Time for another baby? 5 questions to ask before growing your family

When baby fever strikes again, as yourself these questions.

Time for another baby?  5 questions to ask before growing your family

So, you think you’re ready for baby #2 (or #3 or #4)? Congratulations on considering bringing another little one into the world!

If you ask me, one of the most inspiring features of successful parenthood is the willingness to do it again—this time with two (or more!) in hand.

You’ve got this.

Before you bust out your monthly cycle calendar, ask yourself (and your partner!) these 5 questions to make sure this is the prime time for baby making—

How many years apart should our children be?

There are pros and cons to different age gaps, so the key isto ask yourself what your priorities are.

Do you want to make sure you only have one child in diapers at a time? Do you want your older child to help out a little with chores and household responsibilities? Do you want your older child to be in school, so you can give your new babe more one-on-one bonding time, just like your older child had?


If so, you may want to shoot for a 2-4 year age gap.

Are you more interested in getting all of those diaper changes out of the way sooner? Don’t feel like packing up all of those cute baby clothes just to pull them out again in a year or so? Worried you might forget all of those baby care basics you learned in a sleep deprived haze?

In this case, consider spacing your little ones closer together.

Of course, there are some things you will learn with a newborn that you will never forget—like how to brew the perfect pot of French press. ☕

In terms of child outcomes, if your older child is a girl, she may benefit cognitively from having a sibling closer in age. If your older child is a boy, he may fare better cognitively with a wider gap between him and future siblings.

Can we handle one more?

Okay, I’ll say it. Some babies are (a little) easier than others. I’ve met babies who will sit, listen, engage, and go along with whatever you have in mind. I’ve met others (mine included) who will run circles around you and said chill baby while you try to engage with them.

After a little discussion, some of my mommy friends and I realized that those with seemingly calmer babies became pregnant again just a little sooner than those of us with more, shall we say, vigorous babes.

It may be anecdotal, but it certainly makes sense to consider your ability to effectively handle your current handful while caring for a new baby.

It also makes sense to consider your sanity as a mother before committing yourself to the responsibilities of a newborn in the midst of what must be the most terrible part of the terrible twos…surely this is the worst of it, right?

What do we need to do to prepare?

Finally enjoying the feeling that you have this whole mom thing figured out and don’t really feel like giving it up just yet?

It’s only fair that you have a little time to breathe once you have (at least somewhat) figured out baby #1. Before you get pregnant again, you may want to mentally prepare yourself for looking after another addition to your crew.

As for preparing your body, research suggests that it may be preferable to lose baby weight before another pregnancy in order to reduce risks of obesity.

Additionally, recent research suggests that pregnancies occurring less than 18 months after a previous birth are more likely to result in pre-term labor and low birth weight. This may be nature’s way of telling us that our bodies need plenty of time to recover between pregnancies and births.

Preparing for another family addition may also mean enlisting the help of a child care provider, housekeeper, or another form of assistance to relieve some of your many mama duties. Depending on the local market, you may want to look into this assistance a few months in advance.

Financially, you will need to do a little bit of planning as well. If your children are spaced closely together, you may need to purchase a few baby items twice (e.g., cribs, swings, car seats). You may also find yourself paying for two college tuitions at the same time.

Then again, child care for two children close in age may save you money as many providers offer discounts for second siblings.

How will this change affect my older child?

Do you find your child in constant need of assistance and supervision, or do you think they might be ready to take on a little more independence?

If your child is old enough to be slightly more self-reliant in terms of playing, dressing, and using the potty, a new sibling might be just the ticket to promote these autonomous behaviors.

Plus, your older child may benefit from having a little brother or sister to play with and nurture.

If you have felt less of an emotional connection with your toddler lately (thanks, terrible twos!), you may want to focus on re-establishing that bond before trying for another child.

Research suggests that a second sibling can be stressful for older children, so keep that in mind, too.

When do I want to be done having kids?

Let’s get scientific for a minute. The top factor in predicting your age of menopause is the age at which your mother experienced hers. Because it is genetically influenced, you may be able to estimate when you will be taken out of the baby-making game.

If you are so inclined, you may want to do some baby math to determine when you need to have your next child (especially if you want more to come after that!).

For me personally, I barely have enough energy to take care of my little handful now…and I had him when I was 27. Consider your own career, lifestyle, and energy level when determining how old (no, how young) you want to be when you have your children.

Is there ever a perfect time to have a baby? Heck no. Especially when you already have one or more little ones running around. Babies are a handful regardless of your current life situation. But sometimes that means we just have to throw a little caution to the wind and go for it!

If baby fever has struck (again), it might just be more fun to take that wild baby ride!

If anyone can handle another little sprout, it’s you, mama. You’ve got this. Really.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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