A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
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By now you’ve probably heard the saying “sitting is the new smoking.” The message that our sedentary lifestyles are causing all sorts of health issues is out there loud and clear. But have you also heard the message that exercise isn’t necessarily the answer? 


Think about a typical day in your life and the life of your family. How often are you moving?  Do you and your kids sit to eat breakfast, sit in the car on the way to school, sit at a desk all day, sit to watch television? The simple truth is that many of us, including our kids, spend significant portions of our day on our backsides.

Katy Bowman is a biomechanist by training and founder of the “whole body movement program,” Nutritious Movement. Her message is that movement should be a part of our everyday lives – all day, every day – rather than just a thing we do in between all of the sitting. 

Nutritious movement, she says, is a human need just like a healthy diet. A repetitive exercise regime only moves your body in one specific way for one specific period of time, Bowman explains, but integrating movement throughout the day is a lifestyle change that moves your body in all sorts of ways, helping you to be more balanced. 

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As an added bonus, nutritious movement can make you a happier person because movement is no longer something you have to check off your to-do list. “I’m not stressed about NOT exercising, feeling like I’ve failed to meet the needs of my body,” Bowman says of her own transition to this lifestyle.

Bowman is also raising her kids in a movement-based lifestyle.  They have monkey bars in their house and do not have chairs or couches; instead, they eat and hang out in all different positions on the floor. They walk everywhere they can, including frequent trips to the playground, and they hike barefoot through national parks. Bowman says her kids realize that their family is a little different from others, but they see difference as a normal part of life and don’t resist the lifestyle.

I became interested in Bowman’s work after giving birth to my second child and ended up diving into everything I could get my hands on. I’m a convert to Bowman’s philosophy and I’m already starting to feel better. 

I move more during my day at work by alternating between sitting, standing, and reading on the floor. I’m also trying to make movement, especially in nature, more frequent in my family’s life.  I’ve begun to prioritize our long walk to the bus stop each morning, getting myself outside to play soccer, and spending time on the swing set (I’m working up to my own monkey bar repertoire).   

I was thrilled to talk with Bowman about what it means for her whole family to live this way and what the rest of us might learn from her. Lucky for us, Bowman believes it’s never too late to start introducing kids, or adults, to a movement-based lifestyle.

View: a day in the life of a movement based lifestyle.

What strategies would you recommend to get kids excited about, or at least not protesting, more movement in their lives?

I think the key is to not make a big deal out of it. The whole “guess what everyone, we’re going to embark on our movement-based lifestyle” probably sounds like “you’re going to have to start doing things you don’t want to do.” Instead, just start taking walks and say “good bye everyone, I’m going to spend some time out in nature alone” and just watch them line up to come with.

Set up games and puzzles on the floor and watch them join you, which is different then saying “Let’s get on the floor and play this game because it’s healthier for us.” Most kids don’t enjoy kale and walking because it hasn’t comprised the bulk of their experience, and we’re all comfortable with our habits. Sneaking it in helps, and modeling is really the best way for kids to become familiar with the idea. Ask your littles where they want to walk and let them lead, rather than saying “we need to get our walk in to stay healthy.”

Are your kids involved in organized sports? Do you approach sports decisions any differently because of your own research and lifestyle?

My kids are little—three and just five. Organized sports are a fairly new thing. But there is more and more evidence pointing to early specialization (that is, having kids play the same sport for many years, as opposed to them playing lots of different movement games and sports before finding what they’re good at as older teenagers) can lead to injuries that can effect them as adults.

I think of sports in the same way I think of dessert—a great way to supplement a well-balanced whole-food diet. My kids climb trees, walk long distances, and hike a lot through nature. We walk to the store and jump off high things, and sprint, and wrestle, and swing through monkey bars—barefoot the bulk of the time. I’m all for sports, I just don’t see sports as fully meeting their movement nutrition guidelines.

I’ve read that you chose a Forest School for your kids.  What recommendations do you have for families who don’t have this type of option for school? 

