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I had no idea what RSV was. I am not a medical professional. I am an average mom with three kids.

Like most kids, mine get the sniffles and sneezes during cold and flu season. They are up to date on their vaccinations, and interact with other children on a semi-regular basis at play dates, playgrounds, and the grocery store. I've never kept my children in a bubble.

We had our third child in November. Adam was healthy and weighed a whopping nine pounds, eight ounces. Right before Thanksgiving, my older son started to show signs of a nasty cough. He never ran a fever, and after about a week, the virus had run its course. As in most families with multiple children, the virus was passed down to my 2-year-old daughter.

It hit her much harder. She ran a high grade fever for four days and nights. The nasty cough caused her to vomit. She wasn't eating and felt extremely lethargic. Finally, the doctor prescribed an antibiotic for my daughter's ear infection, and she started to show signs of life again. These two illnesses brought us to the pediatrician seven times in two weeks.

Nevertheless, I was extremely naive when it came to my newborn. I thought since I was breastfeeding, he would have extra immunities against the nasty virus my older kids were passing back and forth. I didn't think twice and I regret it.

On a visit to my parents' house one Saturday evening, my dad was holding Adam when he called me into the living room. "Adam is really sick," he said. I kind of laughed it off, in a complete sleep-deprived stupor. I didn't want to believe him because I didn't think I could handle one more sick child.

That evening, Adam took a turn for the worse. He was coughing phlegm. The next few days were kind of a blur. I took him back to the pediatrician twice. The second time, they swabbed his nose, and he tested positive for RSV and bronchiolitis.

"What is RSV?" I asked a tech. She couldn't tell me, and just said to watch him closely. I should have pressed the pediatrician's office more, but I felt kind of dumb. This was my ninth visit in two weeks. So I left.

That Wednesday night, Adam started running a low grade fever. What I didn't know was that even a low grade fever is dangerous for a newborn. Naive, like I said. He vomited after every feeding. The next morning, he'd gone a full 12 hours without a wet diaper, so I called the pediatrician's office again. Instead of setting up a 10th appointment, they told me to take him to Nationwide Children's Hospital immediately.

Adam spent four days and three nights hooked up to oxygen, IVs, fluids, and antibiotics. He had multiple tests, chest X-rays, breathing treatments, nose aspirations. His care and treatment at Nationwide Children's was first class. I can't rave enough about the hospital and staff. But I never want to go back there again.

In the past few days, I've seen multiple articles about respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pop up on my news feed. I'm sharing our story because I want other parents to know what I didn't know.

1. Watch their breathing

Take your child's shirt off and see if you can see his rib cage as he tries to breathe. There's a tiny V shape under your child's neck. If that V is exposed when he inhales, he's working too hard to breathe. Lastly, does his head bob when he breathes? Another sign he's working too hard.

Adam was doing all three of these things for a few days, but I didn't know what to look for.

2. RSV peaks on days three through five


Unfortunately, the virus gets worse before it gets better. I didn't take Adam in to Children's until day five.

3. RSV is common


Like, super common. The average adult will get RSV multiple times in her lifetime. It's a common cold with a cough, with varying degrees of intensity. For Luke, it was just a cough. For Eden, it was a fever, a cough, and vomiting. For Adam, it was four days in the hospital.

4. An RSV cough lasts four to six weeks

My kids are FINALLY free of that nasty cough, but my husband and my mom are still coughing. This virus affected our entire family before Thanksgiving. It's now mid-January.

For medical professionals to consider it "RSV Season," 5% of patients must test positive for RSV. So far this winter, 49% of patients tested positive. I'm not sure if medical professionals or the CDC will call that an epidemic, but they should.

5. Hand washing is great, but isolation is best

If you have kids and plan to come in contact with a newborn…just stay away. Children are carriers of the virus, and while it may be a slight cough for a 5-year-old, it could be much worst for an infant.

6. Rain brings RSV

While there's no scientific evidence to support this, researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital tell me that when the weather warms up and rain sweeps through, RSV is on the rise.

I've cancelled play dates and found a babysitter if anyone shows a sign of a sniffle. Our family cancelled two vacations because of this virus. People may think I'm going overboard, but better smart than sorry.

Since our run with RSV, Adam is now part of a case study at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Medical researchers are working on a vaccine for the virus. One currently exists for preemies, but this vaccine would be readily available to all newborns. So on some level, Adam is helping to protect future babies from RSV. I hope our story sheds some light on a virus I previously knew nothing about.

**Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Just a mom who wanted to share her story.**

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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