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Measles outbreak: 6 things every parent must know + do

Every parent wants their child to be in the best health they can be, so headlines about infectious diseases can understandably make moms and dads a little nervous.

In recent days there has been a lot of news coverage about measles, a disease declared eliminated from America in 2000. It's true that there is an outbreak of measles in the Pacific Northwest right now, but there's a lot to unpack behind the headlines and parents shouldn't panic.

Here are six things you need to know:

1. There are outbreaks, but not a national one

There is no national outbreak of measles in the United States right now, but there are outbreaks on both the east and west coasts. New York state's been dealing with an outbreak (167 recorded cases since September ), and there is also an outbreak in Clark County, Washington, near the Oregon border.

In Clark County, public health officials have "identified 51 confirmed cases and 13 suspect cases"of measles since January 1, and 36 of the sick people are kids under 10. According to officials, 44 of the sick people were confirmed as unvaccinated. The vaccination history of 6 individuals hasn't been verified, and one had one dose of the MMR (measles, mumps, & rubella) vaccine.

Additionally, one case was also confirmed in neighbouring King County. In this case it was an adult man who had travelled to the Vancouver, Washington area during this outbreak.

This is certainly cause for concern for public health officials, but it also isn't an unprecedented explosion of infected people.

According to the CDC, last year 349 people got measles in 26 states and the District of Columbia. "This is the second-greatest number of annual cases reported since measles was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000", the CDC notes.

In 2017, 118 individuals from 15 states got measles. In 2016 it was 86 people, and in 2015 it was 188. The greatest number of cases since measles was eliminated from America happened in 2014, when 667 people from 27 states caught it.

2. Eliminated doesn't mean immune 

In 2000, measles were declared eliminated from America, "thanks to a highly effective vaccination program in the United States," according to the CDC.

To be considered eliminated, there needs to be "the absence of continuous disease transmission for 12 months or more in a specific geographic area".

Measles is no longer the constant threat that it was in the 1960s, when millions of people got measles each year and hundreds died, but while the disease has been eliminated in America, travelers bring it into the United States from countries that are still dealing with continuous transmission.

Measles is super contagious and can live for up two hours on surfaces, so if an infected person hangs out in an airport or another public place, unvaccinated individuals in the same space are likely to contract the illness.

3. Vaccination is recommended before travel

That is why the CDC recommends families get vaccinated against measles before doing any international travel.

Babies between 6 and 11 months old can get one dose of the vaccine if their family will be traveling. Breastfeeding moms can be vaccinated against measles, but pregnant women can't. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated before trying to get pregnant.

Kids over a year old who are going to be traveling internationally should get vaccinated, say the CDC and the World Health Organization.

4 . Vaccination is recommended even if you don't travel

Even if you're not planning on traveling any time soon, you never know when someone who has traveled might walk into your local shopping centre, airport or school and expose your community to measles.

That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization are urging parents to consider vaccinating kids. The WHO recently declared vaccine hesitancy ("the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines") as a threat to global health.

The 1998 research of former doctor Andrew Wakefield linking vaccines to Autism is often cited as the epicentre of vaccine hesitancy but has been debunked repeatedly.

Still, many parents just aren't sure if they want to vaccinate. It's totally normal to want to make sure that a vaccine is safe for your child, and to know the risks and benefits. That's why experts suggest concerned parents talk to their pediatricians about vaccination.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "before the measles vaccine was available, every year an average of 450 people died from measles; most of them were healthy children."

The AAP states the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is very safe.

"Like any medicine, [the MMR vaccine] is capable of causing side effects but usually these are mild, such as pain or swelling at the injection site and a fever that lasts a day or two. The risk of the measles vaccine causing serious harm is extremely small. Getting the measles vaccine is much safer than getting the measles infection," the AAP notes.

5. Some communities are more at risk for measles 

In Clark County the vaccination rate for measles is 84.5%, KATU News reports. According to infectious disease experts, that's just too low for so-called herd immunity to exist.

"To prevent outbreaks, we like to see immunization coverage rates above 90 per cent, and actually for measles, above 95 percent to really be able to stop transmission," Julie Bettinger, a professor at the Vaccine Evaluation Center of the University of British Columbia told Global News.

As the Washington Post reports, experts are worried that dipping immunization rates in some communities (like Clark County) are creating geographic pockets where the population is particularly at risk for measles and other contagious diseases.

According to a 2018 study in the journal PLOS, of the 18 states that permit non-medical vaccine exemptions for school children due to philosophical beliefs, 12 have seen an increase in unvaccinated kindergarteners in recent years. The study's authors also highlighted 15 metropolitan "hot spots" where more than 5% of kindergarteners are not vaccinated. Portland, which is very close to Clark County, is one of them.


6. Don't rush to the doctor 

There are a lot of potential exposure sites related to the Clark County outbreak, mostly in Portland and Vancouver.

According to the CDC, measles typically begins with a cough, high fever, runny nose and red eyes, and a quarter of the people who get it need to be hospitalized.

If your family has been exposed to measles, don't rush to your doctor's office—call first so that your doctor can make special arrangements for you to be evaluated without spreading measles in the waiting room. Your doctor might be able to tell you over the phone whether your family is likely to be "immune to measles based on your vaccination record, age, or laboratory evidence," notes the CDC.

The bottom line is this: Parents shouldn't panic about measles outbreaks, but the WHO and the AAP do want to see more kids protected through vaccination.

[A previous version of this post was published August 21, 2018. The story has been updated to reflect current measles statistics for January and February 2019.]

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

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2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

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3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

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4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

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5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

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With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

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


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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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