Toddlers are cute, but they're also unpredictable and intense and, well, scary. Anything can tick them off, and they throw the biggest tantrums with the most incredible force. So if there's one person you want to please this holiday season, it is the tot in your life. The good news is: shopping for toddlers is actually pretty fun. No more rattles or teethers -- toddlerhood opens up a whole world of toys and games that will not only keep our little ones entertained, but also help them explore, create and connect with the world around them. To help you find the perfect gift for your little tot, we asked our editors to share their picks for their very own tots. From a sleeping bag to a subscription box that teaches kids about empathy, diversity and gender equality, here are 8 toddler gifts that will bring some major holiday squeals. Jessica, Co-Founder Editor's pick: Little Feminist Book Club + Activity Box, $33/month. There’s never been a more important time to teach all of our kids -- boys or girls! -- to be feminists! I love that each monthly box features an inspiring woman in history and is filled with art and science activities that teach about feminism and social justice. Editor's pick: Nailmatic Princess Story Nail Polish & Lip Gloss Trio, $28. I’m not personally one for much make-up, but my little Elsie is turning into quite the beauty junkie! This water-based set is safe for her tiny lips, fingers & toes (oh, and my carpet!), and there’s two pretty nail polish colors, which comes in handy for her signature “every other finger” manicure style. Kaity, Co-Founder Editor's pick: Talkie by Toymail, $59. We wanted to add something more meaningful to our older son's toy collection this holiday. This Toymail plush toy is not only adorable, but also a great way to keep in touch with grandma... without handing him a phone! With this screen-free voice chat device, we feel confident our son will love his new quality time with grandma and all other friends and relatives, no matter the distance. When he's not playing pretend with the doll of course. Charlene, Managing Editor Editor's pick: Melissa and Doug Fold & Go Dollhouse, $46. My oldest son makes a toy out of anything -- a dried-up baby wipe turns into a helicopter, and a sock becomes a tyrannosaurus rex. There's no doubt that his imagination lets him travel in his own beautiful world, and I want to keep it that way. That's why I plan on getting him this dollhouse -- to let his imagination run wild. This one from Melissa and Doug folds, which means I can tuck it away when it's not played with. Major score for those who live in a small space. Alexis, Associate Editor Editor's pick: Land of Nod toddler sleeping bag, $99. Now that my six-year-old is approaching “friend sleepover age”, I’ve been eyeing this sweet How Do You Zoo Fox Sleeping Bag from The Land of Nod. I love that it’s not branded in a licensed character, yet I know the design doesn’t scream “babyish” or anything that would turn my big boy off. And how cute is it that the animal face can be used as a pillow? There are a range of other designs offered (Dino, Penguin, Dog, Zebra), and there’s an option to personalize them with your kid’s name (for a slight fee). I plan on buying the Penguin one for his three-year-old brother for sleepovers at Grandma’s and late-night brother cuddle sessions in Big Bro’s room. Jenny, Fashion Editor Editor's pick: CamKing Mini 1.5 Inch Screen Children's Camera, $42.99. Cultivating creativity is important to our family, and with Vida taking interest in my photo-taking, I'd like to give her a camera to explore her own skills without risking to break mine! This super cute style from CamKing allows for picture taking and even video-making. Plus, it's lightweight, adorable, functional and affordable! Natalie, Gear Editor Editor's pick: Kid O Shape Sorting House, $29.99. At 15 months old, my inquisitive little girl is in need of more challenging yet age appropriate toys. She’ll find this simple shape sorter from Kid O under the Christmas Tree this year! I love this one in particular for it’s modern take on a classic toy. Roma, Fitness Editor Editor's pick: Joovy walker, $81.99. Like me, my son is pretty active. He already stands up with our help and loves jumping in his bouncer. So I believe that the next logical step will be to get him a walker. This one from Joovy is minimalist, which I appreciate, and it's also quiet -- a big plus, since we live in a city apartment and have to be mindful of neighbors. And who knows, maybe it will be the beginning of a happy relationship with running.
