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The series is coming to an end but the names George R. R. Martin gave his characters will live on in the classrooms and on the playgrounds of America.

As we mentioned last week, Game of Thrones inspired baby names graced the birth certificates of thousands of babies born in the United States in 2028. It's no surprise that a popular show influenced parents, but what is surprising is that parents of girls are more likely to choose a GoT name.

When you take Jamie and Jon out of the equation (because they were always popular way before GoT) the most popular names inspired by the show belong to two strong women: Arya and the Kahlessi.

As NBC data journalist Joe Murphy first reported, Arya is the most popular Game of Thrones inspired name in America, belonging to 2545 girls in 2018. There were not nearly as many little babies named Daenarys, but her Dothraki title, Khaleesi, comes in second place with 560 baby girls taking that one. There are also 19 girls called Caleesi and 5 little Khaleesies who got an extra 'e'.

As the New York Times reports, as a name, 'Khaleesi' is more popular than other major pop-culture characters, like Hermoine or Katniss or Tris. Those names never made it into the Social Security Administrations top 1,000 baby names, but in 2017 Khaleesi was ranked 630th and in 2018 it was the 549th most popular baby girl name.

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That's hundreds of spots higher than the name Brittany (or Britney) or even some more modern, trendy names like Ensley. It's also way, way higher Sansa, which was only given to 29 girls in 2018.

Even abroad, Khaleesi is a Queen when it comes to baby names. According to the New York Times, it's on the rise in the UK and Scotland, where several parents have created hyphenated versions, including Khaleesi-Destiny, Khaleesi-Grace, and Khaleesi-Marie.

Tonight the on-screen Khaleesi will meet her fate, but no matter what happens to the Mother of Dragons, plenty of moms have ensured this pop culture icon will live on.

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Sometimes it can feel like toys are a mama's frenemy. While we love the idea of entertaining our children and want to give them items that make them happy, toys can end up taking the joy out of our own motherhood experience. For every child begging for another plastic figurine, there's a mama who spends her post-bedtime hours digging toys out from under the couch, dining room table and probably her own bed.

Like so many other moms, I've often found myself between this rock and hard place in parenting. I want to encourage toys that help with developmental milestones, but struggle to control the mess. Is there a middle ground between clutter and creative play?

Enter: Lovevery.

lovevery toys

Lovevery Play Kits are like the care packages you wish your child's grandparent would send every month. Expertly curated by child development specialists, each kit is crafted to encourage your child's current developmental milestones with beautiful toys and insightful activity ideas for parents. A flip book of how-tos and recommendations accompanies each box, giving parents not only tips for making the most of each developmental stage, but also explaining how the games and activities benefit those growing brains.

Even better, the toys are legitimately beautiful. Made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials materials and artfully designed, I even find myself less bothered when my toddler leaves hers strewn across the living room floor.

What I really love, though, is that the kits are about so much more than toys. Each box is like a springboard of imaginative, open-ended play that starts with the included playthings and expands into daily activities we can do during breakfast or while driving to and from lessons. For the first time, I feel like a company isn't just trying to sell me more toys―they're providing expert guidance on how to engage in educational play with my child. And with baby kits that range from age 0 to 12 months and toddler kits for ages 13 to 24 months, the kits are there for me during every major step of development I'll encounter as a new mama.

So maybe I'll never love toys―but I will always love spending time with my children. And with Lovevery's unique products, mixing those worlds has become child's play.


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

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Working a full day while pregnant can feel exhausting, particularly when you add a long commute to and from work to your day. And if recent research into pregnancy and commuting is any indication, employers may want to look twice at flexible and remote working situations if they want to attract and keep employees with growing families.

There are so many benefits to remote work for pretty much everyone, but there's a major benefit to pregnant employees. Cutting commutes can result in healthier pregnancies.

Now, don't be alarmed if you travel a short or moderate distance to work every day, but a new study, which appears in Economics & Human Biology, suggests that pregnant women who commute at least 50 miles are at greater risk of delivering low birth weight babies or experiencing restricted fetal growth.

This risk seems to increase for every additional 10 miles traveled, but due to the way the working world is currently structured, many mamas do have to commit to long commutes during pregnancy. Motherly co-founder Jill Koziol was one of them.

"I distinctly remember being pregnant with my first daughter and commuting two hours a day as a consultant in Washington, D.C. It was hard on my growing body, leading me to seek chiropractic care, and toward the end of my pregnancy, made me nervous to be so far from home and the hospital—but, that's the reality for many mamas," says Koziol.

