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More and more, daycares and childcare facilities are installing CCTV cameras and investing in software that allows parents to log in and watch their little one in real time. Some parents love this new technology and enjoy being able to check in on their child during the school day, but others worry that these surveillance systems may have negative implications.


As a former teacher, I have some reservations about the idea of parents being able to watch a class. I worry about it violating the teacher’s privacy. There are lots of things that go on in a classroom that don’t involve children at all.

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Overworked teachers will often eat, mark books and papers, prepare for classes, and even change their clothes in an empty classroom. While a classroom is certainly a shared space, it’s also the place where a teacher spends the majority of the day and should therefore offer some measure of privacy.

Another concern is the potential use of the recorded images. The companies that produce this technology are quick to point out security features and password protections, but passwords can be shared, computer screens can be left open, and screenshots can be taken and disseminated elsewhere. This technology could lead to a situation where anything that now happens in that class is potentially available to view in the public sphere.

Some may think this is acceptable and even preferable. Why shouldn’t classrooms be open? What do teachers have to hide? If only exceptional levels of teaching and learning are taking place, why does it matter if they are open for observation?

Here are some reasons it does matter. First, exceptional levels of teaching and learning are not happening every minute of every day. Even award-winning teachers have off days.

Second, I’ve witnessed a variety of occurrences in classrooms that would benefit from the relative privacy of a closed door: For instance, a teacher suffering from a diabetic seizure, an out-of-control child punching another student, an older student losing control of his bowels, small children changing their clothes for a school play, a student disclosing abuse, or a teacher finding out about a death in her family.

It’s easy to see how any of these scenarios would be problematic if filmed and viewed publicly.

Whenever a teacher is observed by either a colleague, administrator, or by a group of parents during a school open day, it inherently changes the nature of their lesson. They are bound to experience some anxiety, as anyone would when being monitored. More importantly, it interferes with the normal camaraderie between teacher and students.

Teachers, of course, expect regular observations and appraisals by administrators and use feedback to improve their teaching practice. However, constant monitoring can be draining. Working to appear professional, teachers may seem stiff in comparison to their normal classroom persona and, in doing so, damage the rapport with their class.

Teaching is a performance. We become attuned to our unique and familiar audience. Throwing in a constant unseen viewer changes the dynamic of that performance.

Educators might also feel self-conscious about some of the more animated yet effective parts of their job. Teachers routinely sing, dance, make animal noises, pull faces, and put on character voices – all of which may suddenly feel embarrassing in front of an adult or unknown audience.

Like it or not, every teacher also usually has one parent that acts as a thorn in their side. These surveillance systems may encourage difficult parents to micro-manage every aspect of a teacher’s performance, which goes a long way to stifling a teacher’s overall effectiveness.

Although these issues concerning teacher’s privacy and dignity are close to my heart as a former educator, the protection and welfare of children is even more important to me. Here, too, the use of surveillance in the daycare and school classroom is deeply troubling.

In group settings, people very quickly fall into assigned roles. There’s the quiet and thoughtful ones, the leaders, the motivators, the organizers, and unfortunately, there are the maligned, the blamed, and the ‘naughty’ ones.

Children (no doubt motivated by what they see from parents and teachers) quickly work out which of their classmates are behaving and which are not and often gleefully relay this information to their parents. For a poor child to be labeled as a “problem” is damaging enough, but imagine if that child knew that groups of parents were watching his every transgression, or if every time he made a mistake there was an audience ready to criticize.

Children can become typecast in behavior roles, which can be almost impossible to escape. This reputation follows them from class to class, from grade to grade.

The act of observing bad behavior also becomes a shaming mechanism. This can lead parents to think it’s within their right to admonish a student simply because they witnessed an event, even though they were not present and perhaps don’t understand the context or other drivers.

Mike Holiday, a parent and homeschool educator, is very concerned about the issues of privacy posed by surveillance in the classroom. “A camera in the classroom might put everyone on their best behavior. But the possibility of abuse of power is too great. It is also a huge step towards legalizing other invasions of privacy.”

Parents witnessing stigmatizing behavior problems is bad enough. Add to that the bystanders who believe they understand an entire incident simply because they’ve watched it on-screen. Sometimes seeing isn’t believing. A camera angle can make all the difference. A critical event that happened off-screen may not be taken into consideration, and therefore, viewers who think they have the whole story simply don’t.

