*Brooklyn mom Emily May, co-founder and Executive Director of Hollaback! and co-founder of the People’s Supper, shares her parenting story, in partnership with Diaperkind.We never thought of ourselves as “natural parents” before we had our baby. We do think deeply about the ways we make an impact on the world, but we’re also real about what we can and should be doing. It’s easy to read articles or talk to friends and hear that there is a right and a wrong way to be a parent but, as with most things, we’ve realized that choices are a spectrum and everyone needs to figure out for themselves what is right for them.In all of our pre-baby research, it was clear that cloth diapering aligned with our values: better for our baby, better for the planet, and better for us (including our bank account). A few of my friends had used cloth diapers and amazingly, had no gross stories of diaper blowouts, so we went to a cloth diapering class at Diaperkind, a cloth diaper service in NYC, to see if it was a good fit for us. We left filled with the confidence that cloth diapering was not only a viable option for our family, but that in many ways it was the easier choice. We were even able to register for Diaperkind Gift Certificates which enabled our friends and family to buy us diaper service as opposed to a bunch of plastic toys that don’t fit in our apartment anyhow!When Ari was born, we used disposables at the hospital, and when we got him home, I found myself feeling a bit anxious about the drawer filled with beautiful, unsoiled cotton diapers and accessories that Diaperkind had so lovingly delivered a week before he arrived. But I set my anxiety aside, and within the first 24 hours, we totally mastered the cloth diaper (despite having very little sleep). Swaddling and breastfeeding definitely had more of a learning curve! And when Diaperkind came by for the first time to pick up our dirties and drop off a free batch of clean diapers, we were all in. It was so easy!Since then, we’ve been getting diapers picked up and dropped off right at our apt door on a weekly basis, complemented by Diaperkind’s organic skincare products, laundry detergent and diaper pail filters & fresheners.Sure, we’ve been tempted by the lure of how “easy” disposables are. Once, when my husband David was traveling with the baby without laundry access, he tried disposables for about a week. He learned quickly that “blowouts” were very much in Ari’s skillset, it’s just that the extra structural layers of cotton of his cloth diaper and the waterproof cover (the two-part Diaperkind diaper) kept his most ambitious poops inside the diaper where they belonged. Here’s what I’ve noticed since we started cloth diapering: we don’t have blowouts. We don’t have that dirty disposable diaper smell. We don’t have diaper rash, since our diaperkind diapers are 100% organic cotton which is great for my son’s sensitive skin.What we do have though, is a lot of questions to answer from our family, friends and caregivers about our choice for diapering our baby. Some of our friends were ready to pin capes on our backs as some sort of moral superheroes. And I’ll admit: cloth diapers has been an easy way to feel like good stewards of the planet and using a local, women-owned small business to support that decision is even better.But people give us too much credit or insist that they could never do cloth diapering because they aren’t 'good enough' people. It’s like they understand and align with the values of cloth diapering, but got lost understanding what it actually takes to do. We insist that it’s not hard, and in fact in many ways it has made our lives easier!We sometimes feel a little bit judged by our daycare providers -- even though they learned the cloth diapering process quickly and easily. As one of very few families that have used cloth diapers, they seem more confused about our choice than anything. There’s a perception that all cloth diapering parents are 100% natural/attachment/stay-at-home/breastfeeding/fill-in-the-blank parents. But cloth diapering doesn’t define me as a parent. It’s just how I diaper my baby! Holding ideas about 100% anything when it comes to parenting (or being a person) is a recipe for disappointment that we don’t have any desire to be cooking up. We’ve used disposable diapers, both of us have full-time jobs, Ari happened to like breastfeeding, but certainly learned to sleep through the night on his own at about 3 months. We’re trying to love each other as much as possible and be as kind to each other as much as we can. I’ve got another baby due in a few months, and this time around, we’re freaking out in totally new ways! How can you have a two and a half year old and a newborn? Will we ever sleep again? Will they like each other? We feel much more locked in about the skills we learned with Ari -- cloth diapering, baths, swaddle wraps, food.To all my friends who are about to become parents, I say: you got this. All the choices you make will be right in some ways, wrong in some ways, and helpful in making better choices in the future. We are happy to tell you some of the things that worked for us and some of the stuff we’ve loved and learned. But ultimately, it’s up to you, and we’ll love and support you through it as best we can.Diaperkind is based in Gowanus, Brooklyn and provides weekly diaper service to NYC and Hudson County. They also offer home laundering products and mentorship to families across the county. If you’re local to NYC, be sure to check out one of their monthly Cloth Diapering 101 classes.Want to try cloth diapering with Diaperkind? Mention Well Rounded in the Special Notes field during checkout and they’ll credit you back 15% off orders of $100 or more!
We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.
Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:
That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.
Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.
Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.
3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra
It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.
It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.
4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle
Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.
5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank
Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.
What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.
6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment
Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.
Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or alactation consultant for help.
7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack
As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.
Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.
8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad
In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.
Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.
If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.
10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags
Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).
Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.
A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.
"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.
Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."
Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.
The AAP recommends:
Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.
[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]
It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.
Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.
He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.
Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.
That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.
These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.
What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.
[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]
If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.
According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."
And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.
Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.
Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.