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While a long commute lead Koziol to seek chiropractic care, this new research suggests these journeys to and from work can actually decrease a mother's odds of getting proper prenatal care—moms with long commutes appear less likely to visit a doctor for a first trimester checkup or even throughout their pregnancies, probably because they are just so crunched for time (and tired).

It's important to remember that a long commute certainly doesn't mean you'll run into pregnancy complications, that's just the trend researchers observed in this particular population of pregnant commuters from New Jersey in 2014 and 2015. The average commute was 64 miles, and the commuters spent an average of 78 minutes traveling to work.

While most pregnant women make between 10 and 15 medical visits through their pregnancies, the moms in this sample attended 11 visits on average, and 15% did not make it to a first-trimester appointment at all.

Long commutes impact prenatal care 

"The finding that low birth weight might be associated with a source of stress like long-distance commuting is somewhat expected, since chronic strain has been found to be linked to adverse birth outcomes," says Muzhe Yang, Associate Professor of Economics at Lehigh University and co-author of the study. "However, it was surprising to find an association with under-use of prenatal care among pregnant women commuting long-distance."

The idea that stress may be behind this link probably doesn't shock many people. After all, we've all heard that pregnant women should avoid stress whenever possible — just like we all know this isn't always an option. We live in a society where stress and burnout are huge concerns, and these findings may add another layer to the ongoing conversation about the importance of workplace flexibility.

Remote work could benefit pregnant employees and employers 

The ability to work remotely, either full or part-time, is majorly attractive to most employees — but for new and expectant moms, it can be imperative. Contending with a daily commute can just make it that much harder for a pregnant woman to carve out time for her own health. It can force a mother who is placed on bed rest to start her maternity leave well before she delivers. It can be a factor in a new mom choosing to leave her job altogether.

This is bad news for employers because retaining talented, skilled workers helps minimize the costs associated with employee turnover.

And yes, commuting can be bad for expecting mothers, making a stressful time that much more stressful, and potentially contributing to the outcomes as outlined in this study.

Of course, not every pregnant woman has the ability to work remotely, and these findings may not even refer to expectant moms who have shorter commutes. But for those of us who can essentially get our jobs done from anywhere, should remote work be an option? Some employers are saying yes.

Motherly is  on the cutting edge of an important trend 

Modern companies appear more and more tapped into the value of workplace flexibility—take Bumble, for example. Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd reportedly began rethinking her own company's policies during her own pregnancy.

Meanwhile, at Motherly, Koziol and her co-founder, Liz Tenety, have created a company that is 100% remote. "With a growing team of more than 30, we've found that we are on the cutting edge of an important trend for workplaces. Research shows that companies with a substantial remote workforce have a higher percentage of women in leadership roles, which amounts to roughly four times as many women in CEO/founding roles than S&P 500 office-based companies."

Remote work is good for Motherly's employees and its bottom line—and no one has to commute, pregnant or otherwise.

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Earlier this month country singer Granger Smith shared some unthinkably tragic news: His son, River Kelly Smith, had died at just 3 years old. Soon after we learned that the little boy had drowned.

Now, Smith and his family have opened up about their loss in an emotional YouTube video memorializing River and thanking medical staff for all the efforts made in his final hours.

In the video Smith and his wife, Amber, explained that, like Bode Miller's daughter, little River's drowning did happen in a home swimming pool. Smith says he and the kids were outside that day. The singer and his oldest, daughter London, age 7, were doing gymnastics. River and his 5-year-old brother Lincoln were having a water gun fight.

"I remember thinking, I was looking at London, as she was doing gymnastics and I thought, 'Soak up this moment because it's not going to last forever,'" Smith explains in the video. Soon, that moment turned to panic. "Somewhere between 30 seconds and three minutes, we don't know, Amber and I are inside our pool gate doing CPR on our son."

"We had an incredible boy for three years"

In the video, the Smiths explain that they "feel very blessed" to have had River in their lives for "just over a thousand days."

It is heartbreaking, but the Smiths say they don't want pity or to wallow in sorrow and are trying to cherish the moments that they did have with River and figure out where they will go from here.

"It has only been two weeks but it has been a journey," says Smith.

In an Instagram post, Smith explained why he and Amber are choosing to share the details of River's death publicly:

"I've been dark on social media, but I still have a full understanding of the responsibility placed upon me as a public figure. I can choose to snuff that influence, or instead use my platform (in relevancy big or small) towards what I believe is right. I believe I'm obligated on certain levels to include you guys in my current journey, as I've been involved either personally or musically in yours," the 39-year-old singer wrote of the tragedy he and his family have suffered.

