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Facebook’s new Messenger Kids app aims to give moms peace of mind

Social media is not going away. It’s the way we communicate and it’s the way our kids communicate. So it makes sense that Facebook is rolling out a new app, Messenger Kids, that’s meant to facilitate safe video chats and messaging between kids, friends and family members—while keeping mom and dad in the loop from another device.


According to Facebook’s terms of service, kids under 13 aren’t allowed to have their own profiles. But the social media giant found a savvy way around that: Messenger Kids is a standalone app that can be loaded on a child’s device, but is controlled through a parent’s Facebook account. Basically, it’s an extension for mom or dad’s Facebook account, not an account for kids.

Although the parents can’t actually see the kids’ conversations, there are some vital safety protections. For one, the app gives parents control of a kid’s contact list so the minors can’t connect with somebody who’s not been approved by a parent. Messenger Kids users aren’t searchable, either.

According to TechCrunch, the Messenger Kids app also includes safety features that prevent kids from sharing sexually explicit or violent content. On top of that, Facebook has a dedicated support team to respond to flagged content in the program.

As for the fun part: Messenger Kids has a bunch of fun features, such as Snapchat-style mask filters and kid-friendly GIF libraries.

It was only launched on Monday, but the app is already facing criticism from some experts who warn too much social media and screen time isn’t good for kid’s development.

For some families though, the app is a welcome addition to their digital devices and a safer way for kids to experience social media without lying about their age when making a profile.

Right now Messenger Kids is only available in America and on iOS devices, but an Android version is expected soon.

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As if new mamas don't have a steep enough learning curve already, one event takes most of us off-guard: that first postpartum period. After what was probably a hiatus of a year or longer, the return of your menstrual cycle isn't just back to business as usual. In most cases, it's initially less predictable and stronger than when Aunt Flo used to come calling.

The good news? By preparing yourself for what is to come, they don't have to be so intimidating — especially if you also stock your drawer with THINX underwear, made specifically to absorb menstrual flow. Every pair of THINX undies is created with their signature 4-layer technology that is super-absorbent, moisture-wicking, odor-fighting, and leak-resistant. Translation? You never have to worry about leaks or stains, even when your period is a surprise.

Here's the DL on those first postpartum periods:

1. When your period will return varies from woman to woman

The biggest factor that affects your period's return is whether or not you are breastfeeding. "If a woman is not breastfeeding, then the first menses usually returns at six weeks postpartum to three months postpartum," says Elizabeth Sauter, MD, Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Among exclusively breastfeeding mamas, Sauter says it can be harder to predict when menstruation will return in full force: It's rare for your period to return until at least six months postpartum (at which point you've probably introduced some solid food to baby's diet), but it may not return at all until you are done breastfeeding a year or more postpartum.

Before you get back to it, whenever that is, it can help to add some new undies from THINX, to your dresser drawer. We especially love the chic and practical Hi-Waist undies for postpartum—or any—bodies.

2. Your first postpartum period will probably be heavier than ever

Whenever your period does return, it will likely be in full force as it's not only the shedding of your uterine lining, but also the shedding of any clots or blood from the delivery process. (And you thought you got past that during the initial round of postpartum bleeding!)

While this can be a less-than-pleasant experience, Sauter says that many women eventually enjoy less painful and intense periods as they get farther away from baby's birth.

Because you are probably already getting up enough during the night, waking up to change a pad or tampon probably isn't high on your list of things you want to do. We love (like, love) that the most absorbent THINX undies can hold up to two tampons' worth of blood.

3. Your menstrual cycle may not be as easy to track

Again, whether or not you are exclusively breastfeeding has an impact on how reliable your period will likely be for the first year or so. As Sauter explains, mothers who had regular periods before pregnancy and do no breastfeed often fall back into that rhythm within a few months of baby's arrival.

For breastfeeding mamas, even once your period returns, it may not come back in exactly 28 days (or whatever frequency you were used to). However, for some women, this is a silver-lining.

"Many mothers who had irregular menses prepregnancy in fact start more regular menses postpartum," says Sauter, adding the disclaimer this isn't always the case, especially for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.


Like everything motherhood, soon enough you will be right in the normal routine of life with a period again — only now, with period-proof underwear by THINX, you'll find it's easier than ever to take on your period with confidence.

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

It's a scene many moms are familiar with: Baby's pacifier drops to the floor so you take it to the sink, wipe it on your pants, or even pop it in your own mouth before giving it back to baby.

Perhaps that last option grosses you out, but cleaning a baby's pacifier with your own saliva may not be such a bad idea. According to a new study, the bacteria in a mother's mouth may actually help prevent allergies in young children.

New U.S. research being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), suggests that children of mothers who suck on their pacifiers to clean them have lower allergic responses than children whose mothers clean the soothers either by sterilization or hand washing.