Before you assume you don’t have an outdoor program near you, check. This can include a Facebook post that says “Family interested in enrolling their kids in a nature school, afterschool, or weekend program. Is anyone else similarly interested, or willing to take some steps with us to start one.” Once a week I post something about a new school popping up and there’s always a comment or two like “That’s right near me! I didn’t know there was anything.”

If there’s no official program, start an after school or weekend meet-up in nature. Here’s my biggest “get your kid moving” tip: Kids want to move with other kids. Going for a walk “because it’s healthy” is an adult construct developed out of an almost sedentary experience. They can’t relate. What they can relate to is other kids moving through nature, because it’s fun. Humans are pack animals. Get kids a little older and more skilled than yours and it’s like some natural instinct to keep up kicks in and away they go, COMPLAINT FREE (which means your outdoor time becomes a break from The Constant Whining – or, is that just my kids?).

Do you have any recommendations for parents who want to bring these ideas to their kids’ schools?

Suggest ways to add movement to your child’s teacher or the school’s PTA. This can be a bit tricky, but the research on sitting and learning and health are in your favor. I haven’t seen any research pointing to sitting as the best option for kids and education, it’s just how schooling has been done (for research to the contrary, check out this article on the benefits of standing).

Instead of only suggesting, offer to be of service in terms of funding, looking for grants, or volunteering your time in the class to help support this endeavor. I’ve inspired at least a few class rooms to go furniture free (check out this example of a chair free classroom ), and volunteering to shop thrift stores to stock classrooms with tables and cushions of various heights has been helpful, as is volunteering to chaperone class walks and weekly hikes.   

For more ideas on how to incorporate Nutritious Movement into your life, and the lives of your kids, I highly encourage you to check out Katy’s Facebook page.  I guarantee you will be inspired and occasionally laugh.  When you’re ready to dive a bit deeper, you might start with her book Move your DNA which provides all of the basic science behind the concept. 

PS – If you’ve been sitting the whole time you read this article, get up and take a movement break; your body will thank you!

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By: Justine LoMonaco


From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed, even just on occasion.

I was unsure what to expect the first time we tried a bottle. I worried it would upset her stomach or cause uncomfortable gas. I worried she would reject the bottle entirely, meaning the freedom I hoped for would remain out of reach. But in just a few seconds, those worries disappeared as I watched her happily feed from the bottle.

What I really didn't expect? The guilt that came as I watched her do so. Was I robbing her of that original connection we'd had with breastfeeding? Was I setting her up for confusion if and when we did go back to nursing? Was I failing at something without even realizing it?

In discussing with my friends, I've learned this guilt is an all too common thing. But I've also learned there are so many reasons why it's time to let it go.

1) I'm letting go of guilt because...I shouldn't feel guilty about sharing the connection with my baby. It's true that now I'm no longer the only one who can feed and comfort her any time of day or night. But what that really means is that now the door is open for other people who love her (my partner, grandparents, older siblings) to take part in this incredible gift. The first time I watched my husband's eyes light up as he fed our baby, I knew that I had made the right choice.

2) I'm letting go of guilt because...the right bottle will prevent any discomfort. It took us a bit of trial and error to find the right bottle that worked for my baby, but once we did, we rarely dealt with gas or discomfort―and the convenience of being able to pack along a meal for my child meant she never had to wait to eat when she was hungry. Dr. Brown's became my partner in this process, offering a wide variety of bottles and nipples designed to mimic the flow of my own milk and reduce colic and excess spitting up. When we found the right one, it changed everything.

3) I'm letting go of guilt because...I've found my joy in motherhood again. That trapped feeling that had started to overwhelm me? It's completely gone. By removing the pressure on myself to feed my baby a certain way, I realized that it was possible to keep her nourished and healthy―while also letting myself thrive.

So now, sometimes we use the bottle. Sometimes we don't. But no matter how I keep my baby fed, I know we've found the right way―guilt free.


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


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Learn + Play

Adele's albums have soothed many hearts through hard times, and now she's going through a big relationship transition of her own.

