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Over 780 million people lack access to clean water. Every year, 6 to 8 million people die from water-related diseases.

Even here in America, where nearly all homes have adequate plumbing, drought and chemical pollution can still compromise access to clean water.

Our children’s future depends upon clean, fresh water. Yet water is a precious and ultra-limited resource. 

We recently partnered with Clear Water Filtration to highlight ways that families can conserve water, reduce waste, and enjoy better water in the home. These tips include how to:

  1. Waste less water.
  2. Break your dependence on bottled water.
  3. Learn about your home’s water supply.
  4. Improve your home water.

1 | Waste less water at home.

Source: Fix.com

The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home.

Simply changing everyday behaviors can lead to water savings of 30.2 percent.

There are many steps we can all take to use less water. With the extreme drought in California, the Los Angeles Times put together this excellent list of 5 ways to save water in your house right now. Following these tips is the most efficient way to conserve water at home:

  • Rethink your toilet
  • Wash your clothes responsibly
  • Shorten the shower
  • Consider the sink
  • Do the dishes differently

Read the entire article here.

2 | As a family, pledge to quit drinking bottled water at home.

Plastic pollution

Bottled water is profoundly wasteful. It’s no cleaner or higher-quality than the water that comes out of the tap. (Indeed, most bottled water sold in the US is just tap water.)

More than 90 percent of US water systems meet all regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency. But the Food and Drug Administration regulates only 30 to 40 percent of the bottled water sold across state lines.

On average, tap water costs less than 1¢ per gallon. Bottled water costs between $1 – $8 per gallon.

Making and transporting the water bottles themselves is extremely wasteful. According to these bottled water facts,

  • Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. And that’s not even including the oil used for transportation.
  • Last year, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38.3
  • Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the US’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year
  • The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at US tap rates, equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.

It’s easy for most of us to quit using bottled water at home. If you don’t like the taste or smell of your home water, there are many simple ways to treat it. Faucet and carafe filters are a good place to start.

Consumer Reports gave the  $30 Clear20 carafe its highest rating. The $32 Brita’s pitcher filter was also rated highly. Over a couple of months, buying these is still far cheaper than drinking bottled water at home.

An even better bet is a built-in home filter from a company such as our partners Clear Water Filtration. More on that below.

3 | Become better educated about your home water supply.

First, understand the difference between working water and drinking water.

Working water is used for washing, bathing, and cleaning and is frequently treated with a water softener or filtration system. It makes up 99 percent of the water used in the home.

Drinking water is used for drinking and cooking, and is typically treated with a reverse osmosis system or water filter. It makes up a surprisingly one percent of the water used in the home.

Second, know where your water comes from.

Is it supplied by a municipality (city water), a community of wells, or a private well? 

Private well – Essentially, water that is in the ground is brought into your home and used for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing.If your home’s water is supplied by a private well, you are responsible for the water’s quality and water treatment.

Unless you install a water treatment system, nothing is between you and any water problems your well may have.

City water – America generally has excellent city water. This is true in municipalities big and small. (Without New York City’s tap water, we wouldn’t have its legendary pizza.)

However, city water (or water from a community water system) can still cause problems in your home. Tastes and odors from chlorine are the main complaint.  

Third, understand your home’s water system.

Many people aren’t familiar with the equipment inside their home that brings water to their tap.

If you’re on a well, know where the pump is that brings water into your home. Go to the basement and look at the equipment that filters your water.

Know how your home water is heated – including the make and model of your home water heater.

If you’re in a city, know where the pipes are that bring water into your building, townhouse or apartment.

4 | Improve Your Home’s Water

Common Water Complaints

Tastes and Odors  – These make drinking your water difficult and can affect the smell and tastes of food and drinks made with water. They can also make showering or bathing less than pleasant.

For city water, chlorine and chloramines are necessary for disinfecting water. However, they can also create an unpleasant taste and smell.

City water can also develop an algae smell and taste during hot weather months.

Chlorine and Chloramines can dry skin, hair, rubber seals and appliance parts. Staining of clothing, sinks, tubs and toilets, water-using appliances, and tableware can occur with city water.

Water treatment plants sometimes reduce the hardness of city water, but they don’t soften it completely.

Scale buildup – This is usually caused by hard water, can also happen. It’s unsightly, reduces the life and efficiency of fixtures, appliances and other items around your home.

Contaminants in Water –  These can be anything from bacteria and viruses to dissolved solids, even pharmaceuticals. These can affect the taste, smell and healthful benefits of drinking water.

Cloudy Water – These can be caused by dissolved solids, tannins, sand and other things that affect its clarity. Your water may just look unsightly, or it could clog or damage water-using appliances and fixtures.

Clear Water Filtration offers an interactive tool to find solutions for a  variety of residential water issues. Check it out here.

How To Check Your Tap Water Quality

It’s easy to learn about your water with an in-home water analysis. This is required to recommend the proper water treatment equipment and the right drinking water system for your home.

How water is used in the home often determines how the water is treated.

Whole house water treatment

Home water treatment happens in a few different ways. There are drinking water systems, water softening systems, water filtration systems, and disinfection systems.

Some homes simply need a reliable, efficient filter to make drinking water taste better. Others also may need a softening system or a disease-blocking disinfection system.

In Vermont and parts of New York, Clear Water Filtration can come to your home and perform a free water analysis. They can also suggest solutions for your home’s water issues.

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

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

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.


A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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