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Pregnancy is a journey full of joy and excitement—and nausea and nervousness and moments of “I can't see my toooeessss!" But it's all a part of the experience, and it's a time you'll want to capture to remember forever—enter maternity photos.


Here are some tips to help you plan an amazing maternity photography session.

1. Pick the right time

Kendall Lauren Photography

You might be wondering when the best time is to have your maternity photos taken. You should book your photo shoot for when you are around 34 weeks pregnant. That way you have a good bump to show off but aren't as uncomfortable as you may be in the final weeks of pregnancy.

With this guideline in mind, take into account how you're feeling to plan your photos for when you think you'll feel your best!

FEATURED VIDEO

2. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful

Ernie & Fiona Photography

Maybe you feel beautiful in a long flowy gown, or maybe your jam is your husband's oversized sweatpants. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, wear that!

The bottom line is that you want to wear something that makes you feel like a million bucks for your maternity photography session! Wear something that makes you feel beautiful (because you are).

And maybe you feel best with little to no clothes at all, which brings us to the next tip...

3. Don't be afraid to show some skin

Heather Mohr Photography

Your beautiful baby bump is perfection. Your body is growing another person, which is no small feat—so don't be afraid to show it off! Pregnancy can teach you to love your body more than ever. So rock your confidence and show a little skin for your maternity photo session.

Kendall Lauren Photography

4. Get outside

Elle Lily Photography and Videography

Rain or shine, getting outdoors for your maternity photography session can be a great way to get some amazing shots. You never know when you'll capture a magical ocean foam or a winter wonderland to commemorate this season of life.

Walker Studios LLC

5. Get creative

Katogenic Photography

Now is the time to think out of the box and get as creative as you want. Maternity photography can be such a beautiful art form. Channel your inner Beyoncé and take some magical underwater maternity photos.

Katogenic Photography

6. Include your significant other and/or kids

Heather Mohr Photography

The more, the merrier! It's not just an exciting time in your life but also for everyone in it. Capture the moment by including your significant other or your children in the photo with you and your growing bump.

I promise you'll look back in a year or 10 and wonder how your kids have grown so much, or how much your love has grown for your spouse since having your baby.

Heather Mohr Photography

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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Our Partners

We're used to seeing Dove crank out ad campaigns celebrating body acceptance but this week the company launched a new ad that celebrates something so deserving of attention: The beautiful courage of our front line health care workers.

The new video shows health care workers' selfies, taken when their faces where dented and bruised from their masks, when their eyes were sad and tired and their hearts clearly heavy. These are the people keeping us safe right now, and we need to see them.

Dove | Courage is Beautiful www.youtube.com

The short, now-viral video debuted in the U.S. this week but follows an earlier version that launched in Canada on April 5. The American version of the video notes how Dove is donating to Direct Relief to help health care workers in the U.S.

FEATURED VIDEO

As the New York Times reports, doctors, nurses and other health care workers are facing extreme risks right now, and those speaking out about the lack of personal protective equipment and other safeguards are risking their livelihoods. These health care professionals are making extraordinary sacrifices, even separating from their own children to care for other families.

Courage www.youtube.com

This week an ER clerk, a 34-year-old mother of twin 8-year-old boys, died after contracting COVID-19 at work. In Staten Island, a nurse lost her life to COVID-19 this week. And this week reports emerged about the first American doctor to die from COVID-19 and how he had to reuse his masks.

We need to face the courage of these front line workers and Dove's new ad campaign is helping us do that. Women represent 70% of workers in the health care industry. Our fellow mothers are fighting for us and these videos remind us to fight for them.

News

Among the many little things we truly miss from #lifebeforecoronavirus it's devouring the tasty treats from Disney. But it turns out you can create that same Disney magic at home.

The Disney Parks blog and app recently shared popular recipes as its parks continue to remain closed and the Dole Whip and churros are the exact sweets we need to get us through this challenging time.

