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Back-to-School 2017: Toddler + kid backpacks to send them off in style

Nothing takes us back to the first day of school like a brand-new backpack. It’s every kid’s must-have to kick of the year and the best (and most useful!) accessory for that Insta-worthy first day pic.

We’ve rounded up eight of our absolute favorite, insanely adorable, and totally functional backpacks for kiddos from the preschool crowd all the way up through to bigger kids. Your biggest problem is going to be choosing which one to pick!

1. Babymel Zip & Zoe

We cannot say enough good things about the ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE Zip & Zoe line of backpacks, lunch bags, and drink bottles from Babymel. Vibrant, ultra-cool designs, toddler and big kid sizes, and lots of zippers and pockets to hold everything and anything your little one will need to rock back-to-school. Each item even comes with its own unique accessory—everything from a figurine key chain to a musical tag.

Pro tip: The mini backpacks feature a toddler “safety harness” (read: baby leash) to keep your little one close by until they’re ready to roam free. No judgment here, mama—you gotta do what you gotta do.


2. SoYoung Raw Linen Backpacks

SoYoung’s Raw Linen Backpacks stand out as a beautiful, eco-friendly alternative to some of the synthetically-made backpacks available this season. Made from 100% raw linen and available in an assortment of simple, charming designs (dinos or foxes, anyone?), these packs are sturdy and completely machine washable (??). They’re perfectly-sized to hold just the right amount of stuff, and the padded straps make them easy enough for a toddler or bigger kiddo to comfortably carry.

Pro tip: These bags come in toddler and grade school sizes, and you can attach a matching lunch box to the outside. Win!


3. Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Backpack: Ferguson Fox

It’s pretty much impossible not to smile when you lay your eyes on Ferguson the Fox. Skip Hop, a brand we’ve come to love, doesn’t disappoint with their newest backpack for the preschool set. Great design, durable material, and a roomy main compartment makes this a go-to bag for back to school.

Pro tip: Not diggin’ the fox? Choose from the rest of the zoo—penguins and owls and zebras, oh my!


4. Hanna Andersson

There is pretty much nothing that Hanna Andersson makes that we don’t ❤️, and these backpacks are no exception. Small, medium, and large sizes mean that toddlers through bigger kids are covered; lightweight-yet-rugged fabric means that these packs will stand the test of time. And the patterns—ahhh, the patterns! We couldn’t love them more.

Pro tip: These can’t be thrown into the washing machine, so we recommend you spot clean instead. The fabric is stain and water resistant, though, so you shouldn’t have to fight too much dirt!


5. Fjallraven Kanken Mini

Did you know that these iconic Scandinavian adult backpacks came in mini sizes? Well, now you do—and you’re welcome. The Fjallraven Kanken Mini is practical, functional, and beautiful: pretty much the perfect design trifecta. It’s also water resistant, so your little guy can stomp those puddles without fear!

Pro tip: Treat yourself: buy the Kanken pack for you and the mini for your little one. Who are we to stand in the way of you and your matching backpack ultimate cuteness?


6. Herschel Survey Kids

For a more unique pack, check out the the Herschel Survey Backpack, which was inspired by classic scouting bags. Ideal for kids 3 to 6, this pack comes in too many awesome hipster patterns to count. (I mean, come on with this. And this!) Magnetic closures, lots of zippered pockets, and the signature striped fabric liner make these bags seriously too cool for school.

Pro tip: Some pack styles feature leather straps, while others use rubber instead, which we thought was a pretty thoughtful option.


7. Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn Kids’ backpacks are insanely popular for good reason: they are durable, they are well thought out, and they are downright adorable. From toddler all the way through big kid and featuring about a zillion pockets, straps, and gear loops, PB’s bags really get the job done. 2017’s new crop of kid-friendly patterns include rainbows, glow-in-the-dark moon and stars, alphabet, and neon dinos, just to name a few.

Pro tip: Add a monogram so your little’s bag will stand out on the coat rack!


8. TWELVElittle Big Kid Courage Backpack

We can’t stop swooning over these packs since we first laid eyes on them a few months ago. The Big Kid Courage backpack just could not be cooler. The crinkle nylon keeps it durable and lightweight, and the spacious main compartment is roomy and easy to open. But the best part? Iron-on patches! We told you—swoon!

Pro tip: Need more patches in your life to decorate your pack? Who doesn’t. You can snag them here.


We only include products we’ve tested and loved in MotherlyLoves. Through affiliate programs, we may receive a revenue percentage if you purchase through our website.

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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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