Some parents may use the camera as a control device by telling their children, “I’ll be watching you.” This can do irreparable harm to the authority of the teacher within the classroom. Perversely, this can be used as a control device by the teachers themselves with such statements as, “Your mother can see what you’re doing.”

Even more worrying is a tactic witnessed by Kristi, from South Carolina: “The teacher told the kids that Santa watched them through the cameras.” Kristi approves of the use of cameras in the daycare center for visual records in case of incidents or emergencies. But she’s opposed to “the teacher indoctrinating the kids to think surveillance is okay.”

Another area of concern is for those children struggling with developmental or learning difficulties. Surely those students’ privacy is violated if all parents can see which reading group they’ve been assigned to or how much help they receive or if they are sometimes unable to participate in an activity.

Zaida, a mom of two girls and inventor of the Wiggletot Diaper Changer, has other concerns about “the effects of Wi-Fi on thin skulls.” Besides these oft-debated health concerns, she also points to the danger of children having their otherwise private school day dissected by their parents. “Having a parent report back on everything they think wasn’t appropriate or should have been changed in a child could lead to an increase in anxiety in kids.”

Unfortunately, not all children live in caring, loving homes. To that end, most troubling of all is that the use of surveillance could lead to the dissolution of the classroom as a safe space. For children of abuse or neglect, the classroom can represent one of the few places where they are protected, nurtured, and can receive love, attention, and care.

That, if not for any other reason, is compelling justification for keeping classrooms camera-free.

The use of cameras in educational and childcare settings can have benefits. Some parents who are nervous about leaving their children for the first time with strangers may find that this technology puts their minds at ease. Parent Arlene Guzman Todd explains, “I am a big fan of the cameras, they helped provide a feeling of security and allowed me to build trust by watching the caretaker’s interactions with my children.”

There are also situations where parents and carers may not be physically able to see their children, such as in the case of divorce, separation, or when a military parent is deployed. This is the case with Arlene’s husband, an active duty service member. “The live feeds allow him to check in on the kids regardless of what part of the world he is in,” she says.

One school district in Pennsylvania has been trialing a new app that has proved popular with both teachers and parents. The Classroom Dojo program functions like a closed-circuit Twitter account. The teacher can use the app to post photos and positive updates throughout the day, making the parents feel informed and included.

Melissa Fullerton, Director of Communications & Community Relations at Governor Mifflin School District, reports that the result has been that “[t]he ongoing feed of positive and day-to-day updates has led to a noticeable decrease in parent frustration and negative communications.”

The difference here seems to be in the concept of control and consent. There’s no live feed. Furthermore, the teacher can choose when to share updates, exactly what to show, what to exclude, and what days and times are going to best showcase the class and the learning that is taking place. (Friday afternoon after Phys Ed, for example, would probably not be an optimum viewing time.)

We should work toward a balance between maintaining appropriate privacy and respect in the classroom whilst also creating an open and inviting environment for parents.

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As the saying goes, "failing to prepare is preparing to fail," and that seriously applies to parenting. With no fewer than one dozen items to wrangle before walking out the door on an ordinary errand, mamas have plenty on their mind. That is why one of the very best gifts you can give the mamas in your life this year is to reduce her mental load with some gear she can depend on when she's out and about.

Although it may be impossible to guarantee completely smooth outings with kids in tow, here are the items we rely on for making getting out of the house less of a chore.

1. Bugaboo Bee 5 stroller

This stroller is a dream come true for any mama on the go. (Meaning: All of us!) Lightweight, compact and easy to maneuver with just one hand, this is made for navigating busy sidewalks with ease—or just fitting in the trunk without a major wrestling match. It's designed for little passengers to love just as much, too, with a bassinet option for newborn riders that can be easily swapped with a comfy, reclining seat that can face forward or backward for bigger kids.

$699

2. Bugaboo wheel board

This wheel board will let big brother or sister easily hitch a ride on the stroller if their little legs aren't quite up for a full walk. We love the smart details that went into the design, including a slightly offset position so Mom or Dad can walk without bumping their legs. And because toddlers have strong opinions of their own, it's brilliant that the wheel board allows them to sit or stand.