Popping your child's dropped pacifier in your own mouth doesn't really clean it, but it can expose your child to whatever's in your mouth, and research suggests that exposure can strengthen immune systems.

"We found the children of mothers who sucked on the pacifier had lower IgE [immunoglubin E] levels," says Dr. Eliane Abou-Jaoude, the study's lead author and a fellow at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

The body produces the antibody, IgE, when the immune system overreacts to an allergen, which can then cause an allergic reaction. Higher IgE levels indicate a higher risk of having allergies and asthma, according to Abou-Jaoude.

The researchers interviewed 128 mothers of infants over the course of 18 months for the study. Of the 128 mothers participating in the research, 58% reported that their child currently used a pacifier. Within that group, 4% of respondents reported cleaning their child's pacifier by sterilizing it, while 72% said they hand washed it, and 12% reported they sucked on it.

Only nine babies in the study had mothers who reported they sucked their children's binkies clean. But compared with the other children, those nine showed significantly lower levels of IgE, starting at around 10 months old. No fathers were included in the research.

The study has yet to be peer-reviewed and officially published, and its small sample size and short length of 18 months make it difficult to draw too many conclusions about long-term health outcomes, the researchers note. Other factors in addition to mom's saliva could have developed the children's immune systems.

"What's very, very important to realize is that this was not a cause and effect study, Abo-Jaoude tells CNN, noting that more research is needed to examine the possible correlation. "This is not telling you, if you suck on your child's pacifier, they will not develop allergies."

Still, the study does suggest few risks to cleaning a baby's pacifier with your own mouth, and the findings contribute to a growing body of research that indicates early exposure of microbes in babies may prevent allergies in children.

"The idea is that the microbes you're exposed to in infancy can affect your immune system's development later in life," Abou-Jaoude says.

A 2014 study conducted by scientists at the John Hopkins Children's Center showed a link between early exposure to bacteria and a lower likelihood of developing allergies and asthma. Infants in the study who were exposed to pet and rodent dander, as well as a wide variety of household bacteria, in the first year of life appeared less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma.

The study also found the earlier the exposure the better — children who encountered such substances before their first birthday seemed to benefit rather than suffer from that exposure, while the same benefits were not seen if the child's first encounter with these substances occurred after age one.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggests that early exposure to bacteria and certain allergens may have a protective effect by shaping children's immune systems — findings that are consistent with the so-called hygiene hypothesis, which states that children who grow up in very sterile environments may develop hypersensitive immune systems that make them prone to allergies.

Additional 2017 research from an Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA) study showed a lower risk of asthma at age seven for children in homes with higher levels of cat, mouse and cockroach allergens in the first three years of life. Previous research has also shown that children who grow up on farms, and thus have regular exposure to the microorganisms present in farm soil, also have lower allergy and asthma rates.

Despite the body of research, no one can say for certain whether pet dander or sucking on binkies will ensure your child an asthma and allergy-free future, but early exposure to household bacteria may help more than hurt.

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When Gabrielle Union surprised the world with a birth announcement this month after a long struggle with infertility, we were thrilled.

In an Instagram post announcing the birth of her child, Union shared how she and her husband Dwyane Wade welcomed their new baby girl thanks to a surrogate, but there was one detail missing: The baby girl's name!

This week, proud dad Wade (who is currently on paternity leave from the NBA) showed off his baby girl's name, as it is tattooed on his shoulders.

Kaavia James Union Wade is clearly very loved, and we love the story behind her unique name.

When a fan asked Union about the name on Instagram she explained how her daughter's middle name, James, is a family throwback.

"We wanted my family represented in her name," Union wrote. "My godfather is my uncle James Glass. She is named after him.. and then Union...thats... ya know...me."

The origins and meaning of the name Kaavia aren't clear, but a user suggestion on Names.org indicates the name may be Sanskrit in origin and could mean "work of art."

We don't know how accurate that name meaning is, but we do know that Kaavia is going to grow up with lots of love, and her traditionally male middle name is a good fit in a house full of boys. This little girl has four big brothers—Wade's sons 4-year-old Xavier, 11-year-old Zion, 16-year-old Zaire as well as Wade's 17-year-old nephew Dahveon, who has lived with Wade and Union for years.

Little Kaavia has a lot of people who love her, and we just love her name.

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Just weeks after announcing her pregnancy and letting the world know that's she's determined to keep working while she's expecting, Amy Schumer dropped some bad news Thursday.

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, noting that she's had to cancel upcoming shows in Texas due to the condition.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum (also known as HG) is a rare but serious pregnancy complication, and it's 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.


It looks like Schumer is getting the medical help she obviously needs. In her Instagram post she wrote, "the doctors and nurses taking great care of me and Tati."

