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My name is Jill and I am a neat freak. A few months ago, I spent an entire morning in my son’s bedroom repairing and repositioning half a dozen Lego creations into a pleasing arrangement on a set of shelves solely dedicated for the purpose. I took it as a sign that I was powerless over my neatness addiction.


I had been doing so well, too. I hadn’t even entered the boys’ play zone for a whole week just to avoid the temptation to hyper-organize. But that day, I relapsed. And it was not pretty. I’m not sure how it happened. The day started out with such resolve…

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After making fastidious work of assembling lunches, packing backpacks, hustling my sons into their jackets and hats, and watching them trundle down the front walk to the car with Dad, I stood on the deck in the sharp morning air with the satisfaction of a child-rearing woman who has accomplished astonishing things (shower not included) between the hours of 5:45 and 7:30 a.m., all without once scolding or breaking a sweat.

I took in the oak leaves still clinging assertively to their wind-tossed limbs and envisioned the day before me unfolding the way an Olympic athlete paces out a gold medal-winning 400-meter dash. That day, I decided, would go something like this:

Take 10 deep, bracing breaths. Step back inside. Hydrate with 16 ounces of suitably refrigerated water. Top off coffee mug and add small dollop of honey. Report directly to uncluttered desk, stepping right over mud-and-food-streaked boy garments still moldering where they’d been tossed before last night’s bath. Ignore mountain of unfolded clothes literally casting a shadow in the corner. Pretend rumpled confusion of unmade beds is not in the least distracting.

Sit down. Stay there.

I was hitting every mark in record time. At this rate, I’d be logging hours before the clock struck eight. But at the top of the stairs, things took a turn for the worse.

The light in my eldest son’s room was still on. I reached inside the doorjamb to flick the switch, and that’s when it happened: All the little Lego people started calling to me – their legs back-bent, helmets misaligned, lightsabers, shovels, nunchucks, and daggers unhitched from c-shaped hands…

“Jedi Master of Order Restoration!” shouted “A New Hope” Luke Skywalker from beneath the dresser. “Thank God you’re here. I’m so uncomfortable right now. Could you please do me the courtesy of picking me out of the large child’s dirty underwear and return me to the cockpit of my X-wing Starfighter? But I’ve lost my helmet. And where’s R2? I can’t fly without R2.”

Unable to resist Luke’s plaintive call, I stepped into the room. That’s all it took. Before you can say 12-Step Program, I was swiftly grouping the assembled kits into like themes – Ninjago Morro Dragons with Chima Rumble Bears, second-generation Moon Landing relics with the comparatively glossy 21st-century City sets (police SUV, construction trucks, family camper van). The Star Wars ships, naturally, got a whole shelf to themselves. And every single Minifigure, reunited with his or her corresponding vehicle, lined up from left to right in episodic order.

Two hours later, back aching, hair unkempt, eyes wild, I reemerged. For five full minutes I stood bewildered in the hall contemplating my mental acuity.

“What the hell just happened?” I said out loud. 

At first, it felt good to wrest order from the jumbled multitudes. And then it felt weird, and wasteful, and ultimately futile, because these are toys, woman! Not museum pieces.

In a matter of hours, these very same meticulously constructed wonders of interlocking-brick-system engineering would be pitted against one another in epic intergalactic mega-battles, inevitably dropped on wood floors to scatter in a million sonically unnerving directions, and then rebuilt by little brother into asymmetric bat-lizard-robot-rocket-boats with no means of egress, color consistency, or landing gear to speak of.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m not a crazy Kragle-mom. I have never super-glued any toy whose chief objective is to be deconstructed and reconstructed. I simply like structure. I respect sequences. I appreciate design.

In much the same way I enjoy the secret chemistry of successful recipes, I also enjoy the aesthetics of things built as they were meant to be built. I delight in the purposeful details: the specially crafted levers allowing wings to flap and cockpit hatches to open; the ball-and-sockets for Republic Gunship blaster articulation; the spring-loaded laser shooters that release with a gratifying click.

And yes, I’m highly distractible. I have a thing about crumbs. And hygiene routines. And pididdles (touch ceiling before the other car passes, touch seat if they’ve already passed). I try to say “Rabbit, Rabbit” before anything else on the first of each month. I brush my teeth excessively, in the same pattern every time. I bite my nails so I can file them smooth again.

I eat Ritz crackers down to perfect crescent moons, nibble by miniscule nibble. I count the steps of the stairwells I frequent and associate the number with that place. Whenever I do jumping jacks, I count out 100 then add one for each family member to send good health their way.

Unfortunately though, these habits don’t really jibe with being a parent. Consider the spit-ups, the diaper blowouts, the fistfuls of peas and cottage cheese flung madly about the kitchen. The sticky fingers and snot-slicked faces, the yogurt bubbles and juice dribbles, the blueberry barf. The excess toys spilling over the edge of milk crates and bins even though you made a pact with your husband while pregnant never to let any “cheap plastic crap” across the threshold.

Basically, as a parent, you have to let go of organization as you knew it. It’s all an illusion anyway. Kiss your aesthetically calming décor good-bye and welcome a couch you don’t mind disinfecting every few months. When you find Mr. Potato Head teeth and ears in the Magna-Tiles box, let them lie. When a Popsicle stick gets lodged in the slot-car track, trust that your child will dislodge it somehow. You’ve got to roll with the chaos for the sake of your sanity, your children’s sanity, and your partner’s, as well.

Here’s why. My sense of orderliness has nothing to do with my children’s healthy development. What’s more, I think it actually inhibits my ability to enjoy being with them when they’re having the time of their lives shoving child-safe finger paint up each other’s noses. And that shit is funny, believe me.

My OCD also got in the way of the boys taking responsibility for their own stuff. They would ask me where they left Kit Fisko, Boba Fett, or “Anakin’s Dark Side head” and I would actually know. The precise location. It became clear in about year five of motherhood this was a losing proposition if I ever expected not to feel like a servant waiting on two tiny unrelenting masters.

I’ve improved immensely. These days, I don’t maniacally clean up after them. Not as often, anyway. They know to bus their own dishes to the kitchen and put their dirty clothes in the dark and light hampers. They flush the toilet after number two and switch off lights when leaving a room. When they ask what happened to Sensei Wu’s paddy hat, I do my best to reply, “Probably where you left it.”

Four out of five days of the week, the kids actually remember their backpacks. The fifth day we gawk at each other in the drop-off line and say oh well. “Try to remember tomorrow.” And they do. Sometimes. 

That said, I’ve left my mark – or my genes anyway. As anyone who’s been a child or parent knows, those marks are indelible. Last night, my youngest woke up calling for me. When I went in to check on him, he said with a trace of panic, “My aminals are not where they’re zupposed to be.”

And because the tree stays rooted by the apple, I helped him rearrange them – Lion on the far side as protection from any monsters approaching through the window, Elephanté next to offer backup. On the door side, Bunny Sniff-Sniff, Owlie, and Niño resting where he always does in the palm of my son’s hand.

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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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