$125

3. Nuby Keepeez cup strap

If you know a little one gearing up for the major leagues with a killer throwing arm, this is a must-have so parents aren't buying new sippy cups on a weekly basis. Perfect for tethering to high chairs, strollers, car seats and shopping carts, it allows Mama to feel confident she'll return home with everything she left with in the first place.

$6.99

4. Bugaboo footmuff

For those mamas who live anywhere where the temps regularly dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, this ultra-soft, comfortable footmuff is a lifesaver. Made with water-repellant microfleece, it keeps little ones dry and cozy—whether there is melting snow, a good drizzle or simply a spilled sippy cup.

$129.95

5. Bugaboo stroller organizer

Because we know #mombrain is no joke, we are all for products that will help us stay organized—especially when out and about. With multiple zipper pockets, a sleek design and velcro straps that help it easily convert to a handbag when stepping away from the stroller, it helps keep essentials from spare diapers to the car keys within reach.

$39.95

6. Bugaboo Turtle car seat

It may be called a car seat, but we love that this one is specifically designed to securely click into a stroller frame, too. (Meaning there is no need to wake up a sleeping baby for a car-to-stroller transfer!) More reasons to love it are the lightweight design, UPF 50+ sun protection shade and Merino wool inlay, meaning it's baby and mama friendly.

$349

7. Chicco QuickSeat hook-on chair

This hook-on baby chair will almost certainly earn a spot on your most-used list. Perfect for dining out or simply giving your baby a space to sit, it's portable and beyond easy to install. (Plus, it's a great alternative to those questionably clean high chairs at many restaurants!)

$57.99

8. Bugaboo stroller cup holder

Chasing after kids when out and about can work up a thirst, just like neighborhood strolls in the chillier months can get, well, chilly. So we love that this cup holder will help mama keep something for herself to drink close at hand. Designed to accommodate bottles of all sizes and easy to click onto any compatible stroller, it's a perfect stocking stuffer.

$29.95

9. Bugaboo soft wool blanket

Fair warning with this luxe stroller blanket: It's so cozy that you might want to buy another one for yourself! Made with Merino wool that helps it stand up to any elements parents might encounter during an outing, it will help baby stay warm during the winter and cool enough as the temps start to pick up.

$109.95

10. Munchkin silicone placemats

Made to roll and stow in a diaper bag, these silicone placemats will make dining out a (relatively) less messy experience. With raised edges that will help contain spills and a grippy bottom, they will stay in place on tables so that parents might be able to enjoy their own meals, too.

$8.99

11. Bugaboo Breezy seat liner

Designed to keep baby warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm, this seat liner will minimize fusses during all seasons—which is one of the very best gifts you can give a mama. Because accidents of all types can happen on the go, we also love that this seat liner is reversible! With a number of colors, it's also a fun way to help a stroller to stand out at the playground.

$79.95

12. OXO Tot Handy stroller hook

If you ever catch yourself thinking it would be nice to have another hand, these stroller clips are the next-best solution for when you are out and about. Perfect for lugging a bag or anchoring a cup, you'll want a set for every stroller you own.

$14.99

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

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"Where do babies come from?" is a question that can strike dread in the minds of parents everywhere. No matter how you slice it, telling your kids the story of their conceptions can be tricky...and when you conceived via assisted reproductive technology? Well, that can add a whole new layer of complexity.

But author Tess Kossow has found a way to tell the story behind her son's in vitro fertilization conception—and the best part? She's letting other parents who turned to this technology use her words.

Kossow knows all too well how intricate the IVF process really is. The mother sought out fertility treatments after a year of trying to conceive. She and her husband began the process with two viable embryos—and while the first embryo implanted she later suffered a miscarriage. The second embryo became Kossow's son, Ferris, who was born in April of 2018.

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It's so important to normalize the IVF process, and Kossow is doing just that—she's showing parents who have opted for IVF treatments and their children that their stories are worth telling. Kossow has written the IVF story in the form of a children's book called I'm Very Ferris.

"I wanted to go with something that would resonate [with little children] and get across the point of IVF," Kossow tells People. "It's a rhyming book. The pictures speak a thousand words. I thought I would do this through a child telling the story, instead of having the mom or dad tell the story."

But giving children a better understanding of the IVF process isn't the only goal that motivates Kossow's work. She's also committed to sending an important message about miscarriages to the women who have suffered them.