For the unfamiliar, the Dole whip is a creamy, frozen pineapple treat that melts in your mouth. It's so refreshing and can be vegan and dairy-free, depending on the ingredients you use. If you're into baking, you'll love the traditional Spanish and Portuguese churro that the park sells more than 5.5 million of each year.

FEATURED VIDEO

That's a huge hit for the park, and we're hoping it's a winner for families, too.

Here's the Dole Whip recipe for a single serving according to the Disneyland app:


Ingredients:

  • 1 big scoop of ice cream
  • 4 oz of pineapple juice
  • 2 cups of frozen pineapple

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender until it's a thick drink.
  • Add your swirl and then you're done.

And, here's the churro recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

Instructions:

  1. Combine water, butter, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in 1 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring pot to rolling boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Add flour and stir vigorously until mix forms a ball. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir until combined. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in medium skillet or one-quart saucepan over medium-high heat or until temperature reaches 350 degrees.
  6. Spoon dough into piping bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe one-inch strip of dough over saucepan, cut with knife, and drop into hot oil. Repeat until churro bites fill saucepan with room to fry.
  7. Fry churro bites until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon or mesh spider strainer.
  8. Drain churro bites on paper towel.
  9. Mix sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in medium bowl. Toss in churro bites until coated. Place on serving plate and serve with favorite dipping sauce.
News

Shelter in place is here and will likely be for a while. As we get more settled into our new life, we're finding our kiddo's new wardrobes are pajamas. Gone are the days of wearing jeans, real pants and shirts—their new wardrobe (and frankly, yours too) consists of day and night pajamas.

It's important to have comfortable clothes that help little ones relax and make them feel, well, at home. Whether they're spending most of their days doing homework or running around begging you for more snacks, these comfortable, soft pajamas will help make things a little easier for them—and you too, mama.

Here are our favorite PJs for newborns, new walkers and preschoolers:

aden + anais cotton pajamas

aden + anais cotton pajamas

How cute is this set? This cotton top and bottom comes in a variety of colors, but we're into vintage cars. Your little speedster will love the comfortable cuffs and an elastic waistband that makes it a little easier to take the bottoms on and off. The blue car print is available in sizes 12 months to 4T.

$25

Primary rainbow heart footie

Primary rainbow heart footie

Inspire vibrant dreams of rainbows and hearts with these cotton pajamas. You'll love the zip closure and the non-skid soles means you can rest assured your baby will be safe as they crawl/walk through the house. There's one thing we know for sure—they'll never want to take this supremely soft jammie off.

$19.50

Tea collection printed tank pajamas

Tea collection printed tank pajamas

These warm weather inspired jammies will make your little one feel like they're on a mini vacation.Tailored from breathable cotton, the short sleeves and bottoms will keep them cool and content. But here herein lies the magic—Tea collection gives back a portion of its profits to charities to ensure a better world for kids everywhere.

$39.50

Hanna Anderson night night sleeper

Hanna Anderson night night sleeper

Because your kid is lounging around all day, it's important that their pjs have flatlock seams and are made of combed cotton rib knit so they're as comfortable as possible. These not only check those boxes, but they wash beautifully so you can throw them in the washer 10 times a week and the colors won't fade. We're obsessed with the multicultural mermaid print because we can all use a little mythological creature to brighten our days.

$21

Hatley nightdress

Hatley nightdress

Prepare for long hours of coziness with this nightdress. It gathers at the front which makes it easy for kids to freely move around. And, the neckline is super wide for easy removal. Seriously, getting ready for bed has never been easier.

$32

Leveret matching doll + girls pajamas

Leveret matching doll + girls pajamas

What fun is it if baby dolls can't be comfortable, too? Your kid will love to share their favorite pajamas with their best friend. The set fits 18-inch dolls and is available in tons of fun prints, including ballerinas, bumble bees, stars and owls.

$14.98

Tucker + Tate glow in the dark pajamas

Tucker + Tate glow in the dark pajamas

We were huge fans of just the alligator print, but these incredibly soft cotton jammies are even cooler when the lights are off because they glow in the dark. Pro tip: The pajamas are slightly large so size down if you want a more snug fit.