She seems to be getting IV fluids (she's probably super dehydrated) and hopefully her team can find a way to get her some relief with Zofran or another form of therapy.

Schumer says she feels very lucky to be pregnant, but HG can make a mama feel downright unlucky. As Schumer notes in her post, most mamas feel better in their second trimester, but HG can make it feel even worse than the first. "I've been even more ill this trimester," she says.

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!

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We're entering the holiday season, which is also, unfortunately, the season of viruses.

You may be hearing more about a certain virus, RSV, thanks in part to celebrity mama Vanessa Lachey, who has been speaking out about how the virus took her by surprise when it infected her son, Phoenix, who was born prematurely. Lachey didn't know that his prematurity put Phoenix at an increased risk for the illness.

"So when he was hospitalized for six days for severe RSV disease, I was shocked," she recently wrote on Instagram (in a post sponsored by AstraZeneca). "I wish I had known more about RSV before this traumatic experience."

When Lachey's son got sick during a family vacation, she wasn't informed about RSV, so she didn't expect it. "I actually took Phoenix to the doctor multiple times, and they just brushed it off as a flu-like virus," Lachey told Health. "I knew when his coughing continued, there was wheezing, his temperature was over 100 for a long period of time, and he had bluish nails and lips that something was wrong."

Here are 11 things parents need to know about RSV:

1. RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus

In healthy adults and older kids it usually presents as the common cold. Symptoms include a runny nose, dry cough, low-grade fever, sore throat and mild headache.

Most healthy people are over it in about two weeks, but it can have serious health implications for some infants, especially those who are premature or have other health conditions.

2.  We're in the middle of RSV season

The virus is common in late fall through spring. According to the CDC, in recent years RSV season has started in mid-September to mid-November, with the season peaking in late December to mid-February, and tapering off in the spring (except in Florida, which has an earlier RSV season onset and longer duration than most states).

3. It's super common

According to the Mayo Clinic, most kids will have been infected with RSV by age two. That doesn't mean it's not serious though. It can just be like a cold, but the CDC notes RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger under 12 months old, and it results in 2.1 million outpatient visits in kids under five every year.

4. Some babies require hospitalization

More than 57,000 kids under five require hospitalization due to RSV each year. Bronchiolitis and pneumonia can of course put a child in the hospital, but RSV doesn't have to cause either of those for an infant to require round the clock medical treatment. Sometimes a severe RSV infection without those complications means a baby will require hospitalization so that their breathing can be monitored and IV fluids can be administered.

5. A baby's chest muscles and skin pulling inward is a sign of severe RSV

If you notice your baby's skin and chest are pulling in with every breath they take you should seek medical attention right away. Short, shallow or rapid breathing, coughing, lethargy and not eating as they usually do are also red flags for parents during RSV season.

6. There is no medication for RSV

If your baby is diagnosed with RSV there is unfortunately no medication that can immediately cure them of the infection. Time is the treatment in most cases.

In-hospital treatment can see children receive Intravenous (IV) fluids, humidified oxygen or mechanical ventilation, but treatment at home is often supportive care, so basically keeping them comfortable and full of fluids until the virus is gone.

7. There is no vaccine 

Scientists are working toward developing a vaccine for RSV, but right now, no vaccine for the illness is licensed anywhere in the world.

8. There is a preventative medication for those at the highest risk

Babies who were born prematurely and those who are immunocompromised or have heart defects or other health conditions are sometimes given a series of shots of a drug called palivizumab (also known as synagis) during RSV season. The drug is expensive, and only recommended for when babies meet certain high-risk criteria.

9. RSV is unfortunately pretty contagious

RSV is really contagious, and because it feels like a common cold in healthy adults, a lot of people don't self-isolate when they have it. A child with RSV might be contagious for up to four weeks, even after they stop showing symptoms.

If you have multiple children and one has been sick, it's a good idea to clean shared toys and have them sleep in separate rooms if possible.

10. Prevention is key

If more people were able to stay home when they are sick, RSV transmission could be lowered. If you're sick and you can take time off, do it. It will help you recover faster and prevent the possible spread of RSV to other families.

11. Protecting your family isn't bad manners

People love to hug and kiss babies, but when somebody is sick, it's okay to say "no thanks" to affection for your little one.

It can be tricky to navigate in public when you're trying to protect your baby and everyone in line at the grocery store wants to squish their cheeks, so some parents are putting it in writing—adding little signs to their carts, carseats, onesies and strollers that let strangers know it's not okay to touch the little one.

Bottom line: RSV can be serious, and as we head into the holidays it's important to remember that it's okay to say no to an invitation if you're not feeling well, or to reschedule if a prospective guest tells you they've got a little cold. Sometimes, little colds can turn into big problems for little babies, but if we all work together we can make them safer during RSV season.

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