Becoming a mother is an amazing + joyful experience—It's also a really hard one. There are so many things to think about, and quite honestly, it can feel pretty overwhelming.
But don't worry—we've got you!
Motherly has created a comprehensive
infant care + postpartum recoveryclass to help you not only survive, but THRIVE, in your 4th trimester. We want you enter parenthood with confidence and excitement so you can truly enjoy this adventure.
Our class is 100% online, you can take it at your own pace, and return to it as often as you like.
The class covers:
How to care for your newborn—bath time, swaddling, when to call the pediatrician and more
How to take care of yourself and health after birth (vaginal + c-section)
The basics of breastfeeding
Understand infant sleep + how to start good sleep habits
Playing with your baby and understanding their development
Comforting and bonding with you baby
And so much more!
Thanks so much for your interest in Motherly Classes. We will be relaunching them this spring — please stay tuned for an announcement.
It's 5 pm. You just got home from a busy day at work, dinner is nowhere close to being started, and the afternoon shenanigans have taken ahold of your little ones. They need some time to decompress from their busy day and, let's be honest, you need a few moments to transition into the last part of yours, too.
Your child asks, "Mooooom? Can I watch a show?"
Cue parenting inner-dilemma.
You want to say yes, but you also have fears about technology. How much is too much? Is it bad for my children? Will it isolate my children from me?
Unfortunately, she says, the "fear and skepticism about these devices hold us back from their potential." The truth is, high-quality educational screen time can actually build connections (more on that in a minute). Even more exciting, did you know that the right screen time can help your child develop empathy?
Empathy is a skill, but as a society, we are losing it. A shocking study found that empathy drops by about 40% by the time kids get to college. In a world fraught with inequities, divisiveness and conflict, rebuilding empathy is paramount. Motherly mamas agree. In the 2019 State of Motherhood survey, you told us that your top priority was to nurture kindness with your children.
But how do we do this? Telling our child to "be a kind person" is great, but in order to truly understand, they need to see empathy in context. By using digital content as a prompt for communication and conversation, it becomes one of the many tools we have at our disposal to help guide our children on the path to becoming empathic, kind people.
Enter PBS KIDS.
Raun D. Melmed, MD, FAAP, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, and author of the Monster Diary series told us that, "our children have unprecedented access to wonderful educational opportunities through digital media. Interactive, nonjudgmental apps can enhance cognitive development (processing and organization, visual-spatial awareness, pattern recognition and even reading), social and emotional awareness, and even moral development."
When we control technology—and not the other way around—the potential is enormous.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that "media can have educational value for children starting at around 18 months of age, but it's critically important that this be high-quality programming, such as the content offered by Sesame Workshop and PBS."
1. What do I want my kids to get out of their digital media time?
Do you want them to have an opportunity to be creative and think outside the box? Pull up PBS KIDS ScratchJr. Is there something going on at home or in school that requires learning about sharing? Share the "Daniel Shares his Tigertastic Car" episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood with them.
Consider your goals, and then choose media accordingly.
2. What do I want my kids to get out of their digital media time? How can it support our family schedule and priorities?
It is okay to factor your needs into the equation, mama. Deriving benefit from your child's screen time is no need to feel guilty. Go ahead and start dinner, or send that email, or yes (gasp), put your feet up and relax for a bit.
Once you've figured out your 'why,' it's time to consider the 'how.'
1. Communicate the plan to your kids (and be clear about limits).
You could say, "You can play theWild Kratts game for 30 minutes while I work on dinner, and then we are going to go outside and flap our wings as bats do! Do you think we should eat mosquitos for dinner like they do?!"
Before you start the show, Dreiske recommends planting the communication seed: "Today we're going to notice what we're feeling and what the characters are feeling."
2. Discuss what your kid played or watched.
When screen time is over, strike up a conversation. Dreiske suggests open-ended questions that help to "[create] a special space in which your child feels safe enough emotionally to confide in you about their experiences. Let the child's emotion or feelings 'lead' the talk rather than being obscured by your feelings." You can try the following starters:
How did you feel when… ? Why?
How do you think that character felt?
What if that happened to one of your friends?
3. Find a balance of activities.
Like everything in life, screen time is best in moderation. It is important that children know that screen time is one of the many options they have for activities. Exercise, outdoor play, reading, coloring and more are also incredibly important.
If there is a show or game your child particularly loves, DeWitt suggests finding the non-screen time version of it. "For example, if the kids in Dinosaur Train start a nature collection, suggest a nature walk through your neighborhood after they've watched. If your child likes Ready Jet Go!, use theReady Jet Go Space Explorer app to look at the stars together and then continue exploring the night sky away from the screen. In other words, we can make digital media as a jumping off point for family fun!"