The circumstances around River's death are all too common 

A new report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission asserts that child drownings are on the rise. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children aged 1 to 4. According to the report, fatal drownings spiked in 2016, with 389 reported deaths of children under 15 and 74% of these fatalities occurring in children under 5.

This news highlights the need for more awareness and vigilance. And by sharing this data—and some things parents should keep in mind as we head into the summer—the report (and the Smith's video) may save lives.

Fatal drownings commonly occur during the summer and at residential locations. This makes a lot of sense: It's easy to feel a false sense of security in your own home (or a close friend's home), but the absence of a qualified lifeguard could lead to some devastating scenarios. That's why the team behind this report is urging everyone to sign the Pool Safety Pledge—because by familiarizing yourself with the dangers and the best way to avert them, you could potentially save a child from this tragic fate.

Water safety for parents 

On top of learning how to keep your child safe yourself, you may also want to equip your little one with swimming skills. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a great time to start swimming lessons is earlier than you may think: The organization suggests that children as young as a year old can benefit from lessons.

The AAP also warns parents or guardians to always supervise children in pools, ensure an adult is within arm's reach of inexperienced swimmers, and consider avoiding things like inflatable floaties (which are not replacements for life jackets and may give parents a false sense of security). Parents who have pools in their homes should consider installing a fence of at least 4 feet around the pool, keeping rescue equipment close at hand, and have drains and suctions updated regularly. You can find a full list of tips from the AAP here.

The prospect of losing a child to drowning is harrowing, so it's of utmost importance that we all learn as much as we can about prevention as we head into the summer. We hope this report has the power to keep kids everywhere safe in the water.

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Who would have thought Target could get any better? Apparently the folks in charge of store design and policy. While moms in America continue to face pushback for simply breastfeeding their babies in public, Target has taken an amazing stance on the issue.

Through its policies and remodel plans that include dedicated nursing rooms, Target is sending an important message to mamas: Whether you want to nurse in full view of everyone in housewares or prefer to feed your baby in a private spot, Target's got your back.

"At Target, you are free to nurse wherever and whenever you like..." 

We love Target's nursing policy, which straight up states that moms rock (we do) and mamas can feed wherever they need to in the store.

"At Target, you are free to nurse wherever and whenever you like while you shop because we think #momsrock. But, if you would like a comfy (or more private) spot to nurse or change a diaper, please ask our Fitting Room Attendant about our Nursing Room!" reads the sign, which was posted in Target stores and shared online by a happy shopper.

Moms in the comments section of the Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook page are attesting to how Target lives into this policy, swapping stories about how supportive team members in red polos have been about infant feeding.

"I nursed in the outdoor furniture section, and had a couple staff members make sure I was comfortable," one mama wrote.

Making mamas a space, too. 

Target is obviously super supportive of moms nursing wherever they need to in the store, but not every mom is comfortable nursing in the outdoor furniture section or the food court. That's why Target included nursing rooms in store remodel plans. Comfy chairs and locking doors are exactly what mama needs sometimes.

The nursing rooms were originally added to about 40 remodeled stores, but moms loved them so much that Target decided to include that in every store remodeling plan.

Basically, no matter what kind of Target run you're doing—a mad dash to the Drive Up service, means you won't have to get out of your car (or unbuckle your sleeping baby) to pick up your online order, a hands-free walk-and-nurse with a baby in a wrap and a frap in your hand, or even one that includes a private nursing session, moms and babies are welcome at Target.

We love it and hope other businesses are taking notes!

[A version of this post was originally published November 16, 2017. It has been updated.]

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We're not only at the beginning of a new year, but the start of a new life for those due in 2019. If you're expecting a baby this year you've got plenty of celebrity company, mama.

Here are some fellow parents-to-be expecting in 2019:

Catherine and Sean Lowe are expecting baby no. 3! 🎉

She won season 17 of The Bachelor, and now Catherine Giudici (now Catherine Lowe) is entering a new season of life. Along with her Bachelor—turned—husband, Sean Lowe, Catherine is about to become a parent to three kids under four!

The couple welcomed their oldest, 3-year-old Samuel, in July 2016 and baby brother Isaiah followed in May 2018.

This week the Lowe's announced baby no.3 is on the way.

"The first two have been pretty cool, so why not a third?" Sean captioned an Instagram photo in which Catherine is holding her bump.

Catherine's caption was more concise. Under a different but similar pic posted to her own account, the proud mama left an emoji family and telling hashtag.

"👱🏻♂️👩🏻👦🏼👶🏻🥚 #PartyofFive" she wrote.

[A version of this post was originally published October 21, 2018. It has been updated. ]

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