If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.
The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.
Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that it doesn't skimp on comfort.
Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.
There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.
I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.
Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.
This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
It's been more than a year since Khloé Kardashian welcomed her daughter True Thompson into the world, and like a lot of new moms, Khloé didn't just learn how to to be a mom this year, she also learned how to co-parent with someone who is no longer her partner. According to the Pew Research Center, co-parenting and the likelihood that a child will spend part of their childhood living with just one parent is on the rise.
There was a ton of media attention on Khloé's relationship with True's father Tristan Thompson in her early days of motherhood, and in a new interview on the podcast "Divorce Sucks!," Khloé explained that co-parenting with someone you have a complicated relationship with isn't always easy, but when she looks at True she knows it's worth it.
"For me, Tristan and I broke up not too long ago so it's really raw," Khloé tells divorce attorney Laura Wasser on the podcast. She explains that even though it does "suck" at times, she's committed to having a good relationship with her ex because she doesn't want True to pick up on any negative energy, even at her young age.
That's why she invited Tristan to True's recent first birthday bash, even though she knew True wouldn't remember that party. "I know she's going to want to look back at all of her childhood memories like we all do," Khloé explained. "I know her dad is a great person, and I know how much he loves her and cares about her, so I want him to be there."
We totally get why being around Tristan is hard for Khloé, but it sounds like she's approaching co-parenting with a positive attitude that will benefit True in the long run. Studies have found that shared parenting is good for kids and that former couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse" are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.
Khloé says her relationship with Tristan right now is "civilized," and hopefully it can get even better with time. As Suzanne Hayes noted in her six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, there's no magic bullet for moving past the painful feelings that come when a relationship ends and into a healthy co-parenting relationship, but treating your ex with respect and (non-romantic) love is a good place to start. Hayes describes it as "human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love."
It's a great place to start, and it sounds like Khloé has already figured that out.
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Kim Kardashian West welcomed her fourth child into the world. The expectancy and arrival of this boy (her second child from surrogacy) has garnered much attention.
In a surrogacy pregnancy, a woman carries a pregnancy for another family and then after giving birth she relinquishes her rights of the child.
On her website, Kim wrote that she had medical complications with her previous pregnancy leading her to this decision. “I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy. Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn't safe for my—or the baby's—health to carry on my own."
While the experience was challenging for her, “The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time. Having a gestational carrier was so special for us and she made our dreams of expanding our family come true. We are so excited to finally welcome home our baby girl."
A Snapchat video hinted that Kim may have planned to breastfeed her third child. What she chooses to do is of course none of our business. But is has raised the very interesting question, “Wait, can you breastfeed when you use a surrogate?"
The answer is yes, you sure can! (And you can when you adopt a baby, too!)
When a women is pregnant, she begins a process called lactogenesis in which her body prepares itself to start making milk. This usually starts around the twenty week mark of pregnancy (half way through). Then, when the baby is born, the second phase of lactogenesis occurs, and milk actually starts to fill the breasts.
All of this occurs in response to hormones. When women do not carry a pregnancy, but wish to breastfeed, they can induce lactation, where they replicate the same hormonal process that happens during pregnancy.
A woman who wants to induce lactation can work with a doctor or midwife, and start taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone (which grow breast tissue)—often in the form of birth control pills—along with a medication called domperidone (which increases milk production).
Several weeks before the baby will be born, the woman stops taking the birth control pill but continues to take the domperidone to simulate the hormonal changes that would happen in a pregnancy. She'll also start pumping multiple times per day, and will likely add herbal supplements, like fenugreek and blessed thistle.
Women can also try to induce lactation without the hormones, by using pumping and herbs, it may be harder but some women feel more comfortable with that route.
Inducing lactation takes a lot of dedication—but then again, so does everything related to be a mama. It's a super personal decision, and not right for everyone.
The important thing to remember is that we need to support women and mothers through their entire journey, no matter what decisions they make about themselves and their families—whether Kardashian or the rest of us.