$29

Lewis inverse parsnip pajama set

Lewis inverse parsnip pajama set

There's one major requirement for kid pajamas: They must be durable enough for play. We love that these are not only well-made with interlocking knit cotton, but it also fits true to size after washing and shrinking. And if your kid is drawn to nature, they'll love the muted pink parsnip print, too.

$48

Boden twin pack short pajamas

Boden twin pack short pajamas

We're obsessed with these pajamas that are made of stretchy ribbed cotton jersey that's been brushed on the inside to make them soft against the skin. It's perfect for little ones with sensitive skin. And, what better than two sets for the price of one?

$48

The Children's Place cotton pajamas

The Children's Place cotton pajamas

Going on a family vacation might not happen soon, but a girl can dream, right? This tagless shirt pajamas with a pull-on elasticized waistband is exactly what she needs for the sweetest dreams.

$7.98

Little English jammies

little english jammies

Who doesn't love biting into a juicy watermelon? Take your kid's love for their favorite fruit to bed with them with these 100% cotton pajamas that are available up to size 8.

$39.20

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Dear Baby,

In a few weeks you'll be a 1-year-old. While it seems like just yesterday you were born, this year has also seemed to last forever. Honestly, the month of March alone could've been a year of our lives.

We'll never forget this first birthday, dear baby. Our memories of this special time will be stamped with the historic stain that is the COVID-19 global pandemic.

I remember planning for your older brother's birthday party a couple years ago. I had many concerns back then, which all seem so trivial now. What theme will we choose? Did I make festive enough decorations? What's the protocol—do we serve alcohol to the adults? How many cupcakes will we need?

FEATURED VIDEO

None of that matters this time around. Actually, it probably never mattered then either. Your brother doesn't remember that party any more than you'll remember this one. Now my concerns take a different shape.

Have I stocked our pantry with enough food for our family? When will you get to see your grandparents again? How are our friends doing? Will Daddy lose his job once the economic ramifications of this virus catches up? How do I make a mask using scrap fabric and hair ties? What if one of you gets sick?

This is what occupies my mind in place of streamers and birthday cakes.

But regardless of the toll this pandemic has and will continue to bring to the world, you deserve to be celebrated. You've been a bright ray of sunshine in the storm of uncertainty.

You've reminded us to pause and soak up the small moments of pure joy. You've grown tremendously and developed quite a personality all your own. Your dad and I like to joke around about what a cute troublemaker you're shaping up to become. We love you abundantly, and can't wait to watch you grow up.

When this milestone birthday comes around, I promise you'll be surrounded by love. Physically, you'll have Mommy, Daddy and your big brother's presence to help you celebrate. The other love will be from afar, yes, but that doesn't make it any less strong.

Your grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins—they're eagerly awaiting the day they can hug you and hold you tightly. They're grieving the fact they can't wish you a happy birthday in person. And I'm grieving right along with them.

I've come to realize that a child's first birthday party is much more for the adults than the child, but I don't think that's a negative thing. It's a gathering of loved ones celebrating how much their lives have been positively changed by a special kiddo. And this time, we were looking forward to celebrating you, my baby.

For the sake of being safe and responsible, that won't be happening in a traditional way. Not this spring, anyway. I promise to make this up to you. (And—in a way—to myself, too.)

But we will still celebrate, little one. Your first birthday is not canceled. We will still laugh and play and marvel at your being. And so, my baby for not much longer, happy birthday.

We'll make sure you have everything you need in the comfort of our home. Your birthday will be spent in footie pajamas cuddled on the couch, us laughing at your adorable antics. We'll FaceTime our extended family and if there aren't too many substitutions on my online grocery order, I'll bake you a cake. I'll sing off-key and your brother will blow out your candle in the true and messy fashion of a toddler giving the weather instead of the news.

And when you're older, we'll laugh and reminisce about you turning one while the world was quarantined. It'll certainly be one for the baby book.

It'll certainly be one we will always remember.

We love you.

Love,

Mommy and Daddy

Life
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