Sara DeWitt writes, "It helps to remember digital media is simply a tool, just like books, toys and art supplies. As parents, we have the power to decide how and when to use these tools with our kids."
When used thoughtfully, and with love, high-quality screen time is an incredibly powerful way to foster empathy and kindness in the next generation.
This article is sponsored by PBS KIDS. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
It's been a hard week of hard news. It's tough to hear about what is happening to the detained immigrant children and feel helpless (but you're not—you can help, mama) and sometimes our brains just need a break.
Don't worry Chrissy, we've got you covered. Here are seven adorable video posts from our archive to make Chrissy and all the other mamas happy today.
1. Viral video of dad helping daughter hula hoop
(via parents @mayaturnipseed + @djkingseed)
This video has been viewed so many times on our Facebook page because it is just that good. Watch this and try not to smile, we dare you.
There is nothing sweeter than a dad playing with his baby, and there is a ton of scientific evidence showing that when dads are involved like this father is, kids reap all kinds of developmental benefits and can even end up with higher self-esteem as they grow.
One of Motherly's Facebook commenter's said it best: "This is the best video ever. The bond between father and daughter is priceless ❤️"
2. Adorable video of little girl meeting Mickey Mouse
This little girl's reaction to meeting Mickey will make your day. 💕
Seriously, turn the audio up because this is the cutest thing. We all get a little star struck when we meet a celeb and this 2-year-old is no exception.
"Hi Mickey!" she shouts (over, and over).
She just couldn't get enough hugs from the famous mouse (honestly, we would be super excited, too) who was a really good sport and sang to his little fan, making her day (and ours).
The Magic Kingdom really is magic.
3. Viral video of a dad adoring his newborn daughter
She's definitely going to be a daddy's girl. 😍
This is going to melt your heart. If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: There is nothing sweeter than a man loving his child, and this proud dad obviously can't get enough of his baby girl.
"You're the best thing that ever happened to me," he coos at her, making her smile.
"You're my best friend," he tells her.
A study found when parents chat with their babies like this it can help infants recognize people, places and things.
Another study found that when parents use baby talk, babies may learn to talk faster.
This is a daddy-daughter duo that is going to be having a lot of these conversations for years to come. This baby is beautiful and so is their bond.
4. Hilarious video of babies that scoot, slide and army crawl
Check out these babies who are just figuring out how to get where they want to go, by any means possible.
Whether it's a scoot, a slide, or a crawl that's not quite a crawl, these babies are finding creative ways to get mobile.
"There is a big age range for when babies start to crawl (and some never do), so don't worry if yours has not started," notes Dr. Tovah Klein.
She continues: "Being mobile is very exciting—[your baby] can move on her own and that is an enormous shift for her. Soon she will be able to pull up to standing, which is thrilling as well. She has more control of her world and being upright gives her a new view of her world."
These moves in the video may not be true baby steps, but they are baby steps to baby steps, if you get what we mean.
5. Viral video shows NICU 'graduate' in cap and gown
After 160 days in the NICU, baby Cullen Potter was carried by his primary care nurse, Jewel Barbour, as he "graduated" from the NICU, in attire fitting of such a momentous milestone: A tiny cap and gown.
The little graduate, Cullen was born weighing three ounces shy of a pound.and was no bigger than a can of soda. Over the next five months, the Potters went back and back and forth from their home in Florida to the hospital in Mobile, Alabama to be with Cullen.
Getting to graduation day was a big achievement for Cullen, his thankful parents and the amazing medical team who took such good care of him.
"It was an overwhelming sense of joy. It didn't feel real. We were going to walk out with our baby after five long months. We can never say thank you enough to the nurses and doctors as staff at the hospital. They saved our baby," Cullen's mom, Molli Potter told Motherly last year.
6. Viral video of a baby in a dinosaur costume will make your day
BRB, ordering all of our babies Dino costumes for Halloween.
Did you know that your kid's dinosaur obsession is really good for them? This little baby could be crawling toward an obsession that will serve them well.
A 2007 study published in the journal Developmental Research, found about 1 in 3 young children will develop an "intense interest" at some point, and dinosaur obsessions rank really high in what they are interested in.
"It makes them feel powerful," paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara told CNN. "Their parent may be able to name three or four dinosaurs and the kid can name 20, and the kid seems like a real authority."
This baby can't say "dinosaur" yet, but they sure are a cute one.
7. Adorable video of dad pretending to have a conversation with his baby goes viral
Baby breaks the internet babbling to dad 😍
Motherly recently caught up with proud parents DJ Pryor + @Shanieke Pryor—about their adorable 19-month-old son Kingston who has warmed all our hearts. 💕
"I know every parent probably thinks this—but seeing his growth every day and how he interprets what he sees—it's thrilling to me," DJ told Motherly.
