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The important lesson I learned the day my daughter almost drowned

In a matter of seconds, my life changed.

The important lesson I learned the day my daughter almost drowned

I never once imagined I would ever find myself at the ER holding my sweet girl in my arms, tears streaming down my cheeks, uttering the words no parent ever wants to say to a doctor, "My daughter almost drowned."

Two days ago we went swimming with friends at their pool. The triplets love the water, especially my little girl. She is fearless and loves the water so much she's like a little fish. We were having a wonderful time with our friends. It felt like the perfect summer day.

I took her and one of her brothers to the bathroom then we went back outside to swim. They were both naked so I needed to dress them. The other kids and adults were in the pool playing, too. I got her in her suit.

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"Don't get in the water until I get your floaties on" were the last words I said to her as I proceeded to dress my son.

In a matter of seconds, my life changed.


"She's in the water! She's in the water!!" My friend screamed from the other side of the pool as she saw my daughter struggling submerged under the water.

The next few moments were the slowest of my life. I stood up and saw with my own eyes my girl underwater fighting for her life. I couldn't get to her fast enough no matter how fast I ran.

I could see her tiny feet kicking trying so hard to get out, but she simply couldn't. I finally got to the pool and pulled her out as fast as I could. Her blue lips are forever engraved in my memory.

As soon as I took her out she instantly started spitting up water and in seconds, she vomited up the water, watermelon and strawberries she had just eaten. She was sobbing.

I was in shock. Her color came back and she coughed a little bit, but thank God she was okay. After about 30 minutes she was back to her normal self and ate a full meal.

From what I can piece together, it looked like she was playing on the larger pool step and got too close to the edge. Silently and quickly my daughter fell into the water and went under. No one saw it happen, but it happened.

I had to call my husband and fill him in. I was horrified to even say the words out loud. After talking to him, we agreed we should take her to the ER. We have read so many articles about secondary drowning and wanted to be sure she was okay. We got the boys home and headed directly there.

Luckily we had an amazing team of doctors and nurses who walked with us through this traumatic experience and helped her recover. She had blood work done and a chest x-ray. My precious girl was so strong and brave, even saying "cheese" during every x-ray picture.

While her lungs sounded great, the x-ray showed pulmonary edema, which is an indication of inflammation and excess fluid in the lungs, which can lead to secondary or dry drowning.

I went numb when the doctor told us this. We were sent by ambulance to a specialized children's hospital to be monitored for the night. We arrived there around 3 am.

My husband and I laid, exhausted, in the hospital bed holding our sweet daughter as she peacefully slept. I replayed in my head everything that happened over and over. She was monitored for a full day. And was doing great. Her symptoms never worsened and she was mainly just exhausted.

While she almost drowned quietly, silently, quickly, I—as a mother of three—was embarrassed, mortified, ashamed and guilt-ridden.

This experience was a difficult and painful life lesson. My heart hurts. I feel ashamed and guilty that my daughter was fighting for her life underwater, drowning, and I didn't even see it. She could have died.

The emotions that come with an experience like this are expounding. Not all parents who walk through something like this get to hold their children at the end of the day. My heart grieves for them.

We were given many wonderful recommendations regarding pool safety and I wanted to share one in particular that I loved.

Of course, swim lessons are important, but also it is a great idea to have someone be the "lifeguard" at the pool. Their only job is to watch the pool. They can't play with the kids, have conversations, go anywhere, etc. And the adults just take turns carrying on this role. We will be implementing this in the future whenever I feel ready to take the kids to the pool again.

I hope, if anything, by reading this you are encouraged to take extra safety precautions by the pool. May this horrifying experience my family went through, be something that your family can learn from as well.

[Originally published on July 2, 2019]

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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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 Comfortsforbaby.com 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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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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