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New mothers are often focused on the physical recovery from childbirth and the emotional challenges that come quickly and sporadically soon after becoming a mother. Many try to care for themselves as best as they can, but this often amounts to taking their prenatal vitamin when they can remember.

Childbirth and breastfeeding can be stressful and our bodies more than ever need proper nutrition to survive the exhausting days ahead. I have yet to meet a breastfeeding woman who is not sleep-deprived, tired, struggling with hormonal changes, often forgetting to take vitamins or eat properly!

So with that in mind, here are the top five most important nutrients new moms should pay attention to. Remember to always check with your doctor before adding in any supplements into your diet:

1. Iron

Iron Is essential for baby's red blood cell function, immune support and nervous system development. A mother who is iron-deficient may feel tired, have more hair loss and less overall energy. Some studies have shown that low iron may even impair cognition and memory. Women may not realize that they are anemic and iron reserves can be low even if blood counts are normal. And there is a type of anemia that can develop during pregnancy that can be exacerbated after delivery.

Many women think that continuing to take a daily prenatal vitamin with about 10-18 mg of iron is sufficient. The issue is that we do not absorb all of the iron we take in. Taking iron together with Vitamin C will help with absorption. I recommend that women take a supplement that contains 18 mg of iron daily in addition to eating 1-2 servings a day of dark green veggies. Replenishing iron levels will help with postpartum fatigue and result in more nutritious breast milk.

2. Vitamin C

The role of Vitamin C is complex—it's needed to regulate fatty acids, absorb sufficient amounts of iron and other necessary minerals such as zinc, and plays an important role as an antioxidant and to decrease inflammation. Vitamin C can help treat common cold symptoms and is especially important during cold and flu season with a newborn, as mom's levels of Vitamin C will correlate directly with the amount in her breastmilk.

A breastfeeding mother should consume a minimum of 120 mg daily and we recommend 500 mg daily for nursing mothers as an optimal dose. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, cabbage and spinach.

3. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is important for neurodevelopment and proper nervous system function and there have also been many reported cases of low B12 contributing to anxiety and nervousness. Adequate levels of B12 are necessary for proper cell function, can help combat fatigue and are necessary for proper hair growth.

Many women have low levels of B12 for various reasons: vegans, vegetarians or those who do not eat much meat often do not consume enough B12. The absorption of B12 is affected by the acidity of the stomach and is affected by other foods. A mother who suffers from reflux and takes a lo3t of over-the-counter medications such and proton pump inhibitors, or who has had gastric bypass surgery, or who suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, may also have difficulty absorbing B12. It's typically recommended to take a supplement containing 1000 mcg of Vitamin B12 daily.

4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that is not only essential for eye development but also plays an important role in immunity and in helping us fight infections. A mother with a history of gut issues that can affect absorption may themselves be deficient leading to lower levels in her breast milk. For example, mothers with a history of Crohn's disease, who have had gastric bypass surgery, or irritable bowel syndrome may not absorb enough Vitamin A .

All dairy products in the U.S Are fortified with Vitamin A. In addition, the typical pre- or postnatal vitamin supplement contains anywhere from 50-1000 IU (international units) daily. Mothers who eat little or no dairy are at risk for having lower levels of Vitamin A. The RDA of Vitamin A for a breastfeeding mother is 2300 IU daily and in addition to taking a pre/postnatal vitamin I encourage eating foods that are rich in Vitamin A such as oranges, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach and kale.

5. Protein

Proteins are important for immune and neurological function and are the building blocks for tissues, muscle and bones. It is important that when we're talking about a mother's recommended protein intake, we take into account a breastfeeding mother's need for protein to recover from the physiological strain of pregnancy and childbirth. Bottom line is that women of childbearing age should establish protein stores, conserve them and replenish them.

Premature infants require diets that are high in protein and the amount of protein in breastmilk steadily declines as children grow. For example, a mother nursing a 28-week-old premature infant can have almost four times as much protein in her milk as a mother nursing a 2-year-old toddler.

The USDA publishes an online tool that includes breastfeeding in calculating recommended daily nutritional intake. For example, an active 30-year old mother who is 5' 4" tall and weighs 100 lbs should consume 59 grams of protein per day during the first 6 months of breastfeeding, 13 grams more than if she were not breastfeeding, according to the USDA calculator.

The World Health Organization recommends around 17 grams of extra protein per day during the first six months of breastfeeding. We recommend erring on the side of more protein, especially as extra protein has no negative health consequences and may have some beneficial effect on milk volume and quality. Mothers should aim for a diet that includes a variety of protein sources, such as lean meat, seafood, eggs, yogurt, tofu, quinoa, nuts, and beans. We also suggest that breastfeeding mothers should avoid seafood and limit consumption of fish such as tuna and mackerel, as they can contain excessive amounts of mercury and other toxins. Breastfed babies are more vulnerable to the effects of heavy metals that can find their way into a mother's milk.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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