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Brunch, with Baby

Nibble+squeak’s founder shares 9 steps to surviving your new weekend tradition.

Brunch, with Baby

When I moved back to New York with my new baby, brunch was one of the many American things I was really looking forward to: a lazy meal, Bloody Marys, friends around the table…brunch is the epitome of “weekend.”

In my mind, the sun was always shining, the food was piled high, and everyone was smiling. But brunch is also notorious for fussy customers, (occasionally) grumpy servers, and (sometimes) disappointing food. Plus, now, with new baby-in-tow, almost everything takes a little extra adjustment.

But that small adjustment is worth it! Please don’t shy away from things that you loved pre-children, thinking that it won’t work. It can! It will! And parents need brunch more than ever. It’s probably not a hangover that you are nursing, but a living child — and that exhaustion isn’t from one late night out partying, but weeks or months of sleep deprivation. Your weekend life probably revolves around baby, and you need to treat yourself too!

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What follows is a mother’s guide to enjoying brunch again, with infant- or toddler-in-tow. Every article I’ve ever seen on dining out with children is a list of etiquette rules, or cautions, or preparedness advice. This is none of those. I know you are doing your best. I always find that I’ve forgotten the toy or bib or snack at home, so this is what to do under my typical frazzled parent conditions. This is a step-by-step survival guide.

  1. Go Early. Simply because no one likes to line up and wait for brunch! It’s worth noting that for those of us with small children, Brunch is really just Lunch. We’ve been awake since dawn, ate some form of breakfast at home, changed, dressed, and played with baby, gone up and down the slide in the playground a million times, had a mid-morning snack, and then ran circles around the block three times before the restaurant even opened its doors at 10am. So this part should be easy.

  1. Be Friendly. To everyone. Your host, your server, and especially your fellow diners. Yes, as all the etiquette mavens will tell you, part of any restaurant experience is a social contract with those around you. I know that you know this already. The most stressful part of eating out can be worrying about disturbing others. So smile at your neighbors when you are seated. Say hello if it seems right. It’s the genial thing to do, and it’s also a way to open the dialogue in a positive way, so that if disturbance strikes — a scream, a spill, an errant pea — you can apologize, and they will be more likely to shrug it off and smile than to give you “a look” or complain.

  1. Order. Just do it. Don’t deliberate too long — it’s busy at brunch! — just choose the item that jumped out at you and sounds good right now. If your server is ready, get your order in to the kitchen. And be straightforward. Order from the menu. For everyone. Pro tip: sides often work well as baby meals!

  1. Entertain. This is where lots of experts tell you to bring a toy, or snack. They are probably right, but I’ll never know! Still, there is a lot to do during the wait time at table. It sounds obvious, but try having a normal animated conversation (like you used to do at brunch!), but this time including little one. If that fails, a game of napkin peek-a-boo makes for happy tableside giggles. Sometimes, a quick peek outside for fresh air helps.

  1. Eat. Enjoy! Feed yourself first, but share some with your little one too if you can. When your baby is old enough to explore the taste, texture, color or smell of the food on your plate, it’s exciting to expose them to lots of new things.

  1. Feed. Depending on the age of your child, you will probably need to facilitate feeding in some way: by fork, spoon, bottle, or breast. Like many mamas, I cringe at the thought of starting a scene, but nursing in public is easier now. It helps to have a friend or partner as a physical buffer, so that you aren't rubbing elbows or shoulders with a stranger, but do what makes YOU most comfortable.

  1. Clean-up. I do grab a napkin and clean up the floor after restaurant meals. I figure we make a bigger mess than most guests, and I’d rather help a little than not at all.

  1. Tip. Graciousness does go a long way, but a tip goes farther. You want to return next weekend, don't you?

  1. Relax. Really. Take a deep breath. That wasn’t so bad, was it? Next time you’ll be even more calm and confident!

Written by Melissa Elders. Melissa is the founder of Nibble+squeak, which hosts special dining events for parents with pipsqueaks-in-tow. She's just returned from a decade abroad in London, where she managed international sales and marketing for a group of independent publishers. Now based in Brooklyn with her family, she produces cutting-edge community events and festivals.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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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