A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

My daughter,

I thought I knew everything there was to know about motherhood.

I had your two brothers, fell in love with them, and imagined the world through their eyes.

I always wanted to have a daughter, but thought that I might not necessarily get the chance. I was profoundly happy to be a mom to our two little boys.

And then we got one of the greatest gifts of our lives: We found out that a little girl was on her way.

Learning that we were going to have a daughter was magic. It meant that we'd have the chance to experience the world anew through the eyes of a little girl.

There is magic in seeing our dreams made into reality. 

And by raising daughters, we experience the magic of taking a broken, unfair world and healing it with a generation of bold women and girls—and men and boys who support them.

Raising you to be strong is magic.

It means that while today you're asserting your rights to your brothers, one day in the future you'll be a woman who knows how to stand up for herself and others—even to people bigger than you, richer than you or more powerful than you.

Teaching you to be kind is magic.

It means that while today we're encouraging you to take turns with toys and consider the other person's feelings, in the future we're helping to put an end to mean girl culture.

Watching you dress yourself is magic.

While today you put on non-matching clothes that might make us cringe, it means you're developing a style of your own and a confidence to be exactly who you are.

Looking at you play with your brothers' toys is magic.

While today you set up train tracks and MagnaTiles, someday soon you'll grow up knowing that there is nothing—toy, job, experience—that you can't do because you're a girl.

Seeing you take care of your stuffed animals is magic.

While today you play pretend with your toy Elmo, some day I imagine you as a fierce, loving mother. And that makes my heart so happy.

Listening when you insist you want to "do it myself!" is magic.

Today it takes us 10 minutes to get out the door while you stubbornly put your shoes on, but one day that independent spirit will help you stand on your own in a new city, or country, or planet (it's happening).

Teaching you to clean up after yourself is magic.

And while today it might mean that I have to pretend that you're actually 'helping,' you're learning what it means to contribute to the greater good of a family, a key life skill for any stage.

Encouraging you to rest is magic.

It means that today we're arguing over naptime, and have a nightly routine that includes bath time, bedtime stories and early bedtimes, but some day you'll learn that taking time to rest is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Seeing you play sports is magic.

Today we watch you chase the soccer ball while the wind pushes your hair back, but someday those sports lessons will remind you of how strong you really are, and how much you can really endure—and conquer.

Witnessing you embrace who you truly are is magic.

Today you like doing things your own way, even if it doesn't make much sense to us (yogurt in your breakfast cereal... okay...), but seeing you break out of the norm in big and small ways brings us joy.

Seeing you take charge is magic.

You negotiate EVERYTHING (nap time, dinner plans, books to read) and while it can be tiring today, it gives us great pride knowing you're growing into a girl and woman who knows what she wants and is willing to advocate for herself.

Being a #girlmom today is magic. It means that we get to help a generation of girls navigate a world of challenge and opportunity with confidence and conviction. It means we help to heal the world, and its social and structural injustices against women, one little girl at time. It means raising a powerful, conscious generation of girls—and boys.

It means we have the power to create magic—transformational change that turns dreams into reality that makes the world more fair for everyone. It means renewing the world one courageous daughter at a time.

So yes, being a #girlmom is magic. And it's the greatest gift on earth to be your mother.

Love,

Mama

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Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

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

Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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This month isn't just the start of a new year, but the start of a new life for those due in 2019. If you're expecting a baby this year you've got plenty of celebrity company, mama.

Here are some fellow mamas-to-be expecting in 2019:

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega 

The Spy Kids actress and mom to 2-year-old Ocean will soon have to get herself a double stroller because PenaVega and her husband Carlos are expecting again.

"Holy Moly!!! Guys!!! We are having another baby!!!!" captioned an Instagram post. "Do we wake Ocean up and tell him??!! Beyond blessed and excited to continue growing this family!!! Get ready for a whole new set of adventures!!!"

Over on Carlos' IG the proud dad made a good point: " This year we will officially be able to say we have 'kids!' Our minds are blown," he write.

Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald

In January Counting On Jessa Seewald (formerly Jessa Duggar) announced via Instagram that she is pregnant with her third child with husband Ben Seewald.

We love that she was able to make the announcement in her own time, not worrying about speculation about her midsection. She's been over that for a while.

[Update: January 18, added PenaVega]

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