Do You Have Pregnancy Decision Fatigue?

3 tips to overcome it.

Do You Have Pregnancy Decision Fatigue?

When I was pregnant, I was totally amazed by the unexpectedly overwhelming amount of decisions that I had to make. As a doula, I had prepped over a hundred families through the threshold of pregnancy and birth. But this was my first baby, so everything -- about pregnancy and parenting -- suddenly felt new to me, and being responsible for a little being, along with the choices that came with that responsibility, weighed heavily on me. So much so that towards the end of my pregnancy, I was experiencing something known as decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is when a person who constantly has to make decisions ends up too mentally drained to make decisions. In other words, the more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one of them becomes for your brain, which ultimately looks for shortcuts by doing nothing or choosing impulsively. That explains the concept of “impulse items” at the checkout counter of a grocery store. Marketers know that after facing so many choices over the course of a shopping trip, shoppers will be overcome with decision fatigue, thus more likely to succumb to that candy bar at the checkout line.


In this day and age, this psychological condition is common among parents and parents-to-be. This isn’t surprising since we now have the resources and ability to “do our homework.” With the Wide World Web, information and education is much more readily available, which gives us the ability to scrutinize and weigh heavily on things like prenatal tests, pregnancy symptoms and discomforts, and what baby gear we should or should not get.

When you first found out you were pregnant, you probably never imagined how many decisions you’d have to make -- some of them rather quickly! Once the pregnancy test turns positive though, your parenting journey begins, and the decisions you make will dictate the proceeding steps.

Will you work with an OB or a midwife? Will you go for genetic testing or not? Should you limit sonograms or take a peek at your growing Mini Me at each visit? To co-sleep or to room-share? To breastfeed or to formula feed? What about the stroller? Should you opt for a running stroller, an umbrella stroller, a stroller that morphs into a double stroller (well, yes… You have to think long-term), or all of them? Let’s not forget the baby’s name… The decisions you and your partner need to make are endless. And then decision fatigue hits. Where you once researched each product or piece of baby gear with precision, you suddenly have a uniform response of, “whatever! Just get whatever!”

But mama, you are not alone! CEOs and even the President of the United States are familiar with the psychological condition and do things like wearing the same outfit every day to save their mental energy for more complex problems. While decision making during pregnancy is unavoidable (you are getting ready to welcome a new person into the world after all), we’ve put together some tips and strategies to help you through.

  1. Be easy on yourself. Remember the term “pregnancy brain”? Well, we are learning that it’s actually a real thing. During pregnancy a mother’s brain does adjust and change to prepare for the needs and demands of the newborn. So if you’re feeling forgetful, slow down and give yourself some time to think things through.
  2. Enlist the help of your friends. If you find yourself scrolling online stores and blogs trying to figure out what baby gear to purchase, ask your friends (if they’re parents!) for recommendations on what you absolutely need to buy. Figure out what items they really, really like. An online tool called weeSpring can help as well.
  3. Don’t try to do it all before baby is born. When it’s all said and done, what babies really need is a safe, loving home with attentive parents. You’ll need clothes, diapers, regular access to the breast if you’re breastfeeding -- formula/bottles if you’re formula feeding -- and a safe place to set the baby down. In Finland, parents use boxes to keep their babies safe while they sleep, so if you don’t have a crib yet, please don’t fret! You’ll have time to buy a lot of what you need once baby is earth side.

Jennifer Mayer has had the pleasure of attending births as a doula for the past 10 years. She came to birth work through her role as a prenatal massage therapist, while living in Boulder, Colorado. Jennifer loves supporting families through pregnancy, birth and beyond with education and compassionate support, to welcome their babies in a way that feels good for them. She recently gave birth to a beautiful boy, and the experience has deepened her work with families that much more. Find her at Baby Caravan.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

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

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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