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8 reasons prenatal vitamins are good for your future baby

You can promote baby’s health and development before you are even pregnant.

8 reasons prenatal vitamins are good for your future baby

Iron

Iron keeps your risk for anemia (a common issue in pregnancy) in check and supports baby’s physical growth.


If you test positive for anemia during pregnancy, look into taking an additional iron supplement. Healthy iron-rich foods include soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, iron-fortified cereal and chickens’ livers.

DHA (omega-3)

DHA is the epitome of “brain food.” In the first year alone, baby’s brain will double in size. Some of this growth is thanks to fat in baby’s diet both before and after birth.

DHA is a special kind of fat that can help the development of myelin sheath, a coating surrounding the brain’s many axons. This myelin helps nerve cells communicate more quickly, allowing your tot to think fast and make more connections.

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If that’s not enough, DHA plays a role in healthy visual development and may reduce baby’s risk of asthma and allergies.

If you are looking to add more DHA (omega-3) to your diet, try fatty fishes (like salmon and tuna) and omega-3-fortified eggs. Vegan and vegetarian mamas, be mindful to add flax, hemp seeds and chia seeds to your diet.

Iodine

This nutrient is crucial for baby’s brain development. However, most foods are relatively low in iodine. Iodized salt is a good bet, but if you prefer to stick with sea salt, make sure your prenatal vitamin fulfills your daily requirements.

Folic acid

Probably the most important vitamin to take when baby is in the womb, folic acid wards off neural tube defects of the brain and spinal cord.

Since the brain and spinal cord develop early in pregnancy, it’s best to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid before you become pregnant and for at least 12 weeks into your pregnancy.

Looking for folate-rich foods? Try leafy green vegetables, nuts, rice and eggs.

Embarking on the journey of bringing a new life into the world?

Before baby is even conceived, you may be wondering (and worrying) about the development of this tiny person.

(Get used to the worrying part. Just because baby isn’t on the scene yet doesn’t make you any less of a mama!)

In order to promote baby’s healthy development, try your best to eat a healthy diet before, during and after your pregnancy.

Start taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant and throughout your pregnancy. Doctors recommend starting them months before TTC.

Many of baby’s most crucial developments occur during the first month of pregnancy (possibly before you even realize you’re expecting!), so it’s important to consider your nutrition as early as possible to fortify your body’s nutrient reserves.

You can even take prenatal vitamins throughout breastfeeding, since they work wonders for your hair and nails.

In my work as a developmental psychologist, I have found that physical and cognitive development often go hand in hand. Early development in the womb is no exception!

The nutrients provided by a healthy diet and prenatal vitamins aren’t just crucial for baby’s physical development—they can have lasting impacts on cognitive development, too.

So, what’s the difference between prenatal vitamins and standard multivitamins? So glad you asked, mama! Prenatal vitamins are usually higher in folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B, iodine and DHA (omega-3).

Here’s how those 8 vitamins + minerals matter to your future child.

Vitamin B

Also important for vegetarian mamas, vitamin B12 is related to baby’s mental functioning. Similar to folic acid, deficits of this vitamin are related to increased risk of neural tube defects.

To improve your chances of absorbing more of the nutrients you are trying so hard to take in, make sure your prenatal vitamin has B6, a vitamin shown to reduce morning sickness (allowing more nutrients to stick with you and baby throughout the day).

Blocking side effects

If you think your prenatal vitamin may be upsetting your stomach, try taking it in the evening with food. Remember that the key to baby’s healthy development is eating a healthy, balanced diet. Just think of your prenatal vitamins as a nutritious cherry on top!

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Calcium

Not all prenatal vitamins offer calcium, a necessary nutrient for baby’s growing bones (as well as your own). If you do not regularly eat calcium-rich foods like leafy greens, dairy, fortified plant-based milks and fortified cereal, consider a calcium supplement or calcium-based antacid.

Bonus: If you’re experiencing morning sickness, a calcium antacid can work wonders for your troubled tummy. (Is that why pregnant mamas are infamous for their ice cream cravings?!) Take an antacid with your prenatal vitamin to reduce the chances that your vitamin is actually the culprit behind your morning sickness.

