First Look: Seraphine Soho

British maternity line Seraphine drops its U.S. anchor with a NYC store.

First Look: Seraphine Soho

There are so many things love about London. And what soon-to-be mama doesn't love an afternoon tea, some fish & chips...or Kate Middleton? Add to that list Seraphine, the stylish and sophisticated British maternity brand that's a perennial favorite of just about every pregnant celebrity (including Kate Middleton). Pregnant Brits already get to shop Seraphine's three London boutiques regularly, while us American gals have had to get our fill online only, with just a smattering of the line available at maternity retailers stateside. But as of last week, we've got our very own gorgeous Seraphine boutique in the middle of Soho. The spacious West Broadway shop carries a vast array of the brand's collection, which spans from denim to evening gowns and everything in between. The boutique even carries Seraphine's brand new (and uber-comfy) ShoeTherapy line, heavenly ballet flats and pumps that are perfect for a city gal on the move. And for the new mom, there's plenty of nursing wear as well. Below, the brand's founder Cecile Reinaud gives WRNY the scoop on the new shop and her best tips for a stylish 9 months and beyond. Who's the Seraphine customer and what's her style? Our customer is a trendy, yummy mommy that likes following trends and keeping both fashionable and attractive during the 9 months. She is also a busy mom who nurses her baby and likes to also keep stylish during that postpartum phase.

Megan Hilty at the new shop

How has the line grown and evolved since launching? The line has evolved a lot and the collection has gotten bigger. We have launched a lot of different areas into the brand. We've introduced swimwear, underwear, and a nursing collection which is a very important part of the brand. Two years ago we also launched the luxe collection which is all evening wear and very high end red carpet. Over the years we broadened the line to try to cover every need and aspect of what a pregnant woman could want. Why did you want to open a NYC store? We decided to open because we do a lot of sales online in the US and we are seeing that customer base grow really fast with very good feedback. We've got three stores in London and one in Paris. We feel that New York is also a major fashion capital so it was a must for our brand to open a store here. This is our first, but we are planning to do a roll out of stores in the USA--there will definitely be more to come. How is the American pregnancy market different than other places? I don't think it is much different actually because what everyone wants to do these days is follow celebrities--something that also happens in London. Perhaps in the U.S. people are even more eager followers of celebrities so whatever is worn by a celebrity, often becomes an instant hit. I think the fashion today is very global and people aspire to the same things so we are not seeing much difference. In terms of trends, we know that Americans love prints which are something we have introduced more and more into our collection. Pregnancy is having a big fashion moment--with some of fashion's most stylish ladies pregnant now, how is it changing the perception of fashion and style during pregnancy? It's changing it a lot! I think people are realizing that you can still look glamorous and sexy during pregnancy. They see celebrities doing that look and they feel like they have to get on the bandwagon. They don't want to be left as the frumpy, maternity lady! I think it has a huge impact. What are some of the biggest trends in pregnancy fashion right now? Right now we have quite a strong trend with leather treggings. They are very comfortable through pregnancy so people love wearing those. Gwen Stefani wore ours so that helped to reinforce that trend! We are also seeing quite a lot of bright colors which has come from the cat walks. People are being more daring with reds and berry colors and moving away from black and gray which is usually a maternity staple. Denim also continues to work extremely well with the skinny look and bump hugging clothes. What are your best 3 style tips for pregnancy?
  1. Stay true to your style, which is our motto. Look for clothes that are still the types of clothing you would have liked pre-pregnancy. You can find those at Seraphine!
  2. Embrace your curves, show them off and do not try to hide them! Dare to wear more tight fitting clothing that maybe you do wear when you are not pregnant.
  3. Accessorize! Use lots of jewelry and scarves to brighten up your look and make it fun and on trend.