The singer is separating from her husband Simon Konecki, the father of her 6-year-old son, Angelo James.

"Adele and her partner have separated," Adele's people wrote in a statement to the Associated Press. "They are committed to raising their son together lovingly. As always they ask for privacy. There will be no further comment."

Our hearts go out to Adele. Of course, she doesn't owe anyone any further explanation or discussion of her separation, but by announcing it publicly, she is shining a light on a family dynamic that is so common but not talked about as much as it should be: Co-parenting.

Parenting with an ex is a reality for so many mothers. According to the Pew Research Center, "the likelihood of a child – even one born to two married parents – spending part of their childhood in an unmarried parent household is on the rise."

Angelo James' experience will be similar to many of his peers.

"Increases in divorce mean that more than one-in-five children born within a marriage will experience a parental breakup by age 9, as will more than half of children born within a cohabiting union," Pew notes.

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Adele and Konecki already know a thing or two about how co-parenting works, as Konecki has an older child from a previous relationship.

They can make this work because so many parents are making this work. The reality is, two parents can still be a family, and be a team for their child without being romantic partners.

Decades ago, co-parenting after a divorce wasn't the norm, and a body of research (and the experience of a generation of kids) has changed the way parents do things today. Today, divorce isn't about the end of a family. It's about the evolution of one.

Research suggests joint physical custody is linked to better outcomes for kids than divorce arrangements that don't support shared parenting and that divorced couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse"(so, are friends, basically) are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Co-parenting is good for kids, and clearly, Adele and Konecki are committed to being a team for Angelo James.

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If you've had a baby in a hospital you know that those first few nights can be really hard. There are so many benefits for babies sharing rooms with their mamas (as opposed to being shipped off to those old-school, glassed-in nurseries) but tired mamas have a lot of conflicting messages coming at them.

You're told to bond with your baby, but not to fall asleep with them in the bed, and to let them rest in their bassinet. But when you're recovering from something that is (at best) the most physically demanding thing a person can do or (at worst) major surgery, moving your baby back and forth from bed to bassinette all night long sure doesn't sound like fun.

That's why this photo of a co-sleeping hospital bed is going viral again, four years after it was first posted by Australian parenting site Belly Belly. The photo continues to attract attention because the bed design is enviable, but is it real? And if so, why aren't more hospitals using it?

The bed is real, and it's Dutch. The photo originated from Gelderse Vallei hospital. As GoodHouskeeping reported back in 2015, the clip-on co-sleepers were introduced as a way to help mom and baby pairs who needed extended hospital stays—anything beyond one night in the maternity ward.

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Plenty of moms stateside wish we had such beds in our maternity wards, but as but Dr. Iffath Hoskins, an OB-GYN, told Yahoo Parenting in 2015, the concept wouldn't be in line with American hospitals' safe sleeping policies.

"If the mother rolls over from exhaustion, there would be the risk of smothering the baby," she told Yahoo. "The mother's arm could go into that space in her sleep and cover the baby, or she could knock a pillow to the side and it's on the baby."

Hoskins also believes that having to get in and out of bed to get to your baby in the night is good for moms who might be otherwise reluctant to move while recovering from C-sections. If you don't move, the risk of blood clots in the legs increases. "An advantage of being forced to get up for the baby is that it forces the mother to move her legs — it's a big plus. However painful it can be, it's important for new moms to move rather than remaining in their hospital beds."

So there you have it. The viral photo is real, but don't expect those beds to show up in American maternity wards any time soon.

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A new study has some people thinking twice about kissing their bearded partners, or maybe even letting those with beards kiss the baby—but there's a lot to unpack here.

According to Swiss researchers, bearded men are carrying around more bacteria than dogs do. A lot more. But read on before you send dad off to the bathroom with a razor and ask him to pull a Jason Momoa (yes, he's recently clean-shaven. RIP Aquaman's beard).

As the BBC reports, scientists swabbed the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs. When they compared the samples, they learned beards have a higher bacterial load than dog fur.

