I have anxiety about the Coronavirus—but I don't want my kids to worry

Our kids are going to remember the feeling in their safe zone, their home, from the time "Coronavirus started spreading," and I don't want them to feel anxiety or panic.

worried woman on laptop

I went to the supermarket last night to get some groceries we simply needed to refill, but also to stock up on extra stuff—just in case. The "just in case" gray area of this whole Coronavirus, or COVID-19 pandemic is what's causing familiar worries and fears to bubble up.

Just in case of what, exactly?

Getting it ourselves? Passing it to someone else? The kid's schools closing? My grandfather—who lives in a nursing home—getting it? Being trapped inside for two weeks… or longer?

The gray area is a trigger for my anxiety, I've realized.

So yesterday, I spent my whole hour-long therapy session talking about it. There are so many gray areas of life—in raising our children to be who they are not who we expect them to be, in eliminating boxes we feel we are "supposed" to live in, in not knowing what the future holds. If we don't get comfortable with—or at least okay with—the gray area, we will live in a constant state of heightened anxiety.


We want control, and the gray area doesn't give us control. Instead, it asks us to surrender control.

Is that what I have to do now, with the Coronavirus entering our lives?

Today, I'm thinking—yes and no.

I understand we don't have to spend our life savings on groceries, toilet paper and cleaning products, but I did take the FEMA recommendation seriously and stocked up on a 2-week supply (probably a bit more) of food and our basic necessities. I refilled things like kid and adult Motrin and Tylenol as well as made sure we had plenty of Gatorade, Pedialyte, bottled water, saltines, soup, elderberry syrup and probiotics.

My thought process here is, I have kids. We can make room in our budget to do this. I need to take their recommendations seriously, even if I felt a bit silly in the packed-to-the-brim-store last night with everyone else. The best-case scenario is that we don't need to tap into this reserve, but we have it in case we do. We could share with our neighbors if they needed help. And plus, it's all stuff we will use eventually—it will not go to waste.

If nothing else, buying extra inventory for our household gave me a familiar feeling of control within the gray area of this situation, which made me feel better. Even if I can't actually control what's going on in the world, I can control (to a certain degree) the preparedness in my own home.

Which then made me realize there are many people who can't spend money on buying extra groceries and supplies. Children who will miss meals if there are school closures. I saw on author and poet Cleo Wade's Instagram account that donating money, not necessarily cans of food, to your local food bank will be tremendously helpful for these members of our communities. (You can find your local food bank here.)

We've been going over proper hand-washing constantly (and have the dry hands to prove it!) and alternate between singing the ABCs and Happy Birthday. Yesterday, I praised my middle kiddo so hardcore for washing their hands while singing loudly and beautifully, you would have thought they won an Olympic gold medal. (They were a bit confused but quite happy with the enthusiasm.)

Though again, we can't even really control their hand-washing, but we can strongly encourage them to be thorough. We can continue to go over why they need to be so thorough—because we don't want to spread our germs to each other, now or ever, and especially not to our immunocompromised friends or family members.

So instead of Facetiming my sister immediately when I hear something new about Coronavirus or continuously refreshing the news, I can remember to take a break from the media and constant discussion of the topic. I can remember to meditate and get extra rest to be sure I'm taking care of myself. Laughing while watching Veep with my husband last night helped, too.

Our kids are going to remember the feeling in their safe zone, their home, from the time "Coronavirus started spreading," and I don't want them to feel anxiety or panic. I want them to remain calm, knowing their parents are doing all they can to protect them.

My anxiety has been present in times of emergency before, like when we lived through the Merrimack Valley gas explosions a year and a half ago, and what I learned then that I carry with me today is that—sometimes I need to put on a brave face for my kiddos no matter what my anxiety is doing inside. And that, as long as I'm with my babies, we are okay.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

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

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

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 support Motherly and mamas.

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What you need to know about President Trump's Supreme Court pick

The President has reportedly selected his third SCOTUS nominee.

President Donald Trump has chosen his third pick for the Supreme Court—and he picked a mom.

The New York Times reports President Trump is choosing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee. An official statement is scheduled for Saturday.

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