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Acupuncture has been popular since ancient times for a reason: it makes people feel better. Could it also make our kids feel better?

When my son was 18 month old, he had a severe cough and high fever. My instinct lead me to a family practitioner acupuncturist. When we arrived, she asked questions, took his vitals, and started her treatment, which took only a few minutes. Immediately after the treatment, his temperature started to drop. In this short amount of time, he felt much better, and so did I. She sent us home with Chinese herbal tinctures and showed me acupressure points to ease his cough and fever. She was available by text in case we needed to change the dosing based on his symptoms over the next few days.

“Most people feel that East Asian medicine is inferior, or that the healing process is too slow,” said Frances Goodwin, who’s a board certified acupuncturist and Chinese Herbal Medicine. “Children are precious and the fear that something will harm them is great, so most Americans want the immediate result of diagnosis, treatment and resolution.”

Though medical professionals and researchers don’t fully understand how acupuncture works, there is scientific evidence that targeted needle stimulation can help with many different conditions -- from depression and anxiety, to insomnia and pain, and even infertility. And when it comes to babies and children, research has shown that acupuncture can help with colic, eczema and more.

But getting your little one pricked with tiny needles can seem pretty spooky, so is it really worth it? I cleared up some concerns and questions around the practice. Here’s what you should know about pediatric acupuncture.

1. What is pediatric acupuncture all about? Whether it is for adults or children, the premise of East Asian medicine is to bring the body into balance, Goodwin explained -- “To fill what is empty and to reduce what is overflowing.” The techniques employed to achieve this include not only acupuncture, but also Tui Na (a type of massage), herbs, diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Specifically, acupuncture is a tool that’s designed to improve your body’s energetic functions, which can then facilitate a biochemical response to help alleviate symptoms.

2. What are the benefits of pediatric acupuncture? A lot of the disorders that are common to children can be successfully treated. According to Goodwin, those include: allergies, common viral conditions, pink eye, sports sprains, eczema, treatment around immunizations, Global Developmental Delays, ADD, ADHD(although more severe ADHD is referred to a specialist in that area), mono, the flu, Expressive Language Delay (working in an integrative manner), failure to thrive, measles, mumps, chicken pox, fifth disease, strep throat, and ear infections.

3. How does pediatric acupuncture work? If you’ve done acupuncture on yourself, you’re probably wondering how a toddler or even an older child would sit still long enough for the needles to work their magic. Well, they don’t, really… Meridians, which are a set of non-physical pathways in the body and which are used as roadmaps for acupuncture treatments, are not fully developed in children under the age of about 7 years. So pediatric acupuncturists usually insert the needles and quickly take them out before performing Tui Na. Infants only get the Tui Na massage.

Small children are most often held on their parents’ laps, and nursing children are often on the breast. Older children may have the acupuncture instruments retained one minute per year of age. It all depends on the child, the parents, and the need addressed at any given visit. Some conditions take only one visit and others require more.

4. How can you help your child get over the fear of needles? Most of the fear for children is around the idea of needles. But unlike injectable needles for vaccines, acupuncture needles are not vectors for medication, so they are very thin. Some people don’t even feel acupuncture needles, but this varies person to person. So you can show them how thin the needles are, or you can even let them watch acupuncture being performed on you.

My son cried a lot the first time I took him to get a treatment, though it seemed more in protest. When I asked her how he compared to her other patients, she said, “Each child and family are different. Some children never cry, some cry the entire time, some come into the office, tell me where they want the needles and pick out their Tui Na tool. I find that the fear or discomfort level of the parents often is reflected in the child.”

We’ve come a long way since our first pediatric acupuncture treatment. My son has become very comfortable after a handful of visits. He associates feeling well with doing acupuncture, so at the first sign of a cough, he tells me, “I need to see Frances.”

5. How can you use acupuncture as an adjunct to pediatric care? Using pediatric acupuncture doesn’t mean that you should completely forego your regular care. In fact, you can use both Eastern Asian Medicine and conventional pediatric care, and many pediatricians welcome acupuncture to help with certain conditions.

New York City-based pediatrician Katie Malbon MD said, “I really believe it has a place, and I would certainly advocate it for many conditions. I currently work with teenagers with chronic pain syndromes, and I would completely recommend it for them and other chronic conditions. I love the use of Eastern medicine in parallel with Western.”

Goodwin says she always refers to or collaborates with pediatricians and Physical and Occupational Therapists. “This collaboration can help to prevent a delayed or missed diagnosis of a serious health issue, such as cancer, by any healthcare professional,” Goodwin said. “When we all work together, recognize each other strengths and weakness, then the patient receives the best care.”

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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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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

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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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.

Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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