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What does it mean for babies to be born in the Year of the Dog?

According to some, you can tell a lot about your child by their astrological sign. Did you give birth to an Aquarius? Expect someone innovative and rebellious. A Virgo? Then expect someone logical, loyal and hard-working.

The same goes for the Chinese astrology. Under the Chinese zodiac, which follows a 12-year cycle, the year your child is born can determine their personality, their future success and how they’ll get along with others.

This year, the Chinese New Year happens on Friday, Feb. 16, and will mark the beginning of the Year of the Dog, which ends on Feb. 4, 2019. If you’re expecting a little bundle of joy this year, then expect to have a lovable and loyal child on your hands.

What does it mean for kids born in the Year of the Dog?

Their personality

Generally, people born in the Year of the Dog are considered to be loyal, patient and reliable—just like man’s best friend. Dog children are also cheerful, idealistic, honest, determined, supportive and have a strong sense of duty, according to China Highlights.

But this year is also an earth year, according to the Chinese solar calendar, which means babies born in 2018 will also have characteristics related to the earth element. Those personality traits include being communicative, serious, independent, resourceful and having a strong work ethic. (On the downside, they can be stubborn, cynical, prone to worry and have short tempers.)

“The Yang Earth Dog defining this year brings the image of a strong mountain,” says Laurent Langlais, a French consultant based in London who specializes in Chinese astrology and Feng Shui. “This ‘rocky nature’ represents great resilience and determination.”

Their time in school

Kids born in the Year of the Dog will thrive in school. Dog children are intelligent, determined, social and dedicated to learning. They will complete their assignments on time—every time—and triple check that every answer is correct. A child born in a Dog year also pays great attention to detail and will be able to absorb lessons well.

“They might later on benefit from a schooling system that encourage manual activities and do not judge children, and rather let them evolve, as they want,” Langlais tells Motherly.

But that doesn’t mean they will accept everything they are told; they are committed to truth, which means they will challenge anything they find to be inaccurate or morally wrong.

Their future careers

A Dog child is loyal, justice-oriented and have a strong sense of duty. They make valuable employees who aren’t afraid to take on challenging tasks head-on. Careers that put them in service of others are most suitable for kids born in the Year of the Dog. Think police officer, professor, politician, nurse, judge, lawyer, counselor or scientist.

Langlais tells Motherly that, because the Year of the Dog brings “a very strong earth element,” babies born during this year may also thrive in careers that have “to do with ‘digging the past,’” such as archaeology and museology. “The connection with the earth also means that they could be interested in landscaping, gardening, as well as farming,” he says.

Making friends

Dog children are likable, which means they get along with pretty much everyone. “Those babies will later on make solid friends and people who always watch one’s back,” Langlais tells Motherly.

But they are most compatible with people born in the Year of the Tiger, Rabbit or Horse, according to China Highlights. That’s because they share similar personality traits, such as being sensitive and compassionate.

Conversely, a Dog child will have a tougher time relating to people born in the Year of the Dragon, Goat or Rooster. They tend to be more creative, laid-back, sometimes overconfident and prone to procrastination compared to the hardworking and practical Dog child.

So how should you parent the Dog Child?

Nurture their inner leader

Kids born in the Year of the Dog tend to be introverts who are reluctant to take the reins. But, deep inside, Dog children have a strong moral compass that gives them the ability to become effective and fair leaders. Encourage leadership skills by trusting them with more responsibility, offering them choices and not orders, and taking their advice on things that affect them, such as when you create a bedtime ritual.

“What parents must understand about their babies born during the Dog year is that they have their own pace,” Langlais tells Motherly. “They are not kids whom you can force to do anything: they are too stubborn for this. So you must let them understand and experience things under their own terms.”

Encourage their free spirit

Dog children are strong-willed, stubborn and hardworking. They may become so focused on a task—like building that tower out of blocks—that they forget to have fun. Help them loosen up by teaching them to never sweat the small stuff. Let them know that it’s OK to make mistakes and that change is normal. You will help your Dog child to learn to be less self-critical.

Earth Dogs are fearless, lovable, friendly and outspoken. Parents lucky enough to have a baby born in the Year of the Dog will be in for a real treat.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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Neve Campbell recently went from a mama of one to two when she and her husband, JJ Feild, adopted a baby son they named Raynor.

