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Babymoons: Island Getaways

OffMetro senior writer Allison Tibaldi tempts us with 3 destinations under 3 hours from NYC.

Babymoons: Island Getaways

If you thought island getaways were nothing but all-inclusive resorts crowded with rowdy sun-seekers, conga lines and mediocre buffets, meet three tropical destinations that will change your preconceived notions. Whether you’re looking for something mellow, elegant or rich with culture, there are great options for a weekend away before baby makes three. The best part for pregnant -- and increasingly uncomfortable -- travelers? Each of these three islands are under three hours from NYC, so you’ll be in paradise in no time. SANIBEL ISLAND, FLORIDA. Surrounded by uncultivated calm. Vibe: A mellow feel makes this the perfect place to bask in nature’s seaside glories. Get there: Sanibel Island takes only minutes to reach via causeway from the Fort Myers airport. Do: In spite of its proximity to the mainland, Sanibel remains untouched by modern tourist traps. There are no high-rise condos or big-box shops. Visitors quickly fall under the spell of Sanibel’s authentic old-time Florida spirit, where towering palm trees are the tallest things around. Shell-collecting is a popular pastime, with a colorful assortment of mollusks and bivalves peppering the island’s beaches. Over half of the island’s land is devoted to the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You can explore pristine wetlands, mangrove forests and glimpse hundreds of exotic species of migratory birds in this unspoiled oasis. Stay: The low-key West Wind Inn is immersed in nature. You will be lulled to sleep by the ocean’s song as you relax in your comfy room, complete with a handy kitchenette. The staff is genuinely welcoming, but never obtrusive. Image source. BERMUDA. A taste of Great Britain without crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Vibe: Elegant and refined, this island has glorious beaches and warm sunshine. Get there: Only a two-hour flight from JFK or LaGuardia can transport you to another world. Do: Famed for its signature pink-hued sand, Bermuda’s beaches are breathtaking. But it’s the customs and traditions that make a visit here unbeatable. It’s a slice of Britain off the coast of North Carolina, where they drive on the left, play cricket and drink properly made tea at 4 pm. The sense of humor here is drier than a martini, another nod to the island nation’s British roots. This archipelago is home to seven main islands and many smaller ones, all connected by bridges. Visitors are not permitted to rent cars, but scooters are a fun way to get around, plus the efficient bus system works like a charm. If you’re golfers, the island is famed for its championship courses. The trademark cocktail is the potent rum-based Dark and Stormy, but there are delicious non-alcoholic nibbles to tempt you. Sample authentic culinary treats like pepper Jelly and cassava pie, and you’ll be hooked on Bermudian cuisine. Stay: Elbow Beach is a luxury resort featuring 98 elegant guestrooms and suites spread amongst 50 acres of manicured gardens that gently slope down to its pink sand beach. Book a pampering prenatal treatment at the spa for the ultimate indulgence. Image source. NASSAU PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS. Beaches that are beyond beautiful blended with island crafts and culture. Vibe: Local folk are eager to share their culture and stunning turquoise waters with visitors. Get there: The non-stop flight to Nassau takes just over two hours, so you will be submerged in 80-degree water in no time. Do: Miles of powdery white sand that fringe turquoise waters are the hallmark of this friendly island. If you can drag yourself away from Mother Nature’s tropical dream, head to the Nassau Straw Market for a dash of Colonial charm and simultaneous retail therapy. You will find hand-woven straw hats, bags and housewares among the t-shirts and inexpensive souvenirs. Don’t miss experiencing fresh Bahamian seafood, starring the famed conch. Try dinner at the One & Only Ocean Club’s Courtyard Terrace, where the fusion cuisine showcases native flavors. Stay: Located on a secluded strip of Cable Beach, Marley Resort and Spa is owned by Rita Marley, Bob’s widow. This 16-room boutique hotel blends African and Caribbean décor with a classic reggae soundtrack that will have you wanting to sing along. Image source.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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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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News