In This Article

    Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn on how they’re ‘sneak teaching’ kids with their new show "Do, Re & Mi"

    The best friends created a musical animated show that's just as educational as it is entertaining

    Amazon Studios

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

    Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn have been best friends since they met as young singers and actors more than 15 years ago, and now they're collaborating on a new Amazon Original animated kids series called Do, Re & Mi. The show, which follows best birds Do, Re and Mi as they navigate the world around them while also belting out catchy tunes, is just as educational as it is entertaining.

    On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Bell and Tohn talk to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about how they're "sneak teaching" kids with their new show and why music is such an important focal point.

    "It was basically our mission from the very beginning to 'sneak music education' into kids' lives, hands, brains, all of it," Tohn admits.

    "There's so much science and data to support that [music] helps kids, their brains grow with math, with social skills. It literally can change your neuroplasticity. You can put music of their favorite genre or timeframe on, in an Alzheimer's ward, and they will come back online for a couple minutes. I mean, it's crazy," Bell, who has two daughters of her own, adds. "You know, music can bind a lot of families together. It can bind friendships together. And it's just a show that you can feel really good about. We want to get it in front of as many kids as possible, because I don't like the fact that some kids won't have exposure to music. Their brains deserve to grow just as much as everyone else's."

    The first season of Do, Re & Mi premiered on September 17th and its creators recorded 52 different songs for the show that range from reggae and pop to country, blues and jazz.

    "That's what's so exciting about this show," Tohn gushes. "Not only are the lessons we're teaching for everyone, but every episode has a musical genre, a musical lesson and an emotional lesson. And so there really is so much to learn."

    Elsewhere in the episode, Bell tells Tenety about how she made literal toolboxes that carry different regulation tools to help her kids calm down (one is "find a song you love and sing out loud") and why having a village is crucial to surviving motherhood, especially in a pandemic, while Tohn details her special friendship not only with Bell, but with her daughters, too.

    To hear more about the show, Bell's experiences in motherhood, and her enduring friendship with Tohn, listen to The Motherly Podcast for the full interview.

    Entertainment

    12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

    Eager to get out and go? Start here

    Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

    Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

    With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

    As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

    If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

    Tayla™️ XP Travel System

    Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.


    Add to Babylist

    $849.99

    Iora Bedside Bassinet

    Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.


    Add to Babylist

    $249.99

    Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

    Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.


    Add to Babylist

    $119.99

    Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

    A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.


    Add to Babylist

    $219.99

    Coral XP Infant Car Seat

    With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.


    Add to Babylist

    $399.99

    Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

    From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.


    Add to Babylist

    $289.99

    Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

    Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.


    Add to Babylist

    $329.99

    Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

    With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.


    Add to Babylist
    $499.99

    Tayla Travel System

    This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.


    Add to Babylist
    $699.99

    Modern Diaper Bag

    When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.


    Add to Babylist

    $129.99

    Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

    Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.


    Add to Babylist
    $299.99

    Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

    From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.


    Add to Babylist
    $599.99

    Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

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


    Boost 1

    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.


    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter

    Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.

    $249

    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.

    $145

    Lumbar pillow

    sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?

    $65

    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.

    $40

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

    Shop

    10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

    The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

    No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

    More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

    Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.


    1. "You're safe here."

    If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

    2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

    It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

    If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

    After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

    3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

    Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

    It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

    4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

    Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

    If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

    Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

    5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

    Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

    If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

    Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

    6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

    Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

    If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

    If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

    7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

    While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

    Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

    They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

    Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

    8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

    Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

    Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

    If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

    Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

    9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

    Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

    It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

    10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

    If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

    Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

    It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

    To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

    Back to School

    Experts warn that acetaminophen is NOT considered safe in pregnancy

    An international group of experts warn that the risks to the developing fetus may include reproductive and behavioral disorders.

    Lordn/Getty Images

    If you're pregnant and you have a headache or a fever, Tylenol (acetaminophen) has long been at the top of the already short list of over-the-counter medications generally regarded as safe for both mothers and fetuses.

