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Pregnant in Paris

10 things to do, see and eat if you've got a bébé-to-be.

Pregnant in Paris

I’m a miserable pregnant lady -- I’ve overshared that information with the world already. But being a mother brings me great joy, so being pregnant is a prerequisite, and there’s no place I would rather be preggers than in Paris. The French, including the French government, love children, and there are many financial, medical, and administrative benefits to take advantage of throughout 9 months, as well as once the baby arrives. We actually get a check from France and our insurance just to say thank you for having a baby! How crazy is that? Official stuff aside, Paris has continued to inspire me and feed my cravings during this difficult time of food no-nos, weight gain and fatigue.

For those who find themselves pregnant in Paris for a babymoon or a family trip, I wanted to share my Parisian pregnancy tour. Here are 10 tips, along with the best spots to check out when pregnant in Paris.

1. Feed your sweet tooth at goûter. Paris is a dessert and pastry paradise. If you have a sweet tooth, save the buttery croissants and pains au chocolat for breakfast and try something different for your afternoon goûter around 4:30 -- the official snack time here. Visit Aux Merveilleux de Fred and order L’Incroyable or Le Merveilleux. I also cannot resist Pierre Hermé and his Miss Gla’Gla ice cream sandwich, which I inhale as I head to the Tuileries. Not your average ice cream sandwich, the Miss Gla’Gla is an unusual combo of ice cream and sorbet beautifully mixed together and sandwiched between two macarons. All the flavors are seasonal and just insane!

2. Indulge in bump-friendly Asian food. Asian restaurants (aside from the sushi joints) usually offer pregnant-friendly meals: fully cooked food, with no raw veggies or cheese. You can’t go wrong heading to Rue Saint Anne and choosing a restaurant on the spot, but save your precious legs the walk and bee line to Kunitoraya for Udon noodle heaven! There is always a line, but it moves pretty fast. If you can’t deal with the line try Aki Restaurant (no relation!) for an Okonomiyaki, a Japanese omelette, or cold soba noodles. Yum Yum Yum!

3. Enjoy your carb cravings. It’s hard to dine out without coming across a tray of unpasteurized cheese and charcuterie (a big no-no for fear of listeria). But a beautiful plate of pasta can make me forget about that platter and gets me excited about ingesting comforting carbs. Italy is next door, so you can expect to find authentic Italian food all over the city. My current fave is Ober Mamma, where all the pasta is homemade, the mocktails are tasty, and the Italian staff is always in a surprisingly good mood and very helpful. One bite of their truffle pasta, and I swear all your charcuterie coveting will just... wash away.

4. Do the tourist thing. You can’t come to Paris and not do the “tourist thing” for at least a day or a few hours. But since you are carrying another human being in your belly, I recommend taking a boat cruise, which is one of the best ways to see the city. The Batobus is a great option to stop at a few monuments and museums. But I usually take the Vedettes du Pont Neuf when I have friends in town because it’s only about an hour -- the perfect amount of time to see the most iconic monuments. The Vedettes also offer dinner and lunch cruises, which I have been dying to try as an alternative romantic way to enjoy Paris.

5. Don’t wait in line. If you are feeling fit and want to walk around to visit museums and the Eiffel Tower, just flash that bump and skip straight to the front of the line. Most places in Paris have a “caisse priorité” for handicapped visitors, pregnant women, and sometimes mothers with small babies. There is no better time to visit the Eiffel Tower, The Grand Palais, the Picasso Museum, The Arc de Triomphe, and even Versailles without dealing with the epic lines.

6. Do a little shopping for yourself. I’m not a huge shopper, but when I am strolling in the Marais, one of my favorite non-preggers preggo places to pop into is Cos. I love their simple monochromatic looks in pregnant-friendly silhouettes. Something to keep in mind when shopping, and even packing for Paris, is that no one in this city cares if you wear the same thing two days in a row or twice in one week. This is perfect for a pregnant woman because it’s one less thing to think about. Once you are done shopping at Cos, head to Miznon and enjoy their ratatouille and amazing baked veggies. I know this tip is about shopping but i am always thinking about food.

7. Pick up a few things for bébé. You will find lots of local children’s clothing and toy stores in the Marais if you are up for wandering around. Make sure to stop into Bonton for uber chic choices and Petit Bateau for a few front snap onesies and stripes for the new babe.

8. Try the Babymoon package at Villa Madame. I tend to spend a lot of time on the Right Bank of Paris, but the Left Bank is such a beautiful area with the Jardin du Luxembourg and all the shops on Saint Germain. Left Bank lovers should check out the Villa Madame next to the gardens. It’s a cute boutique hotel with a Babymoon Package for approximately €190-290 a night, which includes breakfast, a special gift, 2 complimentary cocktails (mocktail for mama), and 2 tickets for a Bateaux Mouches cruise on the Seine.

9. Make time for prenatal pampering. if you stay at a hotel with a spa, call or double check in advance to make sure they have a prenatal massage or special care for pregnant women. If these services are not available, check out L’Échappée in the 11th arrondissement. They offer several different treatments for moms-to-be, a relaxing indoor pool area and a restaurant. The spa is quite close to Ober Mamma, so you can get a morning massage before loading on carbs.

10. Cafe life doesn’t have to include caffeine. You can’t come to Paris without being a flâneuse, people watching and resting those legs in a cafe. If you didn’t give up coffee then thanks to the cafe culture brewing in this city, you will find lots of cute cafes in the Marais or near the Canal. Order un déca (pronounced day-Ka and short for décaféiné) or un décaf crème at Le Progrès in the Marais or Café de Flore in St Germain, where you might get lucky and spot Karl Lagerfeld.

Ajiri A. Aki is a mother of two and founder of Manna Paris. An author and video producer who grew up in Austin, Texas, Ajiri lived in New York City for 10 years working in the fashion and museum worlds as an editor, a stylist, a research assistant and an associate curator for several magazines, The Costume Institute of The Met and the Museum of the City of New York. She currently lives in Paris and works with fashion and luxury companies producing short videos through her company A. Spectrum Projects. She is co-author of the New York Times Best Seller, Where’s Karl? (Clarkson Potter), an illustrated fashion parody of Where’s Waldo featuring Karl Lagerfeld.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com 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 supporting 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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