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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.

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

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

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.


A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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