A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

I used to love to cook -- spending hours in the kitchen making healthy, gourmet meals for myself and my (mostly appreciative and adventurous) husband. But eight weeks in my first pregnancy, I was passing out every evening at 8 pm and my husband was ordering Chinese food so often that they knew our order by heart. All plans for an organic, nourishing prenatal diet were out the window.

There's so much pressure on pregnant and nursing women to eat healthy but, ironically, pregnancy and new motherhood are not ideally suited for long hours in the kitchen.

For urban mamas and mamas-to-be who are too busy (or too exhausted) to cook for themselves, this city has everything from personal chefs to a-la-carte catering to take the pressure off putting healthy food on the table. Read on to find a meal delivery service that works for you!

1. FOR THE BABY SHOWER GIFT OF THE CENTURY: CARRIED AWAY CHEFS

Created by a professional chef who understands the throes of new motherhood, Carried Away Chefs is the ultimate splurge. The chefs at Carried Away will sweep into your home, groceries in hand, and make you a fridge full of amazing food. Our chef, Alyssa, came in with a smile, was a doll to my kids, and had the apartment smelling ridiculously yummy within minutes. My little ones loved peeking in on her progress and even tried some dishes. And then, Alyssa put away all our delicious food (roasted heirloom tomato soup, mini veggie frittatas, apricot glazed chicken and tons more) and left our tiny kitchen even cleaner than she found it.

Good to know: gift cards are available! Cost starts at $300 + cost of groceries for 4 mains + 4 sides to feed a family of 4. Kid meals available. Detailed intake form and menu e-chat with your chef makes everything very pregger-friendly and customizable.

2. FOR THE COMMUNITY-MINDED DINER: UMI KITCHEN

Such a brilliant idea, it’s surprising that Umi Kitchen only came onto the food scene this past spring. With a recently expanded delivery zone, which includes parts of Manhattan and northwest Brooklyn, Umi lets you basically order your neighbor’s home cooking. An iPhone app allows you to choose from an eclectic group of vetted home chefs cooking everything from Jamaican jerk chicken to gluten-free turkey Bolognese.

Good to know: Cost averages $15/serving (usually a generous main dish with 1-2 sides/dessert) + $4 delivery fee. Same day ordering or up to a week ahead. Not customizable. No kid meals.

3. FOR FOLKS ON A BUDGET: MUNCHERY

The most affordable service in our roundup, Munchery is like having a favorite restaurant where the menu changes daily. You can order their delicious food (everything from salmon burgers to chicken curry) up to nine days ahead, so if you know you’ll be without a home cooked meal next Tuesday, you can make sure Munchery hooks you up. Best of all, Munchery posts a complete ingredient list for each meal, along with a comprehensive nutrition breakdown so you know exactly what you’re eating. Toss in the fact that the average dish comes in under $10, and you have yourself a winner.

Good to know: Not really customizable (though sauces come on the side and rarer food can be cooked further if desired). Kid meals, vegetarian and gluten-free options available.

4. FOR THOSE WITH LITTLE MOUTHS TO FEED: PANDA PLATES

Designed for busy moms with kids at home, this newcomer solves your “what’s for dinner” woes by sending you fresh, healthy, ready-to-heat-and-eat meals for kids. From quinoa pizza cups to steak tips, each yummy meal comes with a side of vegetables and a little cartoon panda with an “eat your food” inspirational message. My picky toddlers tried everything I served them from Panda Plates (no easy feat, believe me!) and particularly fell in love with the banana coconut muffins.

Good to know: Cost averages at $9/meal, with a commitment to a week’s worth of food. Portion size suitable for kids under 12. Vegetarian and gluten-free meals available. Allergens listed on each menu item.

5. FOR ETHICALLY-MINDED MAMAS: PORTABLE CHEF

If sustainable farming is just as important to you as tasty food, then this is the service for you. Portable Chef makes small batches of food to suit your basic dietary needs, accommodating for general goals like paleo or gluten-free living, or weight loss. Portions are generous (our Filipino chicken adobo was enough for a meal and a half), and with each delivery you get a list of the farmers and artisans who helped make your food.

Good to know: Cost for 5 dinners for a family of 4 starts at $500. Different packages available depending on how many meals/days/family members. Certain dietary/pregnancy related requirements can be accommodated. Kid meals available.

6. FOR MAMAS TRYING TO LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT: SAKARA LIFE

If you find yourself back in regular life post baby, but not in your regular jeans, Sakara Life is a good way to shift gears. I loved starting my morning with their rosewater drink (sipped mindfully, as instructed). Spending the day munching on plant-based power-food dishes (the Roasted Peach Chana Masala with Coconut-Basil Quinoa was delicious), I felt great knowing I was detoxing and getting a boatload of veggies. There is literature available online, and a health coach will reach out to help you adjust to the Sakara lifestyle (and with no animal protein on the menu, it was quite the adjustment for me).

Good to know: Cost/person for 3 meals/day for 5 days starts at $349. Commitment is weekly (or by subscription) for either 3 or 5 days of food. Not really customizable—allergies are accommodated for an extra fee. Ingredients listed on each container.

*This post was not sponsored, but all meals were provided for the author for review purposes.

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna

BUY

2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna

BUY

3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95

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4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna

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5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna

BUY


With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

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


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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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