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Cara Dolin's Pregnancy Style
Name: Cara Dolin
Neighborhood: Murray Hill
Occupation: High-risk obstetrician at NYU
Baby’s Sex: It's a girl!

How would you describe your pregnant style?
With my first pregnancy, I was still in residency and was wearing scrubs 99% of the time, so I’ve had a lot more fun dressing my bump this pregnancy. I look for what I call "non-maternity-maternity" clothes, regular clothes that can fit the bump. I invested in a few pairs of maternity jeans and leggings, which I pair with tunic-type tops, oversized sweaters or dresses. I also love showing off the bump with fitted tops. I try to stay away from anything that screams maternity, like clothes with ruching.

Have you had any challenges learning to dress your body during this pregnancy?
I'm on my feet all day at work, so finding shoes that are comfortable and look good with swollen pregnancy feet has been a challenge. Compression stockings are key for minimizing swelling and maximizing comfort in the third trimester.

So far, what has surprised you most during your pregnancy?
I've been surprised at how different it is from my first pregnancy. With my son, I had a super easy pregnancy but this time, I'm experiencing a lot more of the pregnancy-related symptoms I hear about from my patients. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being pregnant, but this pregnancy is definitely making me a more empathetic Ob/Gyn!

What are you most looking forward to sharing with your baby?
My mother passed away unexpectedly just two months before my due date. I miss her every day, but I know that her spirit will live on within this little girl. She was an extraordinary woman who taught me not only the importance of hard work and resilience, but also to find joy and laughter in each and every day. I am looking forward to raising my daughter to be a strong, independent, generous and creative woman, just like her grandmother.

What’s your top 5 registry essentials?
1. Ergo 360 Baby Carrier. Babywearing makes navigating NYC with a baby a million times easier.
2. Medela Freestyle Breastpump. As a working mama, pumping becomes a huge part of the daily routine. This pump is efficient and has a rechargeable battery in so you can pump anywhere, even on the go. 3. Keekaroo Peanut Baby Changer. Looks chic on the dresser and is a breeze to wipe down, no need to constantly wash the changing pad. 4. Puj Baby Tub. Stores flat which is key for small-space living in NYC apartments. 5. Mom's One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book. I was given this by my sister when my son was born, and it was the best gift! Even in your most busy, hectic day, you can find the time to journal one sentence to capture precious memories. I give this to all my pregnant friends now.

Cara is wearing: Madewell Tunic Dress ASOS Maternity Legging

Photography by Laurence Brett Wiener.

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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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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