Dudes who love their beards are already clapping back against the way the science was reported in the media though, noting that the sample size in this study was super small and, importantly, that the scientists didn't swab any beardless men.

The study wasn't even about beards, really. The point of the study, which was published in July 2018 in the journal European Radiology, was to determine if veterinarians could borrow human MRI machines to scan dogs without posing a risk to human patients.

"Our study shows that bearded men harbour significantly higher burden of microbes and more human-pathogenic strains than dogs," the authors wrote, noting that when MRI scanners are used for both dogs and humans, they're cleaned very well after veterinary use, and actually have a "lower bacterial load compared with scanners used exclusively for humans."

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Another important point to note is that most bacteria aren't actually dangerous to humans, and some can be really good for us (that's why some scientists want us to let our kids get dirty).

This little study wasn't supposed to set off a beard panic, it was just supposed to prove that dogs and people can safely share an MRI machine. There is previous research on beards and bacteria though, that suggests they're not all bad.

Another study done in 2014 and published in the Journal of Hospital Infection looked at a much larger sample of human faces (men who work in healthcare), both bearded and clean shaven, and actually found that people who shaved their faces were carrying around more Staph bacteria than those with facial hair.

"Overall, colonization is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair; however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair," the researchers wrote.

A year after that, a local news station in New Mexico did its own "study" on beards, one that wasn't super scientific but did go viral and prompted a flurry of headlines insisting beards are as dirty as toilets. That claim has been debunked.

So, before you ban bearded people from kissing the baby (or yourself) consider that we all have some bacteria on our faces. Dads should certainly wash their beards well, but they're not as dirty as a toilet.

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New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo is on a mission to level the playing field for young women and provide them with the tools for success. In 2017, he implemented free two- and four-year public colleges for New Yorkers, and now Cuomo is adding a budget proposal that would provide on-site childcare at community colleges.

Under the proposal, single parents participating in the program would also have access to tutoring and help when applying to four-year schools. It's the kind of idea that could be a game changer for parents in New York state.

Currently, childcare centers are subsidized for student-parents but can still cost parents $50-$60 a week; under Cuomo's budget proposal, childcare would be free. Students who are already enrolled in similar programs acknowledge that the benefits are enormous.

"As a single parent of two children going to school full time, I wouldn't be able to come to school and afford for childcare," says Michelle Trinidad, a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and parent to a 4 and 5-year-old. "Thank goodness for BMCC Early Childhood Center that is very much affordable. It gives me the opportunity to advance my career and be confident that my son is in good hands. School is hard enough on its own, having reliable child care means a lot to me and my children."

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The plan is a part of Cuomo's 2019 women's justice agenda, legislation that addresses the gender wage gap, as well as economic and social justice for all New York women. According to a 2017 report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, 11% of undergraduates, or 2.1 million students, were single mothers as of 2012, which has doubled since 2000. Additionally, that same study found that 4 in 10 women at two-year colleges say that they are likely or very likely to drop out of school due to their dependent care obligations.

"This is an exciting initiative for New York that addresses a critical need, and if implemented, will have a far-reaching impact on various aspects of society, especially for the next generation," says Ryan Lee-James, PhD an Assistant Professor at Adelphi University. "I view this initiative as both a direct and indirect pathway to address the well-documented achievement gap between children reared in poverty and those growing up with higher income families, as it provides moms, who otherwise may not have had the opportunity, to further their education and thus, afford their children more opportunities."

Additionally, many view campus childcare as a safe haven for college students. "During my 18 years working in campus childcare, I have witnessed how the student-parents can complete their courses and stay focused by having childcare on campus," says Sori Palacio, a Head Teacher at BMCC Early Childhood Center. "Parents usually express how thankful they are for having their children traveling with them to school as well as having their children nearby while they complete their degree. They concentrate in academic work without worrying about their child's wellbeing. This service helps the entire public by preparing more people to serve the community."

Parents have so many barriers when it comes to accessing higher education, but free childcare could be a game changer that benefits multiple generations.

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