around Tristan is hard for Khloé, but it sounds like she's approaching co-parenting with a positive attitude that will benefit True in the long run. Studies have found that shared parenting is good for kids and that former couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse" are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Khloé says her relationship with Tristan right now is "civilized," and hopefully it can get even better with time. As Suzanne Hayes noted in her six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, there's no magic bullet for moving past the painful feelings that come when a relationship ends and into a healthy co-parenting relationship, but treating your ex with respect and (non-romantic) love is a good place to start. Hayes describes it as "human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love."

It's a great place to start, and it sounds like Khloé has already figured that out.

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Kim Kardashian West welcomed her fourth child into the world. The expectancy and arrival of this boy (her second child from surrogacy) has garnered much attention.

In a surrogacy pregnancy, a woman carries a pregnancy for another family and then after giving birth she relinquishes her rights of the child.

On her website, Kim wrote that she had medical complications with her previous pregnancy leading her to this decision. “I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy. Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn't safe for my—or the baby's—health to carry on my own."

While the experience was challenging for her, “The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time. Having a gestational carrier was so special for us and she made our dreams of expanding our family come true. We are so excited to finally welcome home our baby girl."

A Snapchat video hinted that Kim may have planned to breastfeed her third child. What she chooses to do is of course none of our business. But is has raised the very interesting question, “Wait, can you breastfeed when you use a surrogate?"

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The answer is yes, you sure can! (And you can when you adopt a baby, too!)

When a women is pregnant, she begins a process called lactogenesis in which her body prepares itself to start making milk. This usually starts around the twenty week mark of pregnancy (half way through). Then, when the baby is born, the second phase of lactogenesis occurs, and milk actually starts to fill the breasts.

All of this occurs in response to hormones. When women do not carry a pregnancy, but wish to breastfeed, they can induce lactation, where they replicate the same hormonal process that happens during pregnancy.

A woman who wants to induce lactation can work with a doctor or midwife, and start taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone (which grow breast tissue)—often in the form of birth control pills—along with a medication called domperidone (which increases milk production).

Several weeks before the baby will be born, the woman stops taking the birth control pill but continues to take the domperidone to simulate the hormonal changes that would happen in a pregnancy. She'll also start pumping multiple times per day, and will likely add herbal supplements, like fenugreek and blessed thistle.

Women can also try to induce lactation without the hormones, by using pumping and herbs, it may be harder but some women feel more comfortable with that route.

Inducing lactation takes a lot of dedication—but then again, so does everything related to be a mama. It's a super personal decision, and not right for everyone.

The important thing to remember is that we need to support women and mothers through their entire journey, no matter what decisions they make about themselves and their families—whether Kardashian or the rest of us.

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