"It's not your fault. There's nothing you could have done," she says, according to People. "I've come to realize from firsthand experience just how in depth pregnancy is. And how much it truly can be a miracle to carry a baby and to deliver a baby, and have a healthy baby."

This is so important—because families come together in a variety of ways, and all of those ways are viable and worth understanding. Giving families who have come together thanks to IVF this kind of representation is so necessary. And we applaud this mama for taking this step. You can buy I'm Very Ferris here.

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Car seat safety is understandably an obsession for many parents. We want our children to be as safe as possible so we pay close attention to the recommendations of car seat manufacturers, pediatricians and experts. We make sure our child is in the safest seat and position for their size and when our car seats expire we dutifully dispose of them instead of passing them down to our younger children, friends or charities.

Every parent knows that car seats have expiration dates—but why do they? What studies and tests prompted manufacturers and safety advocates to make this rule?

Could we be throwing away tons of perfectly good car seats?

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Those are the questions that journalist Adam Minter set out to uncover while writing his book, Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale. The answers he got didn't satisfy him, and suggest that car seat expiration dates are more about increasing consumption than increasing protection.

A father himself, Minter was well aware of the fact that car seats have expiration dates when, in the course of reporting for Secondhand, he found himself at a used goods outlet in Tucson where secondhand car seats were being sent over the border to Mexico. Concerned that unsafe car seats may be putting children in other countries in danger, Minter decided to dig into the story—but what he uncovered was the opposite of what he thought he was chasing.

"There is no law prohibiting the sale of secondhand car seats post expiration or before," Minter tells Motherly.

There is no law, Minter learned, because there is nothing proving that age alone makes a car seat unsafe.

Minter reached out to numerous car seat manufacturers and retailers expecting that they would be able to point him to a specific study or testing protocol used to determine when and why car seats expire. But he didn't get a clear answer. Most companies did not reply or declined to comment.

He tells Motherly he was stunned that companies that use expiration dates on their products and marketing were unable to substantiate the claim that car seats degrade to the point of being unsafe after six years of existence.

Neither Minter or Motherly could uncover a specific study that is the basis of this rationale. The United States Highway Transportation Safety Administration says there is no regulation prohibiting parents from using an expired car seat, but on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website, parents are advised "The seat has labels stating date of manufacture and model number. You need this information to find out if there is a recall on the car seat or if the seat is too old."

What could happen if a car seat is "too old?" Well, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website does not go into detail, but the Government of Canada's website does.

It states that:

"Manufacturers give an expiry or useful life date because over time:

  • Frequent use and exposure to sunlight can damage and weaken plastic;
  • Safe-use labels on the products fade or become hard to read;
  • Instruction manuals have likely been lost;
  • Food, cleaners, drinks and other materials that have been spilled or used on webbing, buckles, adjusters and other parts may prevent them from working safely;
  • The history or condition of the car seat or booster seat becomes hard to check (was it in a crash, was it stored in a place or in a way that caused damage to parts, etc.?);
  • Safety regulations and standards may have changed, so safer products may now be on the market; and
  • Second or subsequent owners may not get product safety recall notices if problems arise."

There is research to backup the first point. Exposure to sunlight can indeed damage plastic, but neither Minter nor Motherly were able to find any research that specifically looked at car seats, and how the plastic used in them might degrade when subjected to standard use in vehicles.

"We should actually have data available on the relative safety or unsafety of a secondhand car seat that, say sat in a car for 5 years in sunlight and one that's totally new. And yet, if [manufacturers have] done those tests, for whatever reason, they're not willing to disclose them," Minter tells Motherly.

As for the rest of the Canadian list, the reasons listed do not apply to every car seat or situation. A family that is considering reusing their own car seat for a second or third child would know if it has ever been in a collision and how it was stored. The parents would know how often the car seat was cleaned and would either have the instruction manual or access to an online version.

As we've noted, government agencies in the United States and Canada do discourage parents from using expired car seats, and in these countries it is common for used car seats to be shredded or sent to the landfill, expired or not. But in some other countries, the use of used car seats is viewed as perfectly acceptable and is actually encouraged.

Sweden has a remarkably low rate of child fatalities related to vehicles. The country is very seriously trying to reduce the rate to zero, and yet the director of traffic safety and sustainability at the Swedish Transport Administration, Maria Krafft, has publicly stated that used car seats are fine to use.

