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So often in my work I see women who are driven, hustling, making a difference in this world -- but not extending that same energy and compassion to themselves. The modern mama makes time for exercise, but the intersection of self care and exercise is important. When you’re committed to giving to your family, your job or business and responsibilities, what’s left to give to yourself?

Yoga is about union, about connection, slowing down, tuning inward and choosing to engage with yourself on the deepest level, listening to your needs and using the movement as expression. Yoga allows us to find peace and calm when we can’t calm our newborn or we’re running late for a meeting. When you align your body, mind and inner spirit above all else, you not only set the tone for your day, but your personal practice can help you support others in your life.

Start the new year with a new notion, a new plan of action, a radical mindful thought… put yourself first. Here’s 5 steps for starting a mindful yoga practice:

  1. Set realistic expectations. With schedules tight, work demands and being a mom around the clock, it’s challenging to set aside time for your own personal practice. You don’t have to escape to a four-day retreat to start mindful yoga practice, just take those 10 minutes before the everyone in the house wakes up to sit with yourself in silence and start with some grounding movements to warm up the major joints in the body. This will give you enough space and time to realign and find confidence in your personal practice.

  1. Get Gear. Just like you would get new sneakers and running pants to start of right with a distance running program you want to have the right gear so you’re comfortable and set up for success. A yoga mat and props are essential tools for your practice. Having stretchy pants that allow your belly to breathe, and a yoga nursing bra, like the new Bravado’s Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra , supports you in your activities, fitness and new motherhood journey.

  1. Just breathe. Calming the mind is one of the hardest things for expectant and new moms to do and one of the most basic tenets of yoga and mindfulness. Wherever you are, slow down and focus on your breath and its feeling, its sounds, its sensations. Let go of any stress and tension in the body, forget your to-do list in this moment. It’s all about your self care. Breathe your way to calm.

  1. Find a routine. Commit yourself to yourself by choosing the same timeframe everyday to dedicate to your practice. Whether first thing in the morning or last thing at night at night, having a routine that you can rely on will make it easier to fold into your life and something you look forward to for comfort.

  1. Set the mood. This is a self care practice as much as it’s a yoga practice. It’s all about tuning out and feeling good. Make it matter. Put the effort into setting a mood so you can focus on the 30 minutes or so you’ve dedicated to yourself. Create a mindful mama corner. Light candles, place flowers in the room, maybe aspirational quotes or images in your corner. And go there as often as you can for your practice. Even if its just sitting in easy seat and breathing for 10 breaths. Be kind to yourself.

3 Comfort Poses for a Mindful Mama Glow Yoga Practice

Pigeon (or Dove Pose): This pose is great for those who have any low back pain, tight hips, or sciatica. It helps lengthen the hip flexors and stretches the groin, thighs, chest, shoulders, and neck, and it stimulates abdominal organs. Interlacing the fingers behind the back offers a gentle stretch opening the chest and offering relief for nursing moms.

Reclined Hero’s Pose: Seated on the floor place feet on either side of the hips. Make sure the sits bones are pressing into the floor. Adjust the feet so the toes are pointed straight back toward the wall behind you. First lower down onto the elbows, chin relaxed. Relax the ribs down and lengthen the spine. You can continue to lower down along the bolster or all the way to the floor. This pose increases blood circulation through knee joints. Helps high blood pressure. Stretches the thighs, knees, and ankles. Improves digestion and relieves gas and helps with edema in the legs and opens the spine and chest which relieves breastfeeding moms.

Supported Bridge Pose:The anatomical focus of this pose is the uterus. The Supported Bridge stretches the chest, neck, and spine and allows you a gentle back- bend with total support. Some of the benefits include stimulation of the abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid; improved digestion; and reduced anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia. This pose calms the mind and helps alleviate stress and mild depression. This is a great pose for postpartum moms as well. You can even do a lighter version of this- the pelvic tilt hours after birth.

Latham is wearing Bravado’s Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra.

 

Photography by Robert Sturman.

 

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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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