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Coronavirus: What pregnant and breastfeeding moms need to know

We've answered some of your top questions.

Coronavirus: What pregnant and breastfeeding moms need to know

If you're pregnant or nursing a newborn right now you are likely extra worried about viruses. We want to protect ourselves and our babies during these vulnerable times in our lives and the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus understandably has many new and expecting parents on edge.

We understand that there is a lot of information to take in right now, mama. You've got a lot on your plate and it isn't fair that this is getting thrown at you, too. But please don't let headlines about the pandemic steal your joy. If you are feeling like COVID-19 is making you anxious, please speak to your health care provider and people in your support system.

If you feel like it would be helpful to know more about how the virus can impact pregnancy and nursing, read on.

Are pregnant people at higher risk for Coronavirus?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) previously stated that "based on available information, pregnant people seem to have the same risk as adults who are not pregnant" but in late June the CDC updated its stance, explaining that "pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people."

According to a new report by the CDC, "pregnant women were significantly more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit, and receive mechanical ventilation than nonpregnant women." The report also shows that Black and Hispanic mothers are disproportionately at risk for COVID-19 infections.

That seems confusing, but it's a reflection of systemic racism in the health care system and the evolving science around this disease. It should be noted that the CDC has not found pregnant women to be more at risk of death due to COVID-19.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), "very little is known about COVID-19, particularly related to its effect on pregnant women and infants" and that "ACOG is aware of the CDC's update and continues to update its practices during the "rapidly evolving" pandemic.

The CDC is not trying to scare pregnant women, it just wants people to have the facts they need to weigh risks when they need to.

"Understanding who is most at risk for severe illness helps people make the best decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield explained. "While we are all at risk for COVID-19, we need to be aware of who is susceptible to severe complications so that we take appropriate measures to protect their health and well-being."

"Pregnant women should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection like washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick," the CDC notes on its website.

The good news is you are probably already doing that, and the good news doesn't end there.


If a pregnant person gets COVID-19 does the baby get it, too?

A recent study, published in The Lancet, examined the health of nine babies born to moms during a COVID-19 infection. All of the babies had good Apgar scores, scoring in the 8-9 range at the one minute mark and getting a 9-10 by 5 minutes. Additional research published in JAMA examined 89 babies between 1 month and 11 months old who did get COVID-19 (from living with an adult who had it). Of those babies 4 got a fever, 2 had respiratory symptoms and 1 had no symptoms at all. None of the 9 babies needed intensive care or ventilation because none of them had severe symptoms.

Since that study there have been rare cases in the United States where babies have needed ventilation and very few infant fatalities due to COVID-19.

If I get coronavirus how will I protect my baby?

So far there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through breastmilk, the CDC notes. Forms of antibodies that protect against coronaviruses have been found in breastmilk samples though, which is good news. That means mothers' bodies are making antibodies and passing those (but not the virus) on to their infants.

If a mother does get COVID-19 they can follow the CDC's Interim Guidance on Breastfeeding for a Mother Confirmed or Under Investigation for COVID-19.

It states, in part: A mother "should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast. If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant."

As ACOG notes, the primary concern is not whether the virus can be transmitted through breastmilk, but rather whether an infected mother can transmit the virus through respiratory droplets during the period of breastfeeding."

The bottom line about COVID-19, pregnancy + breastfeeding:

COVID-19 is absolutely worth taking precautions for, and while this is certainly a stressful time too much stress isn't good for anyone. If you feel like the worry is impacting your pregnancy, call your health care provider and if you are worried about symptoms you think may be COVID-19, do the same.

Experts suggest not going to the emergency room without calling ahead, so call your OB-GYN or midwife before going to any ER or clinic where sick people may be present.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The CDC recommends calling your "healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19."

Recommendations may change, so stay in contact with health authorities if you have questions regarding this virus.

[This article was originally posted March 2, 2020. It has been updated.]

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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