Krafft put Minter in contact with Professor Anders Kullgren of the Karolinska Institutet and the Chalmers University of Technology, who replied: "We have the same experience in Sweden. Manufacturers of child restraints (and other safety equipment such as bicycle and motorcycle helmets) tell their customers to buy a new product after a certain period of time, often relatively short. We can't see any evidence to justify that from what we have seen in real-world crashes."

Kullgren went on to say that he has access to car seats that are over 20 years old and has not seen any degradation in the plastic.

Bottom line:

In an era when parents are extremely concerned about reducing consumption and carbon footprints, should so many car seats be thrown away, especially when there are parents struggling to afford car seats in the first place?

Perhaps it is time for parents to consider not throwing away or recycling their car seats, but passing them on to another parent. Minter was initially worried about the safety of children when he saw used American seats headed to Mexico, but now he is worried about the saftey of children who would be safer in an inexpensive secondhand seat than none at all.

[Motherly has contacted government agencies, retailers and car seat manufacturers and will update our coverage when more information is available.]

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Winter is coming, mama. Okay, sorry for the pun, but winter is really coming considering a good chunk of the country is now feeling polar temperatures this week. But don't worry, we've you got covered (literally).

I did extensive research on cozy boots and coats for the upcoming season that are practical and will keep you looking stylish so you don't have to go into an internet frenzy search once the snow hits the ground. I've also included some maternity styles for those of you who are pregnant this winter (like me) and need to keep their bump covered. Plus there are some for the kids, too!

These are the coziest boots and coats our team is buying this winter:

J.Crew Nordic boots

Nordic Boots

I got these when I was pregnant with my first because I was really terrified of slipping on ice, but also wanted to look stylish and let me tell you, they were a hit. That was two seasons ago and mine are still in great shape. Each boot comes with two pairs of shoelaces so you can dress them up or down depending on your mood (and outfit!) They are super warm and look cute with pants or dresses.

$198

Sperry saltwater shiny quilted boots

https://www.zappos.com/p/sperry-saltwater-shiny-quilted-black/product/8899214/color/3

These Sperry boots will have you jumping in puddles with your kids without getting your toes cold. They are fully waterproof, have micro-fleece lining on the inside for extra warmth and a zipper for putting them on and taking them off easily.

$107.90

Garnet Hill kids wool slippers

Baby Boiled Wool Slippers

These wool slippers will keep the tiniest feet around warm and protected. Plus, they come in a variety of fun animals that will keep any baby entertained.

$28

The North Face ThermoBall™ vest

The North Face ThermoBall\u2122 Vest

This vest is ideal for layering on really cold days, as it is super thin but mega warm. It's also great to wear as an outer layer when you go out running since it won't get in your way. Also, it's designed to be packed into one of its pockets, making it great for travel or putting away when the warmer days come our way.

$89.40

J.Crew Chateau parka

Chateau parka in Italian stadium-cloth wool

If you are looking for a pop of color during the dark days, these parkas from J.Crew come in vibrant colorways. They are super warm, stylish and practical—I still haven't found a coat that has better designed pockets as this one. The price is steep but I've had mine for almost four seasons now and it's still in rotation because the quality is so good.

$375

Dr. Martens fur-lined boots

FUR-LINED 2976 LEONORE WYOMING CHELSEA BOOTS

I've been wearing Dr. Martens since I was in high school (not the same pair, but almost) and I cannot speak highly enough about their quality and resistance. These shoes are made to last you forever and endure all types of weather. These are my fave because they are fur-lined inside to keep your toes warm and require no laces to tie, which is ideal when you are super pregnant.

$150

Bog kids boots

Bogs Kids Classic High Waterproof Insulated Rubber Rain and Winter Snow Boot for Boys, Girls and Toddlers, Multiple Color Options

These rubber and neoprene boots will let your kids splash around in all and every puddle without worrying about their feet getting cold and wet. They are also super durable and light so they can be passed on to younger siblings.

$55.39

Kylie metallic hooded puffer coat

Metallic Hooded Puffer Coat

This is a head-turner jacket and I'm obsessed with it. I's water-resistant and comes with thumb holes to make sure the sleeves keep you warm and covered. Plus, it's on sale right now!

