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Hormones are amazing. They enable us ladies to become pregnant in the first place, given that they are the body's chemical messengers. They also are the culprits in some of pregnancy's less charitable contributions to our skin in the 9 months leading up to birth. The good news is that the vast majority of pregnancy-related skin woes will disappear post-birth. But in the mean time, there are some lovely herbal remedies for alleviating their presence here and now. (I'm writing these recommendations both as a pregnant woman and as an herbalist who makes skincare products.) 1. Acne. As if exhaustion and bloating weren't enough to think about, acne of pregnancy can be an unfortunate curse for some women. Your hormones can cause your natural sebum (human skin oil) production to go into overdrive (as happens during puberty). This in turn can lead to plugged pores, infection and oxidized papules. Simply put, blackheads and pimples, along with an oily sheen can make your hard days much worse. NOTE: Because of serious risk of birth defects, the anti-acne prescription drugs, such as Accutane and Retin-A, cannot be used during pregnancy (and we don't think those should ever be used anyhow). How to holistically help: Avoid abrasive exfoliants; pregnant skin is too sensitive for these. Milder, oatmeal-based facial scrubs (like Sow Your Wild Oat) can help unplug the oily pores, and are much kinder to sensitive skin. Help balance your oil production by using a seed and fruit derived facial oil mixed with a hydrating mist for sensitive skin (Nourish & Replenish Oil works well, as does our Sense & Sensitivity Mist for expectant Mommas.) When a blemish does pop up, never squeeze it, which can cause infection and further inflammation. Instead use an activated charcoal clay spot treatment (Clear Complexion Clay) mixed with naturally anti-bacterial oil (Cow Fart Juice) to draw out pus without drying out the surrounding skin. Try to keep make-up to a minimum, but if you can't get away from wearing it, be sure to completely remove it at night. Try double cleansing with a light oil (NO EVIL) to give your pores a breather at night. 2. Itching. As your skin stretches to accommodate your growing babe, itchiness is an unavoidable side-effect. Even if your skin isn't visibly dry, it's probably begging for some moisture to alleviate this discomfort. Some areas can become dry and flaky, especially during the cold months; others may itch because of a prickly rash, which can show up out of nowhere. The worst spots for this are, of course, the abdomen, but also on hips and thighs. Additionally, anywhere clothing is tight can cause irritation (like bra bands and waist bands). How to holistically help: Treat yourself to some lingerie specially developed for pregnancy and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! We use a combination of products depending on the type and location of the itch. For all over body, try a goat milk lotion which is light and silky -- our Vitality Body Lotion keeps dryness at bay, especially in the winter months. Specifically for Momma's baby belly, Momma Moon Massage in a Bottle keeps the abdominal skin supple and hydrated. Avoid wearing polyester and other synthetics that don't breathe well and can cause rashes and sweat irritation. Stick to cotton, linen and wool if at all possible. 3. Stretch marks. This one is every expectant momma's worst fear. Anytime someone’s body grows quickly, they’re at risk for stretch marks, so the fact that your baby is growing exponentially in there puts you right in the high-risk zone. Of course, not every momma-to-be gets stretch marks. Ask your mom if she got stretch marks to see what the chances are that you will, since it is a genetic predisposition. Try to gain weight slowly throughout the 9 months. Inevitably, in the last trimester when baby is formed and putting on weight, your own weight gain usually accelerates. Cut out the Ben & Jerry's after 8 p.m. for slower gain. (Note: the author does not practice what she preaches. At 8 months, she is crushed if she doesn't get her nightly treat after a long day of baby-growing.) How to holistically help: Gentle exfoliation of your belly, breasts, hips and thighs can help. Our Newfangled Ideas Coffee Body Scrub will additionally help with cellulite that commonly accompanies sudden weight gain. And keeping skin moist while it grows is your best bet towards minimizing the damage. A long-used traditional botanical oil for exactly this problem: Rosehip Seed Oil. We source and bottle a beautiful 100% Organic Rosehip Seed Oil from wild thorny rose bushes which are native to and grown in Chile. It's also wonderful for scars and slowing wrinkles and other aging of the skin. 4. The pregnancy mask. So you think a nice tan will make you feel better about your bloated waistline? The sun has become your enemy for the next 9 months, specifically starting in your second trimester. Brownish spots called chloasma can appear anywhere on the face, but are seen most commonly on the forehead, upper cheeks, nose and chin. Yup, hormones estrogen and progesterone are the culprits. They stimulate the melanin cells in the skin to produce more pigment which can result in a splotchy tan. How to holistically help: The best way to avoid this is to avoid the sun. We urban hippies have embraced the big floppy hat look and keep our faces covered while outdoors. But if you insist on a sunscreen, the only safe type to use during pregnancy is the physical or mineral blocks – these are the ones made with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which make you look like an old-school lifeguard. Chemical sunscreens can enter the bloodstream and potentially affect the fetus. NOT worth the risk! (Probably best to avoid those even when not pregnant.) You can still get your vitamin D by letting the sun touch your arms, or taking off your hat for a few minutes a day (only 10 minutes of sunlight gives you all the vitamin D you need). 5. Super Sensitivity. Rosiness is a common hormonal effect – the "glow" that everyone talks about. If that's all you're suffering from, count yourself as blessed! Your skin is much more delicate while you are growing a baby than it normally is. Perfumed lotions and chemicals may cause irritation, not to mention nausea. Even your old anti-bacterial hand soap can now prove to be a risk. You certainly don't want any triclosan, parabens or fragrance entering your bloodstream and possibly affecting the baby. Avoid scrubbing your skin, even your hands, especially in hot water, which can weaken your barrier to the outside world and cause micro-tears. How to holistically help: Go get a box. Put everything in your beauty cabinet that has ingredients that you can't pronounce and don't recognize in the box. Stow it somewhere until after you have the baby. If you want to go back to it afterwards, fine, but at this point, chemicals are not a good idea. We recommend using a naturally anti-bacterial hand soap, and having it available for everyone to use when they enter your house post-birth. (Our Clean & Green castile soap with amazing essential oils also fights germs.) Try to use all natural products, escape from toxins and embrace a holistically healthy regime that you will want for your new little love. For more information on herbal products and services, check out Brooklyn Herborium. Triangulator image via Brooklyn Herborium. Botanicals image source.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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