Raynor is a super unique baby name. While Neve's son shares his name with a garage door manufacturing company and a character from the Starcraft video game, he probably won't share it with anyone in his future elementary school.

So why did Campbell and Feild pick a name that's literally off the Social Security Administration's baby name chart? Well, because his 6-year-old brother's name isn't very common either.

"Our son Caspian has a unique name, I like having a unique name," Campbell explained on a recent episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan. "So we weren't gonna call him Bob because you can't be Bob and Caspian."

Baby name experts agree with Campbell

Linda Rosenkrantz of Nameberry.com previously offered this advice to Motherly readers:

"If you already have children, consider how the new baby's name would blend with the others. I can't imagine Kendyl and Keeley with a brother named Ezekiel."

The Kendyl and Keely in Rosenkrantz's example are the daughters of country star Jason Aldean, whose wife Brittany was expecting this time last year (and is again now).

The Aldeans ended up choosing Memphis as the name for their now 7-month-old baby boy, and while it's not as matchy-matchy as Kendyl and Keely's are, it does seem to flow well alongside them.

The same can be said for Raynor and Caspian.

Campbell was totally right. 'Bob' just wouldn't have been a good fit.

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When model Mara Martin was one of 16 finalists selected to walk in the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swim Search show, she was thrilled to fulfill a lifelong dream. And when she woke up the day after the show to see that she and her baby daughter had made headlines around the world, she was thrilled all over again.

Martin breastfed her 5-month-old daughter Aria while walking in the runway, and the story spread quickly.

"It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least," Martin wrote in an Instagram post Monday. "I'm so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can't believe it is a headline is because it shouldn't be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that."

SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day says the breastfeeding moment wasn't planned in advance, but it worked out wonderfully. Day was speaking with the models backstage when she noticed Aria was peacefully nursing away. Having breastfed her own two children, Day recognized this as a powerful moment in the making, according to SI Swimsuit.

"I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse. She said 'Oh my gosh, yes! Really? Are you sure?', and I said absolutely! I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are," Day explained.

Martin hopes that her moment in the spotlight can help other mamas feel comfortable nursing when and where they feel like it, but she doesn't want to overshadow some of the other women who took part in the show.

"One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country," she wrote. "One woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!"

And thanks to Martin's powerful motherhood moment, now, people are.

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Usually when celebrities post swimsuit photos on Instagram they don't exactly look like your average beach-going mom, but former Bachelorette (and mom of two) Ali Fedotowsky posted a series of bikini photos on Monday that are both beautiful and relatable.

"This might be my most vulnerable post on Instagram ever," she wrote in the caption for the photos which show a postpartum belly that looks like a real postpartum belly.

"At the end of the day, I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky (who just gave birth to her second child in May) wrote.

In the first photo of the series she's wearing a sarong around her stomach, but in the second and third photos Fedotowsky reveals the kind of stomach many mamas sport: It's not perfectly taut, she's not showing off any abs, but it is definity beautiful.

"If you swipe to see the second photo in this post, you see that my body has changed. My skin around my stomach is very loose and stretched out, I'm 15lbs heavier than I used to be, and my cup size has grown quite significantly," Fedotowsky writes.

The photos are a sponsored post for Lilly and Lime Swimwear (a line made for women with larger busts) but that doesn't mean it wasn't brave. In fact, the fact that it's an ad makes it even more amazing because research shows that when advertising only shows us bodies that don't look like our own, women become "generally more dissatisfied with their body and appearance".

Ali Fedotowsky

On her blog Fedotowsky notes that a lot of comments on her previous Instagram posts have been followers remarking how slim she looks, or how much they wish they looked like she does postpartum. By dropping that sarong and showing her tummy Fedotowsky is showing other mothers that there is nothing wrong with their own.

"While I appreciate the positive comments, you guys are always so good to me, I keep trying to explain that I'm just good at picking out clothes that flatter my body and hide my tummy," she wrote on her blog.

"I bounced back pretty quickly after I gave birth to Molly. But things are different this time and I'm OK with that. I'm learning to love my body and embrace how it's changed. I hope I get back to my pre-pregnancy shape one day, but that may never happen. And if it doesn't, that's OK."

Ali Fedotowsky

It is okay, because our bodies are more than our swimsuit selfies. They the vessels that carry us through life and carry our children and provide a safe, warm place for those children feel love.

Loose skin is a beautiful thing.

Thanks for keeping it real, Ali.

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