$169.99

J.Crew Chateau puffer jacket

Chateau puffer jacket with PrimaLoft\u00ae

This puffer is everything. The colors are bright and cool, the design is amazing and the hood comes lined so you won't need to carry a hat that will definitely mess up your hair and give you static. It's inspired by the wool coat mentioned above, but what's even better about this one is that it's filled with eco-friendly "PrimaLoft," meaning each coat keeps 15 plastic bottles out of oceans and landfills.

$198

Orolay down jacket (the most-wanted jacket on Amazon)

Orolay Women's Thickened Down Jacket

This puffer is a hit on Amazon with more than 7,000 reviews that say it's a 4-star coat. Literally every influencer has had this coat and there is a reason why it's a bestseller every winter. It comes in six cool colors that are easy to dress up or down.

$139.99

Orolay children's hooded down coat

Orolay Children Hooded Down Coat Girls

Plus you can also match with your little ones since Orolay just launched the kids' version of the Insta-famous jacket.

$129.99

Lamo kids classic boot

KIDS CLASSIC BOOT

This is one of Lamo's all-time popular boots. It comes in three neutral colors that are easy to match with any outfit and the exterior is suede, while the interior is soft and comfortable for tiny toes to wiggle in and stay warm.

$57.99

Native shoes lhotse boots

Save the Duck Native Shoes Lhotse Boots

These boots by Native (yes the brand your kids love) are just amazing. They are wind- and water-resistant while also being super duper light and soft. The faux-fur lining keeps toes warm and they don't have laces. Plus, I kind of love how they look like astronaut shoes.

$135

Penfield kirby jacket

https://www.backcountry.com/penfield-kirby-jacket-womens?CMP_SKU=PNF00EP&MER=0406&skid=PNF00EP-BK-M&mr:trackingCode=D6FA3406-FBC0-E811-8107-005056944E17&mr:referralID=NA&mr:device=c&mr:adType=plaonline&iv_=__iv_p_1_g_13362760597_c_92885917477_w_pla-578706444955_n_g_d_c_v__l__t__r_1o2_x_pla_y_7811_f_online_o_PNF00EP-BK-M_z_US_i_en_j_578706444955_s__e__h_9004338_ii__vi__&CMP_ID=PLA_GOc001&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PLA&k_clickid=_k_EAIaIQobChMIyNbr2ejn5QIVGm6GCh1uiAsdEAQYAiABEgLUmfD_BwE_k_&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyNbr2ejn5QIVGm6GCh1uiAsdEAQYAiABEgLUmfD_BwE

If you are looking for a jacket that can be worn every day with any outfit, this one is it since black is the easiest color to dress up or down. It's fully insulated for the cold and wet days. The pockets are also fleece lined so no need for gloves (as long as you keep your hands in there!)

$195

Bird Rock Baby moccasins

Confetti Baby Moccasins

These baby moccasins are just the cutest out there. Great for the littlest ones in the family to look stylish with some tights or while hanging out at home playing. There are colors and patterns for everyone's taste and the quality is outstanding.

$25

Elora maxi puffer coat

ELORA Women's Winter Warm Full Length Fleece Lined Maxi Puffer Coat

If you are going for a full coverage look, this long coat is for you. Sure, it looks like a sleeping bag with feet, but there is no denying that you will be warm, cozy and dry while wearing it. Plus, the 5-star rating from 215 other people means that you can't go wrong.

$110

Native shoes johnny treklite

Native Shoes Johnny Treklite

An alternative to the classic Timberlands, these Native Shoes boots come in a super cute light pink to lighten up any outfit you put together. It has a rugged tread to prevent slips and falls while still being comfortable inside.

$94.95

Canada Goose trillium parka

Canada Goose Women's Trillium Parka

If you are looking for a major investment this is the jacket for you. It's made for extreme weathers and will keep you warm and dry regardless of what you are wearing underneath it. It's built to last, I've had mine for over six years now and it's still like brand new.

$950

Timberland jayne waterproof teddy fleece boots

Timberland Jayne Waterproof Teddy Fleece Fold Down

These Timberlands are a more feminine version of the classic and iconic boots. It's fully waterproof, although since it's nobuk I would take super good care of them to keep them looking as pristine as day one. Inside is a soft fleece lining to keep your feet cozy. They can be worn folded down to show off the fleece or rolled up for extra warmth.