    However, according to a study published in September 2021 in the journal Nature Reviews Endocrinology, mounting research shows that "prenatal exposure to acetaminophen might alter fetal development, which could increase the risks of some neurodevelopmental, reproductive and urogenital disorders."


    Signed by 91 scientists from across the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Brazil, Scotland and Europe, a consensus statement published in the same journal draws a hard line, recommending that "pregnant women should forgo acetaminophen use unless medically indicated."

    I've taken Tylenol during both my pregnancies. Many of my mom friends have taken it during their pregnancies. I'm sure my own mother took it when she was pregnant with me.

    Doctors and midwives often fall back on Tylenol when pregnant women come to them looking for pain relief. But now, that's no longer a failsafe protocol.

    Potential risks to the fetus from Tylenol in pregnancy

    Performing a review of the most recent literature, the researchers found that acetaminophen exposure during pregnancy may be associated with reproductive and neurobehavioral abnormalities in both boys and girls.

    In boys, exposure may increase the risk of reproductive abnormalities, including a higher risk of undescended testicles, and a reduced distance between the anus and the base of the penis, (termed the anogenital distance). Both of these factors may indicate "altered masculinization" and the potential for other reproductive disorders later in life.

    In girls, prenatal acetaminophen exposure is associated with early puberty.

    In both sexes, studies suggest exposure might increase the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, language delay and decreased intelligence quotient (IQ).

    Figure 1 from Paracetamol use during pregnancy — a call for precautionary action.

    More research is needed to assess the timing, duration and dosage of acetaminophen usage, but numerous animal studies also back up these findings.

    In rats, fetal exposure to acetaminophen has been shown to also cause reproductive disorders, reduced fertility later in life and changes in cognitive function and behavior.

    Figure 2 from Paracetamol use during pregnancy — a call for precautionary action.

    It's unclear at what dosage Tylenol is harmful, but the strongest negative effects were observed with long-term use of acetaminophen (more than 2 weeks). If you happen to take it once or twice during your pregnancy at the minimum dose, you're much less likely to see such drastic repercussions.

    Tylenol use is widespread

    Acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used medications around the world—and it's often used in the general population without even a second thought. It's included in hundreds of other medications, including cough syrups, flu medicines, allergy medicines and sleep aids. It's often presumed benign, even though it's one of the major contributors to liver disease in the U.S. each year, writes doctor and midwife Aviva Romm, MD on a blog post about the safety of Tylenol in pregnancy.

    Approximately 65% of pregnant women in the U.S. are estimated to have used Tylenol, and globally, more than 50% of pregnant women are expected to have used it (where it's widely known as paracetamol). Those statistics are also probably underreported. "One study showed that when asked about pharmaceutical use, many pregnant women did not report [acetaminophen] unless specifically asked," note the researchers.

    The authors of the study acknowledge that acetaminophen "is widely considered to be the safest option for relief of pain and fever in pregnancy." And in fact, it's often the only option touted by healthcare professionals for their pregnant patients.

    The researchers cite acetaminophen as an endocrine disruptor, saying it is known to "readily cross the placenta and blood-brain barrier," making its way to the fetus—with potentially harmful effects.

    Now, given the growing body of evidence, it's time for increased awareness. The consensus statement calls on regulatory agencies, obstetrics and gynecological associations and healthcare providers to review the most recent research and reconsider their recommendations.

    But where does that leave pregnant women dealing with pain in the meantime?

    Pregnant women need pain management solutions

    Clinical trials on the pregnant population are notoriously lacking (not without reason—performing studies on pregnant women can be ethically fraught), and pain during pregnancy is especially understudied. However, we do know that severe pain during pregnancy, left untreated, could have dangerous consequences for the mother, including an increased risk of anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.

    And if you happen to get a fever above 100.4º during pregnancy, reducing it is your best course of action, as prenatal fever is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects and cardiovascular disorders in the fetus.

