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Doula Dating

The questions that will ensure you hook the perfect catch for your birth day.

Doula Dating

The day of your baby’s birth will probably (definitely) be one of the most monumental days in your entire life, so it’s no surprise most mamas-to-be put a lot of time and effort into preparing for a great experience. While we can’t promise that your Kanye Pandora station will make your birth any smoother (here’s hoping), we can tell you that the right birth team--including, possibly, a doula--can make all the difference.

But doulas are people too...meaning every single one of them is different. To help you find the perfect match for you and your baby, we called on our friends at Birth Day Presence. Below, they break down the differences between doulas, and give you the questions that should guide every one of your doula dates.

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What should you consider when trying to find the perfect doula?

There tends to be three main points people consider when hiring a doula: The experience level of the doula (how many births has she attended), the price of the doula and the most important one--the personality fit of the doula and the expectant mom and partner. You either click with a doula or you don't, and knowing whether or not you connect well with a doula is best done in person! It's similar to a blind-date...you either have a connection or you don't!

How many doulas should you interview?

Most people interview 2-4 doulas. More than that and it can become overwhelming!

Should your partner meet the doula?

If possible, yes! You want to ensure that the doula is not only a good fit for you, the mother-to-be, but also for the partner. Giving birth is one of life's most intimate moments for a couple so it's important for both parents to agree on their doula. Also since the doula is helping the partner to support the mom, you want to make sure the fit is right for both parents.

What are some of the big differences between doulas that you work with at Birth Day Presence?

BDP feels it's important to support expectant and new families in a non-judgmental and nurturing way and therefore work with doulas who embody this philosophy. We believe there is no right or wrong way to birth a baby! We have several doulas available in a range of prices starting at $300.

Why would different women want different qualities in their doula? How is one doula that could be right for one woman all wrong for someone else?

Women usually have an idea about what they may potentially want in a doula. Some want an older doula with children who is more maternal while others prefer a younger doula who is more like a friend. Others want a doula who has worked with their doctor or midwife at their hospital or birth center. Or women may want a doula who will be supportive if she chooses to have a medicated birth. It really boils down to personality fit though--one woman may click better with a more relaxed, calm doula whereas somebody else will feel more at ease with a doula with a more bubbly personality. Everyone is different!

What should you ask on a “Doula Date”?

1) How long have you been a doula and why did you become a doula? Do you have a certain philosophy about childbirth? This helps you to gauge her level of experience and background. Will she be non-judgmental of your choices and support you regardless of how you give birth?

2) How many births do you attend per month? It's good to know how busy a doula typically is per month. Does she just take a few births per month or is she very busy. Most doulas take between 1 and 4 clients per month.

3) Do you work with a back-up doula? This helps to assess the doulas level of responsibility. You want a doula with a solid back-up plan in case she is at a birth or sick when you go into labor. Ideally she should have a few back-ups she has worked with previously.

4) How do you support women during labor? What things do you typically do? This will give you a sense of what the doula typically does during a birth. Does she suggest different positions? Help the partner to be involved? Help with breathing and relaxation? Massage mom's back?

These questions are a great way to get to know a potential doula... but honestly, the most important thing is to follow your gut instinct when selecting a doula!

Birth Day Presence is offering Well Rounded NY readers $25 off any class with the code "WellRounded"! Find out about classes here!

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.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 supporting Motherly and mamas.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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