My oldest has been expressing herself with clothing, shoes, costumes, hats, jewelry, gloves and bows (lots of bows) for two years now, and I don't see it slowing down any time soon. She's five, but her love for styling herself independently began around age three. She loves colors and patterns and prints. (Especially when there are lots of different ones together in one outfit.) Mixing and matching and over-accessorizing is her love language.
She will come out of her room and declare herself ready to go—in the MOST creative concoctions I have ever seen. Truly. Lady Gaga's got nothin' on this 5-year-old fashionista.
There was the time she wore her green frog dance recital costume (including the hat and gloves) with a Christmas Rudolph sweater over it and mermaid leggings under it—to the grocery store.
There was the time she wore a furry unicorn onesie with heart-shaped sunglasses that looked like they came straight out of Elton John's closet and clip-on earrings—to music class.
And then there was the time—oh wait, it's most of the time—when she layers (there are always so many layers). Because, honey, a t-shirt and leggings are just the base layer! After that, you need to add jean shorts over the leggings, a dress over the t-shirt, a cardigan over the dress and you must always remember to pack a small carry-on size back of backup outfits anywhere you go.
Then, and only then, will you be ready for the day.
This place we are now—where my kids dress (mostly) however they want—took some time to get to. I have not always been comfortable with the layering (is that tank top really necessary over that long-sleeved shirt?!) and the mixing of colors and patterns makes my inner-perfectionist want to shout, "THAT DOESN'T MATCH! NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT!"
But, over time, I've trained myself to say instead, "You look awesome! Nice outfit!" as long as it's weather appropriate.
I don't have control over their bodies and choices, and I don't want that. I aim to be their guide, helping and assisting when necessary. I have let go of aiming for or wanting control.
If it's good for them. It's good for me. They are learning how to make their own choices, how to dress and get ready for the day independently, and it takes one thing off of my very long to-do list. It's a win-win for everyone, really. (Let's skip the topic of dealing with meltdowns over not being able to wear your swimsuit and flip flops when it's snowing out for another essay…😂)
So to the mother who has let their child dress themselves today—I FEEL you. I see you. I am you.
I see that your child also has 5+ bows in their hair and a layer of leggings, shorts and a skirt on.
I see that your child has a Spiderman costume on with a shark sweatshirt over it and a PJ Mask cape attached to the back.
And I see that your child has every color of the rainbow on, plus their shoes on the wrong feet.
My friend, I salute you.
I know that your kiddo dressed themselves and I want to give you both a big high five. I know this life well. And I know you too might wonder, What are people going to think with this outfit on? That I'm not teaching my kids to look presentable? That I don't care enough to tell them that their shoes are on the wrong feet?
I know that's not the case.
I know you're showing your child what having control over their own body looks like.
I know you're allowing them to feel free creatively in their expression of themselves.
And I know you told them that their feet may be more comfortable if they switched their shoes around, but they swear they like how it feels that way.
We've learned over the past few years from my kid's favorite movie soundtracks, Annie, that "you're never fully dressed without a smile"—but little did those lyricists know they should have added, "and also at least three layers of various items of clothing, three bows and three additional accessories of your choosing!" (That doesn't have quite the same ring to it though, now does it?)
If there's one day a year we can't wait for, it's Amazon Prime Day. We love a good deal (one of our editors *just* got through the dish soap she ordered last year!) and we prefer to do our shopping from the comforts of our home.
That's why we're even more excited about the news that just released—Prime Day 2019 will be two full days, starting on midnight (PT) Monday, July 15 through just before midnight on Tuesday, July 16. 🙌
Amazon announced that it'll feature more than one million deals, and some have already started. You can browse all of the Prime Day launches here. Amazon released these deal sneak peeks:
While all of the deals aren't available, Amazon's products typically always go on sale so take a look ahead of time to know what you'd like to add to your list. We love the Echo Show for video calling grandparents, the Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet for indestructible devices for kids, and the Echo Dot for asking all of the questions.
There are only a certain number of items that qualify for the deal and they can go fast. You can use the Amazon App to track upcoming deals and set it to notify you when that deal is about to begin. Sold out? See if there's a waitlist option—if an item becomes available, you'll be added to the line to be notified.
4. Make a list
It can be tempting to order all of the things because they seem like a good deal, but remember that deals happen throughout the year, too. To avoid having a million boxes showing up at your doorstep (guilty 🤷♀️) make a list of what you really need for the year. Think: Birthday presents, holiday shopping, household goods you always use, that item you'd love to treat yourself to, a stroller you desperately need. If it's on the list, don't hesitate to buy so you don't miss out.