    But other pain management options are limited—or nonexistent. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen come with an increased potential risk of miscarriage in the first half of pregnancy, as well as birth defects. Aspirin carries a risk of bleeding risks, and opioids come with serious risks of birth defects in the brain, spine or spinal cord.

    More research—and more options—are needed.

    Pregnant women should avoid acetaminophen

    The study's authors outlined a specific course of action, recommending that women be advised pre-pregnancy or early in pregnancy with the following guidance:

    • Pregnant women should forgo acetaminophen use unless medically indicated.
    • Pregnant women should consult with their physician or pharmacist if they are uncertain whether use is indicated and before using on a long-term basis.
    • Pregnant women should minimize risk by using the lowest effective acetaminophen dose for the shortest possible time.

    This is a major departure from the previous guidance of acetaminophen as generally accepted as safe. But if you've used Tylenol in a previous pregnancy, don't lambast yourself with mom guilt—you did the best you could with the information you had at the time.

    "The chances are, statistically speaking, still low that this will have any impact on your baby. And for fever and significant pain, it's still considered the safest prenatal option. But we can't just assume it's safe and it can have an impact, so the goal is to avoid it when you can and keep your duration of use as brief as possible," writes Dr. Romm on her blog.

    What to take instead of Tylenol during pregnancy

    If the idea of even taking one Tylenol pill gives you pause, know that there are a few alternative remedies safe for pregnancy that can be used for mild pain. For fever reduction, however, given the potentially dire consequences of high, prolonged fever itself during pregnancy, taking a Tylenol to reduce the fever is still probably your safest option—talk to your doctor to discuss details.

    Headache reduction alternatives:

    • Hydration: In some cases, a headache is the body's way of signaling that you're dehydrated. Try upping your water intake, or sipping some cold coconut water, which packs in electrolytes.
    • Protein and fat: You could be missing key nutrients in your diet—try rounding out your meals and snacks with more protein and plant-based fats to balance blood sugar.
    • Magnesium: Taking 400 to 800 mg/day of magnesium glycinate or citrate can help relieve tension headaches and improve the stress response.
    • Massage: Neck and shoulder massage can help release tension and reduce the resulting headaches.
    • Stress management: Deep-breathing techniques may help reduce stress-based headaches.

    Be sure to get your midwife or doctor's tips on headache management, too, and to discuss the frequency and duration of the headaches you're experiencing. If a headache comes on suddenly and severely, or you experience any vision changes, call your care provider right away.

    But ultimately, as the study's authors state, "A balance must be struck between potential harm to pregnant people and/or their fetuses from untreated pain and fever, and the increased risks of harm to the fetus from medications." When thinking about using Tylenol or any other medication during pregnancy, it's all about the risk-benefit analysis. But being more informed about the risks can make a significant difference when you're weighing the scales.

    Sources:

    Bauer AZ, Swan SH, Kriebel D et al. Paracetamol use during pregnancy—a call for precautionary action. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2021. doi:10.1038/s41574-021-00553-7

    Caution needed: paracetamol use in pregnancy. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2021. doi:10.1038/s41574-021-00567-1

    F.D.A. Safety Announcement: Drug Safety Communications. FDA has reviewed possible risks of pain medicine use during pregnancy. January 9, 2015.

    Womens Health

    How a parent’s affection shapes a child’s happiness for life

    Plus, how you can bring more affection into your family's day.

    We all live busy, stressful lives and have endless concerns as parents, but it is clear that one of the most important things we need to do is to stop and give our kids a big loving squeeze.

    Research over the past decade highlights the link between parental affection in childhood and health and happiness in the future.

    Science supports the idea that warmth and affection expressed by parents to their children results in life-long positive outcomes for those children, according to Child Trends, the leading nonprofit research organization in the United States focused on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families.


    Higher self esteem, improved academic performance, better parent-child communication, and fewer psychological and behavior problems have been linked to this type of affection.

    On the other hand, children who do not have affectionate parents tend to have lower self esteem and to feel more alienated, hostile, aggressive, and antisocial.