Vitamin D

Research indicates that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy is related to reduced risks of pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes and preterm birth.

Plus, vitamin D will help your body absorb calcium more readily, a necessity for baby’s developing bones.

For foods high in vitamin D, try portobello mushrooms, salmon and fortified milks and cereals. Better yet, take a relaxing stroll outside for a little bit of sunshine.

When it comes to registering for baby products, there's one word we love: convertible.

In contrast to items you use for a short period of time, convertible (or multi-use) products are made to grow with your baby… and trust us, that makes them worth their weight in gold.

Convertible items allow you to reap the benefits of your baby registry for years to come—and that's just savvy shopping, mama. Also savvy shopping? Creating your baby registry with Target and enjoying their Year of Benefits registry program for expectant parents. Just by starting your registry, you will get a welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. And Target's newest registry perk, the Year of Exclusive Deals, gives you discounts on essentials for your baby's whole first year when you sign up for Target Circle as well.

If you prioritize value and longevity when creating your registry, here are 10 items you'll love from day one through day 1,000… and beyond!


A crib that can grow through childhood + beyond

Simmons Kids Slumbertime Monterey 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

A crib is a necessity as you plan for life with your baby—you know that already. But what about in a couple of years when they need a toddler bed? Or a few years beyond that when they graduate to a bigger bed? Well, you're in luck: With the right attachments, this bed can be the only one they need until college.

$299.99

A cozy blanket for snuggles + security

Plush Velboa Baby Blanket I Love You - Cloud Island\u2122 White/Black

Blankets have earned their spot on millions upon millions of registries for good reason: They function as stroller covers or play mats during the early days, then become beloved security items in the toddler years.

$14.99

A comfy spot for feeding + stories

Baby Relax Addison Swivel Gliding Recliner

During your first months of motherhood, a comfortable gliding chair will be your second home as you spend time feeding and bonding. As your child grows (and mobility makes those snuggles harder to catch), you'll discover a new love for this cozy spot for stories and bedtime snuggles.

$329.99

https://goto.target.com/YJj2e

Sealy Cozy Rest Extra Firm Crib and Toddler Mattress

Fun fact: A standard crib and toddler bed actually use the same size mattress. That's why it's smart to get a quality crib mattress right out of the gate: One less thing to change up in a few years!

$59.99

A changing table that doubles as a dresser

Simmons\u00ae Kids Monterey 4 Drawer Dresser with change top

If space is at a premium in your baby's nursery, look for a combination changing table and dresser. That way, you can keep using the dresser long after your little one is potty trained.

$319.99

A car seat that converts to a booster

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The safest place for your child is in the backseat of your car, in either a car seat or (later) booster. But instead of buying a new seat for each phase, you can check off multiple boxes at once by adding a convertible car seat to your registry.

$159.99

A stroller that accommodates big kids, too

Graco FastAction Jogger LX Stroller

The need for a good stroller doesn't end when your little one learns to walk, so look for a stroller that can accommodate bigger kids, too. We recommend a jogging stroller that allows you to attach an infant car seat and is still perfectly spacious for toddlers.

$146.99

A place to dine for years to come

Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

From first bites to family dinners around the table, one single high chair can be the solution you need. That is, if you look for a version that adapts into a booster seat when your child is ready for a plate at the table.

$99.99

A white noise machine + alarm clock in one

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

After spending months listening to ambient noise in the womb, white noise remains incredibly comforting for your child. It's nice to have a sound machine that can transition to a time-to-rise clock down the line. By cueing with sounds and colors, these clocks reinforce healthy sleep habits.

$59.99

A baby carrier that can haul a toddler, too

Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier

A carrier is a major help when your baby loves being held, but you need use of your hands. But even months or years down the line, you can still get use out of that carrier. To maximize longevity, look for one that can be used with your child facing outward or even carried on your back as they grow.

$29.99

Enjoy building your registry with Target, mama! The Year of Benefits is calling your name with a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more! 😉

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

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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