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The Mothering Room Makeover

Beyond support, what moms need most when going back to work while breastfeeding is a space to pump. One that’s clean, private and, at the very minimum, equipped with a place to sit and an outlet.

“A place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public,” is the requirement for employers, set by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. While it’s a great start, the reality is, dedicated mothering room spaces are often hard to come by and most are makeshift, cold, and leaving much to be desired. (We’ve seen a few too many bathroom stalls and closets from where moms pump.)

We think we can do better than that when it comes to lactation rooms, and we know some companies who are. After all, it doesn’t take much to elevate your pumping room. A few thoughtful touches - a soothing coat of paint, a comfortable chair, or even a lamp - can change a sterile space into a warmer one -- one that helps moms to relax, produce more milk, and be more productive at work.

Here’s a few tips for transforming your pump room:

1. Think ‘lounge’ vs. ‘lactation’. Treat the room like a room, not a pumping space. Choose a chair you want to sink into, or take a cue from Amy’s Kitchen and opt for a full couch. Add a footstool (since putting feet up may help milk production). Then embellish with a rug, a nice lamp, and other touches that make it feel less like a place to express milk and more like a place to escape.

2. Set the mood. Paint the walls a soothing color to create a relaxing feel. Try blue, which helps to calm the mind and reduce tension (key to milk letdown) or this blue-grey, which evokes the “quietness of a rainy day,” according to Paul Corrie, and can turn any room “into a refuge.” Hang art that gets the milk flowing: think water drops, or smiling babies. Patagonia, for example, has a kayaker in rippling water adorning their pump space.

3. Soften it up. Throw a sheepskin over the chair. Add a few pillows of different thickness for back support and to help moms remain comfortably upright. Work in a few lamps to counter bright lighting or install dimmable lights. Hang curtains for privacy and to make the space feel more personal, and include a soft blanket if the room is cold.

4. Surprise and delight. Think outside the box when thinking of the essentials. Moms need a place to put their pump or computer while pumping, so choose a nightstand or a vintage tv tray versus a workplace side table. Opt for a colorful fridge. “Stocking the refrigerator with water and snacks for these busy moms would be extremely helpful as well,” says doula Darcy Sauers. Even small details like a bottle drying rack next to the sink or an electric kettle to make mother’s milk tea can put moms more at ease while they pump, which can actually make the pumping session more efficient and therefore quicker.

5. Create connection. If your mothering room supports multiple mothers, make it easy for them to share and connect. Add some creative storage baskets and bins, with labels, so that every mom has a space to store her pump. Hang a bulletin board to encourage communication and information sharing, or create a “wall of wee ones”, with a space for each mom to hang a photo of her baby -- icing on the cake for everyone since seeing your baby helps with milk flow.

With a little color and light you can make any space to pump more pleasing, and please many moms in the meantime.

Share your spot and find more places to pump worth celebrating over at pumpspotting.

Image courtesy of Milk It Kit.

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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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