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Hey, pregnant mama. So let’s guess: Your belly has popped and you’re trying your best to keep up some semblance of a workout routine while squeezing in that desperately needed nap between meetings (and maybe keeping up with your toddler)!


You’ve finally found that 20 minutes (thanks, iPad kids’ games!) and go to pull on your favorite stretch pants, but they won’t make it past your bum.

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with the most comfortable, sweat-wicking pregnancy workout clothes that will inspire you to (safely) stretch, walk or run your way into your favorite exercise routine.

1. Leggings that give serious support + style: Ingrid & Isabel Active Moto Leggings

If you’re not feeling your fittest ever, it’s nice to balance it by still wearing something that looks amazing. Ingrid & Isabel’s Active Moto Leggings don’t spare any ounce of style. Plus, with their special crossover panel, they give extra back support in a really natural and comfortable way. And did we mention they are moisture-wicking to help those extra beads of pregnancy sweat stay away? If you’re looking for a capri version, try the Active Mesh Detail Capri, which also features the crossover panel and great geometric panels.

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Pro tip: Fold down the band to take advantage of these gems even after your belly isn’t so baby-filled.

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2. Soft support that lifts + wicks: bamboobies Yoga Nursing Brahhh

As your curves keep growing, you need a sports bra that can handle supporting and stretching with you. Bamboobies Yoga Nursing Brahhh has it all—it’s breathable (what’s up, underboob sweat?), adjustable and amazingly comfortable. There’s also a nursing tank for a two-in-one.

Pro tip: Look for a sports bra that will do double duty as a nursing bra.

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3. A shirt with belly + back support: Mumberry Flourish Tank

When you think about maternity clothes, you probably think of belly support coming from the pants. Mumberry flips that idea on its head, offering tees and tanks with built-in “Mumband” support. We love the softness of both the Flourish Tank and Vigor Tee, but we’re even more obsessed with the built-in belly band. We tested it on a former athlete and mom of two, and even a back with that history was amazed how well both shirts followed through on the incredible support claim.

Pro tip: You’re probably living in activewear pretty much all day anyway, but if not, the versatility these tops offer might just make you change your mind. Layer them when it’s cold and stay cool when it’s warm.

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4. A sweatshirt you’ll live in all weekend (or week) long: Boob Design B. Warmer Hoodie

Soft and cozy is just the beginning for this the Boob Design B. Warmer Hoodie. Giving you plenty of room for a growing baby, it keeps you warm on chilly nights. The ingenious flap top makes it super easy to nurse and the organic cotton means you won’t mind having your baby’s head up against it. When you realize how great the style is and are yearning for more, check out the Fast Food Sports tank top with similar comfort and pregnancy-to-nursing ease.

Pro tip: Can we coin the term “fancy sweatshirt”? We love this one so much, and you can wear it with anything from yoga pants to jeans to a sundress.

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5. A supersoft pullover: Ingrid & Isabel Crossover Pullover + Nursing

Whether you want to cover up on a cold walk or are looking for a little modesty when grabbing that pre-workout coffee, we love Ingrid & Isabel’s Crossover Pullover + Nursing. It’s as soft as your favorite sweatshirt, and its crossover design means it keeps fitting as your belly expands. Plus, the little dip in back keeps your booty covered. We love layering it over the Racerback Active Tank, which gives great support without a sports bra.

Pro tip: Stock up on maternity tops and sweaters that will stick around for your nursing needs.

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6. Shoes that work as hard as you do: Allbirds Wool Runners

Swollen, tired feet. They’re a mainstay when you’re pregnant—and beyond. We weren’t sure whether to believe the hype about Allbirds Wool Runners... but then we tried them. And now we live in them. Soft doesn’t begin to describe the comfort level. They’re light, they wick moisture, you can wear them without socks and they can even be thrown in the wash.

Pro tip: Unless you’re going for comfort, like with these wonders, avoid buying shoes when you’re pregnant. A lot of women’s feet grow a half to a full size larger during pregnancy and don’t shrink back down.

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7. Deodorant that keeps you smelling fresh: Native

When you’re sweating in a whole new way, you need to get creative to block the perspiration and stay smelling fresh. Native offers scents you never knew could be great in deodorant, from coconut-vanilla to lavender-rose. And even better, Native is both aluminum and paraben free.

Pro tip: Is pregnancy making you extra sensitive to the smell of your husband’s scent? Native can help clean that aroma, too.

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8. An under-5-minutes makeup kit to get you on your way: trèStiQue

You’re making enough of an effort just to get those gym clothes on. Now pack up all your makeup and brushes? No way. trèStiQue simplifies your routine with two-in-one products—think blush stick on one end, blender on the other; brow pencil at the top, brow gel at the bottom. We were doubtful that it could work as well as our standards, but trust us, these compact products are lifesavers. Stow a set in your gym bag or car.

Pro tip: If you’re not one for a full face of makeup, just stick to our cover-and-brighten philosophy: Grab the concealer crayon, blush stick and lip crayon to hide those tired eyes and add some color. We love the natural glow of the Bora Bora Coral.

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9. An easy-to-tote water bottle: Lifefactory Glass Water Bottle

You hear it every time you head to the OB: It’s especially important to stay hydrated when pregnant. Ideally, you should also stay away from plastic water bottles, which can leach the harmful chemical BPA over time. Lifefactory’s Glass Water Bottle has a flip cap and silicone sleeve to keep it safe even in a bumpy gym bag. We love the look, the feel and the throw-it-in-the-dishwasher convenience.

Pro tip: Still having trouble downing enough fluids? Add something tart to your water, like lemon wedges.

