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From binge-watching to babysitters—7 practical ways to survive bed rest

There are many reasons why doctors recommend bed rest. You may be experiencing symptoms of premature labor, or dealing with an issue like pre-eclampsia. It may seem like a daunting and dreadful task to lay around for weeks, perhaps months on end, but it will go by faster than you think. With a little help (and a lot of surrender) you can do this.


Here are some great tips for surviving bed rest with your sanity intact.

1. Get details

Your physician should give you instructions and parameters for your bed rest. For instance, are you allowed to do everything but lift objects greater than five pounds? Or should you be confined to bed except for trips to the bathroom?

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Be sure to get explicit instructions and a thorough list of do’s and don’ts. For instance, ask if you should be using a wheelchair when visiting the doctor. Take notes—pregnancy brain is a thing.

2. Hire a babysitter or get help from family and friends

Being on bed rest with your first child is substantially easier than being on bed rest with your second or third. Having a toddler may make the simple task of staying confined to bed seem nearly impossible.

Try to schedule care for siblings as if you are working full time. Hopefully, siblings are in school, but if they are not, try finding friends, family, or even a daycare that can care for them the majority of the day. Care.com is an excellent resource that screens providers if paying for care is an option for you.

3. Try a meal train

If you are the main cook in your household, losing the ability to cook for your family may prove to be difficult. Never be afraid to ask for help! Ask a close friend to coordinate meals for your family.

There is even a handy app called MealTrain that can people can use to sign up for meals with a simple link. It makes it easy to see who is coming and when, and to be able to plan pizza delivery accordingly!

4. Ask people to come over

Spoiler: You are going to get bored. Scheduling visitors will help ease the boredom and provide you some socializing time and good conversation with other adults. Play cards, have tea, talk, but don’t feel the need to be the consummate hostess.

You may also need help doing things around the house. Laundry doesn’t stop for bed rest, and neither do dishes. Try scheduling a helper once a day for an hour. Not only can you two catch up socially, but you can get the help you need to get household chores done.

Lotsa Helping Hands is a great tool where you can list your needs and the times of day you need help or visitors—and with a link, people can sign up to help you. You can easily coordinate this yourself, or a good friend can take the responsibility from you. For ease of use, meals can also be coordinated on this site.

5. Binge-watch

Entertainment makes the time go by quickly, of course. Borrow some great reads from friends, write letters to dear relatives, buy a sudoku or crossword puzzle book. Play cards with friends and family. Take up knitting, crocheting, or that DIY project you pinned 18 months ago.

Ask friends for recommendations on their favorite shows or movies. Binge-watching a great show will help hours of bed rest go by quickly.

Here is a list of shows (comedy and drama) with multiple seasons so you can get the most mileage from your binge:

  • The Office
  • Parks and Rec
  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Parenthood
  • Scandal
  • Gossip Girl
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Mad Men
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • West Wing
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Breaking Bad
  • Shameless
  • The Crown
  • Daredevil
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Dexter
  • Lie to Me
  • Law & Order
  • Criminal Minds
  • Vampire Diaries
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Gilmore Girls
  • One Tree Hill
  • Dawson’s Creek
  • New Girl
  • Grace and Frankie

6. Hire help if you need to

If you find that friends are too busy or family lives out of state, you might consider hiring help. Even a couple of hours a week will help ease your burden and get you the extra assistance you need. There are so many people looking for part-time work. Hire a reliable teenager in the neighborhood, or ask around and see if you know anyone looking for a part-time gig.

7. Let some things go

You can’t do it all, especially from your bed. Surrender to the chaos of your home and your family. Laundry can be done and folded sparingly with help, your house can be messy, your kids can watch a little more TV.

In the grand scheme of things, this bed rest is a short period of your life. Prioritize delivering a healthy baby over household chores and activities. You will be glad you did.

Bed rest isn’t the end of the world. It is a short-term situation in favor of a long-term goal. Keep your eye on the prize, mama. Reach out, be honest, relax and let things go. You deserve the rest you are getting.

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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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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

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11 products to help parents survive the 4-month sleep regression 😴

So you—and baby—can start getting more rest.

Ah, the 4-month sleep regression...unlike, say, your baby's first solid food or her first steps, the 4-month sleep regression isn't a milestone that many parents typically look forward to. Whether you're currently in the midst of the madness or just anticipating what might be ahead, odds are you have some questions—and some worries—about this much talked-about sleep (or lack thereof) phase.

But guess what, mama? The news is good! According to experts, sleep regressions aren't really a thing; they're more like transitions. And they're actually a good thing—they mean your baby is growing, changing, developing, + finding new ways to interact with the world around them.

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