    A number of recent studies highlight the importance of parental affection for children's happiness and success.

    In 2010, researchers at Duke University Medical School found that babies with very affectionate and attentive mothers grow up to be happier, more resilient, and less anxious adults. The study involved approximately 500 people who were followed from when they were infants until they were in their 30s.

    When the babies were eight months old, psychologists observed their mothers' interactions with them as they took several developmental tests. The psychologists rated the mother's affection and attention level on a five-point scale, ranging from “negative" to “extravagant." Nearly 10% of the mothers showed low levels of affection, 85 percent demonstrated a normal amount of affection, and about six percent showed high levels of affection.

    Then 30 years later, those same individuals were interviewed about their emotional health. The adults whose mothers showed “extravagant" or “caressing" affection were much less likely than the others to feel stressed and anxious. They were also less likely to report hostility, distressing social interactions, and psychosomatic symptoms.

    The researchers involved in this study concluded that the hormone oxytocin may be responsible for this effect.

    Oxytocin is a chemical in the brain released during times when a person feels love and connection. It has been shown to help parents bond with their children, adding a sense of trust and support between them. This bond most likely helps our brain produce and use oxytocin, causing a child to feel more positive emotions.

    Next, a 2013 study from UCLA found that unconditional love and affection from a parent can make children emotionally happier and less anxious. This happens because their brain actually changes as a result of the affection.

    On the other hand, the negative impact of childhood abuse and lack of affection impacts children both mentally and physically. This can lead to all kinds of health and emotional problems throughout their lives. What's really fascinating is that scientists think parental affection can actually protect individuals against the harmful effects of childhood stress.

    Then in 2015, a study out of the University of Notre Dame showed that children who receive affection from their parents were happier as adults. More than 600 adults were surveyed about how they were raised, including how much physical affection they had.

    The adults who reported receiving more affection in childhood displayed less depression and anxiety and were more compassionate overall. Those who reported less affection struggled with mental health, tended to be more upset in social situations, and were less able to relate to other people's perspectives.

    Researchers have also studied the benefits of skin-to-skin contact for infants.

    This special interaction between mother and baby, in particular, helps calm babies so they cry less and sleep more. It has also been shown to boost brain development. According to an article in Scientific American, children who lived in a deprived environment like an orphanage had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who lived with their parents. Scientists believe that the lack of physical contact in the orphanages is a major factor in these physical changes.

    Finally, numerous studies on the effects of massage show the positive benefits it offers to reduce anxiety in children. Massage is also a good way for parents to connect to their children, both physically and emotionally. Starting in infancy, a parent can begin to massage their child, which can create a strong bond. Studies have shown children and adults who receive massage experience less anxiety during academic stress, hospital stays, and other stressful events.

    So, how can you bring more affection into your family's day?

    From the moment you bring your baby home from the hospital, be sure to hold, touch, and rock them in your arms. Spend many precious moments caressing your baby so that their skin can touch your skin.
    As they get older, be playful. Do fun activities like dancing together or creating silly games like pretending to be a hugging or kissing monster.
    Set a reminder to make sure hugging is part of your daily routine. In the recent Trolls movie, the trolls wore watches with alarm clocks that would go off every hour for hug time. If that's what it takes, then set yourself an alarm. Or make sure to give your kids a hug during certain times of the day, such as before they leave for school, when they get home from school, and before bedtime.
    Use affection while disciplining your child. As you talk to them about what they did wrong, put your hand on their shoulder and give them a hug at the end of the conversation to ensure them that, even if you are not pleased with their behavior, you still love them. If your children hit their sister or brother, hug them and explain how hugging feels better than hitting.

    Finally, be careful not to go overboard and smother your kids. Respect their individual comfort level, and be aware that this will change as they go through different stages.

    [Original article by Sandi Schwartz. Published 2017, updated 2020.]

    Parenting