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10. A carry-it-all gym bag: Lassig Green Label Neckline Bag

The idea of spending money on a dedicated gym bag when you’re shelling out for baby goods doesn’t exactly make sense. That’s why we love Lassig’s roomy and stylish Green Label Neckline Bag. You can easily slip in your gym ensemble, use all the interior pockets to stash makeup, dirty clothes, etc., and take advantage of the roomy exterior pockets for magazines, water bottles and anything else that keeps you motivated. Later, the bag can easily stash mom essentials like diapers and wipes. You’d never guess from this bag’s soft feel and luxe look (we love the sophisticated Black Melange), that the ecofriendly fabric is made from recycled PET bottles!

Pro tip: Need something a little bigger? We love Lululemon’s Carry the Day bag, especially with its easy-to-clean fabric for all those gym and baby messes.

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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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There are few kids television shows as successful as PAW Patrol. The Spin Masters series has spawned countless toys and clothing deals, a live show and now, a movie.

That's right mama, PAW Patrol is coming to the big screen in 2021.

The big-screen version of PAW Patrol will be made with Nickelodeon Movies and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

"We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and Nickelodeon to bring the PAW Patrol franchise, and the characters that children love, to the big screen," Spin Master Entertainment's Executive Vice President, Jennifer Dodge, announced Friday.

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"This first foray into the arena of feature film marks a significant strategic expansion for Spin Master Entertainment and our properties. This demonstrates our commitment to harnessing our own internal entertainment production teams to develop and deliver IP in a motion picture format and allows us to connect our characters to fans through shared theatrical experiences," Dodge says.

No word on the plot yet, but we're gonna bet there's a problem, 'round Aventure Bay, and Ryder and his team of pups will come and save the day.

We cannot even imagine how excited little PAW Patrol fans will be when this hits theatres in 2021. It's still too early to buy advance tickets but we would if we could!

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In the middle of that postpartum daze, the sleepless nights, the recovery, the adjustment to a new schedule and learning the cues of a new baby, there are those moments when a new mom might think, I don't know how long I can do this.

Fortunately, right around that time, newborns smile their first real smile.

For many mothers, the experience is heart-melting and soul-lifting. It's a crumb of sustenance to help make it through the next challenges, whether that's sleep training, baby's first cold, or teething. Each time that baby smiles, the mother remembers, I can do this, and it's worth it.

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Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT a NYC-based psychotherapist and author of Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom, says she sees this in her clinical practice.

"One mother I worked with recounted her experience of her baby's first smile. At eight weeks postpartum, exhausted and overwhelmed, she remembered her baby smiling broadly at her just before a nighttime feeding," Kurtz says. "In that moment, she was overcome by tremendous joy and relief, and felt, for the first time, a real connection to her son."

So what is it about a baby's smile that can affect a mother so deeply? Can it all be attributed to those new-mom hormones? Perhaps it stems from the survival instincts that connect an infant with its mother, or the infant learning social cues. Or is there something more going on inside our brains?

In 2008, scientists in Houston, TX published their research on the topic. Their study, "What's in a Smile? Maternal Brain Responses to Infant Facial Cues", takes data from the MRI images of 26 women as they observed images of infants smiling, crying, or with a neutral expression.

The images included the mother's own infant alternated with an unknown infant of similar ethnicity and in similar clothing and position. In each image, the baby displayed a different emotion through one of three facial expressions; happy, neutral, or sad. Researchers monitored the change in the mothers' brain activity through the transitions in images from own-infant to unknown-infant, and from happy to neutral to sad and vice versa.

The results?

"When first-time mothers see their own baby's face, an extensive brain network appears to be activated, wherein affective and cognitive information may be integrated and directed toward motor/behavioral outputs," wrote the study's authors. Seeing her infant smile or cry prompts the areas of the brain that would instigate a mother to act, whether it be to comfort, care for, or caress and play with the baby.

In addition, the authors found that reward-related brain regions are activated specifically in response to happy, but not sad, baby faces. The areas of the brain that lit up in their study are the same areas that release dopamine, the "pleasure chemical." For context, other activities that elicit dopamine surges include eating chocolate, having sex, or doing drugs. So in other words, a baby's smile may be as powerful as those other feel-good experiences.

And this gooey feeling moms may get from seeing their babies smile isn't just a recreational high—it serves a purpose.

This reward system (aka dopaminergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine system) exists to motivate the mother to forge a positive connection with the baby, according to Aurélie Athan, PhD, director of the Reproductive & Maternal Psychology Laboratory (a laboratory that created the first graduate courses of their kind in these subjects).

These networks also promote a mother's ability to share her emotional state with her child, which is the root of empathy. "A mother cries when baby cries, smiles when baby smiles," Athan says.

While there's a physiological explanation underlying that warm-and-fuzzy sensation elicited by a smile, there may be other factors at play too, Kurtz says.

"In my clinical practice, I often observe a stunning exchange between a mother and her baby when the latter smiles at her. A mother who is otherwise engaged in conversation with me may be, for that moment, entirely redirected to focus on her little one," Kurtz says. "This kind of attention-capturing on the part of the baby can enable and cultivate maternal attunement—a mother's ability to more deeply connect with her infant. The quality of attunement in early childhood often sets the stage for one's relationship patterns in the future."

Whether a physiological response, a neural activation, simple instinct, or the tightening of emotional connection, the feeling generated by babies' smiles is a buoy in the choppy ocean of new parenthood.

And while the first smile may be the most magical by virtue of its surprise and the necessity of that emotional lift, the fuzzy feeling can continue well into that baby's childhood and beyond. It keeps telling parents, you've got this!

[This was originally published on Apparently]

Life

Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

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Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life
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