$110.07

J.Crew leather mid-calf high-heel boots

https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/shoes/boots/leather-midcalf-highheel-boots/AB109?color_name=black

If you're looking for boots that will dress up any outfit, these leather ones by J.Crew are a total hit. They are comfortable and will pair well with just about anything in your closet.

$298

Patagonia fleece pullover

Re-Tool Snap-T\u00ae Fleece Pullover

This fleece pullover is perfect for layering under a coat in really cold days. The colors are super cute and the brand is known for its great quality so you'll have this for years to come.

$119

Stonz kids boots 

Stonz Scout Scout Cold Weather Snow Boots Super Insulated, Rugged, Lightweight, and Warm (5T-9T)

These boots are awesome for kids all ages because they're easy to put on and take off, keep feet super dry and warm and won't get in the way of playing with the snow. My son loves them!

$69.99

Universal jacket extender

Universal Jacket Extender for Maternity and Baby-carrying, fits MOST zips, black, one-size

If you, like me, don't want to buy a maternity winter coat that you will only wear for a couple of months, you can get this jacket extender that allows your belly to fit in any of your favorite coats without issues. Bonus points for turning any jacket into a suitable one to also baby wear once baby is out in the world.

$99.99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat huge variety of ailments and for health promotion purposes. But when you become pregnant, it is essential to know which herbs are safe and which herbs to avoid because whatever we ingest (food-born illness, for example) is shared by the growing baby and that includes herbs.

While most of us think of herbs as remedies for various health concerns, and even to help your fertility, once you become pregnant, if you're still on an herb regimen, it's crucial you consult with your doctor immediately. Studies have found that some herbs may cause miscarriage, premature contractions and birth, and fetal harm.

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While you should discuss all herb and supplement usage with your provider. there are a few herbs that are definite no's.

Here are five herbs to avoid during pregnancy.

1. Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto comes from a small palm tree, native to the eastern U.S., has been used for chronic pelvic pain, bladder disorders, decreased sex drive, hair loss, hormone imbalances, and prostate cancer. The ripe fruit of saw palmetto is used in several forms, including ground and dried fruit or whole berries. It is available as liquid extracts, tablets, capsules, and as an infusion or a tea.

When used orally, saw palmetto contributes to hormonal activity and during pregnancy, a disruption of hormonal balance could result in pregnancy complications.

2. Ephedra

Ephedra is an evergreen shrub-like plant native to central Asia and Mongolia. It also grows in the southwestern U.S. In China, people have used ephedra for centuries to alleviate colds, fever, flu, headaches, asthma, nasal congestion and wheezing.

Outside of short-term weight loss, ephedra's effectiveness is weak, and one known side effect is increased blood sugar levels. During pregnancy, this could lead to gestational diabetes. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

3. Echinacea

There are nine species of Echinacea, all of which are native to North America. Echinacea is used as a dietary supplement for the common cold and other infections with hopes to boost your immune system to more effectively fight the infection or symptoms associated with the infection. Many studies have been done on echinacea and the common cold. The most common side effects of echinacea are digestive tract symptoms, such as nausea or stomach pain.

In addition, in very small amounts, echinacea purpura was noted to have ill effects on the sperm and egg—primarily a reduced ability of sperm to penetrate egg.

4. Black cohosh

Black cohosh is a plant native to North America. Currently, people use black cohosh as a dietary supplement for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. While research and data are extremely limited, black cohosh has also been used to alleviate menstrual cramps and to induce labor. But research suggests that black cohosh may be dangerous for unborn babies. As a result, it is suggested to avoid.

Furthermore, black cohosh should not be confused with blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), which has different effects and is not generally recognized as safe. Black cohosh has sometimes been used with blue cohosh to stimulate labor, but this use was linked to severe adverse effects in at least one newborn.

5. St. John's Wort

St. John's wort has been used for centuries to treat mental disorders and nerve pain. Most recently, it is used as a remedy for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. In addition to echinacea purpura, St. John's wort at very fractional doses has also been have ill effects on the sperm and egg, and potential genetic mutations which could compromise the health of a pregnancy.

Furthermore, St. John's wort has been noted to decrease the efficacy of birth control pills.

To be clear, the FDA urges pregnant women not to take any herbal products without talking to their health care provider first. Women are also urged to consult a trained and experienced herbalist (or other professional who is trained to work with herbs) if they want to take herbs during their pregnancy.

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