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Made in NY: Carriage House Birth

We often like to think of our big little city as a village, filled with a cast of supportive characters no matter what stage of life you happen to be in. After all, we travel, work, play and live in such close proximity to each other, we’re practically all related anyway. But when it comes to giving birth, that village is often absent, despite our common journey and the clear benefits we could all gain from a little teamwork.

It doesn’t have to be that way. And at Carriage House Birth, it’s not. Samantha Huggins, Domino Kirke and Lindsey Bliss organize a collective of birth workers--from birth and postpartum doulas to herbalists to placenta encapsulationists--that provide support from the minute the pee stick turns blue to well after the baby is sleeping through the night.

Below, Carriage House’s founders clue us in to life as a NYC doula, and give us 6 tips for a smooth and satisfying birth experience, no matter what our birth day looks like.

Why is doula care such an important part of the birthing process, and especially in a place like NYC?

Lindsey: Doulas are essential because we help to normalize the birthing process by offering informational, emotional and physical support. Doulas are so important in New York City, especially because most midwifery practices and/or OB practices are extremely busy and unable to give their clients the individual attention and time that they deserve. We are a constant source of non-judgmental support during their entire childbearing journey.

How does having a doula on the big day enhance the experience?

Samantha: When a doula attends your birth, the family is able to focus on each other and most importantly, giving birth. The doula will clean the house or the hospital room, and offer suggestions, water and breaks. We will take care of all of the small stuff and then fade to black once you have your footing. We weave a fabric of normalcy and calm around you so that you can make honest and informed decisions for yourself and your family.

Tell us a little about Carriage House and your concept of recreating a village.

Samantha: We started Carriage House Birth with “the village view” because we believe in our hearts that it takes a community to raise our children, and to support each other as families and our doulas as birth workers. With this level of support, everyone is safe and confidence grows organically. This can only benefit everyone! Carriage House Birth offers complete pregnancy support for all versions of family. We are with you from the moment you hire us, which could be once pee on the stick or two weeks before your Estimated Due Date, until you take wings and want to fly on your own. We offer guidance on birthing options (hospital or home, practices, birthing centers, etc), and we branded several versions of our own Childbirth Educations series, covering first-time families of singletons, families of multiples, and childbirth education review for second-timers and beyond.

How does your team fit into this vision?

Samantha: Our doulas work with the security of support from Carriage House Birth, which means they are heavily backed by other Carriage House doulas. So if you have a long labor, or something should happen to your doula so that she cannot attend, her back-up will be there, fresh and full of new energy to bring to your birth. It’s a total win for everyone. We also offer tons of postpartum support and classes as well: doulas, breastfeeding, DIY postpartum offerings and a very solid system of referrals for anything that falls out of our scope.

What are some of the trends you’re seeing in the doula world right now, and especially in some of your NYC births?

Lindsey: The doula community and the childbearing community seem to both be gravitating towards a more holistic and natural approach to pregnancy and childbirth. There is a surge in our expecting clients that are seeking energy work and alternative modes of healing, to help foster the mind-body connection during the childbearing process. I think this is our peaceful backlash to an over medicalized maternity care system.

Since you started carriage house birth, what kind of changes have you seen? Are more women (and doctors) more open to doula care?

Samantha: We have seen a lot of change in the hospital and birth center realm for doulas. At Carriage House, we certainly have been working with specific practices more regularly. The care providers that actually know what a Carriage House Birth doula can do to make their jobs easier and their patients happier are referring their patients to us more and more. They know that we are not fighting a war on medicalized birth but are simply serving our clients. We go where our families go and we birth their way. No judgement from us. And in the homebirth world, doulas are widely used, probably always have been!

Having a birth doula is certainly one way to help the big day go more smoothly. Give us your other top tips to help moms prepare for a great birth day.

  1. Knowledge is power. Educate yourself and know your options.
  2. Choosing a compassionate care provider is the #1 most important thing that you can do for the birth experience you are hoping for.
  3. Embrace the beautiful chaos.
  4. Have a great support team. If you feel that support, you can give birth anywhere.
  5. LET GO and take each moment for what it is. Do not try to see the end but focus on the task at hand. Each pressure wave or contraction is all you need to contend with at a time.
  6. And if you are headed to the hospital or birth center, bring your own pillow!
Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna


2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna


3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95


4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna


5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna


With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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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