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At the end of aisle four, between a display of canned pineapple and a two-for-one sale on chewy granola bars, a three-year-old writhed on the floor. When his mother tried to scoop him up and deposit him in the cart, his legs went rigid and he emitted a piercing siren of a shriek. I recognized his moves because I’d seen them before, displayed by other three-year-olds, at the end of other aisles. But this time was different. This time, the three-year-old was mine.


It felt like a parental rite of passage, that wave of rage, embarrassment, and panic washing over me. Was someone going to report me if I tried to wrestle him into the cart? Could I leave a full load of groceries in the middle of the store as I hauled my broken cherub back to the car? What about the rest of the errands I needed to run? How did we even get here? What did I do wrong?

We have all had those days where there’s no obvious fun to be had. Forms need to be signed at the bank. There are prescriptions waiting at the pharmacy and last week’s new clothes need to be exchanged for another size. The fridge is nearly empty, and the dog is out of food. The list keeps getting longer and longer, and a full day of errands stretches out before us.

I’m happy to give my kids the world, but it doesn’t always revolve around them. Now, when we head out for a day of errands, I make it easy on myself and the kids with a few simple tricks to streamline the process and sweeten the deal for everyone involved.

Parent Co. partnered with LulaKids because they believe in bringing kids along for the ride.

Clear expectations

Before we leave, I make sure my kiddos know what they can expect from the day and what I expect from them. I outline what errands we’re going to run, and I let them know if there will be an opportunity for a break or a fun stop along the way.

I’m also careful to always include a disclaimer. My favorites are “unless the plans change” and “if we have time.” This gives me an out if the day goes south and I need to scrap the plans.

I also make sure to remind my precious little heathens of what behavior I expect on-the-go. It’s easy to forget that my three-year-old doesn’t connect the dots between our last grocery trip and this one, so I find myself repeating, like a broken record, “You may choose one snack at the grocery store, but you must stay seated in the cart the entire time we’re there.” I also remind them of how we walk in the parking lot (together, slowly), how we act in gift stores (control our bodies and our voices), and how we act while waiting in line (inside voices, look with your eyes, not your hands).

Sometimes, we even practice the routines ahead of time. My boys think it’s an awesome game to “pretend” that they’re waiting in line at the post office or loading up the conveyor belt at the grocery store. Once I even made them shuffle in and out of the minivan 10 times in a row without killing one another. While these role playing games are indeed fun, they actually serve a much bigger purpose, too. They’re practice for the real thing.  

→ How to implement at home

  • Outline the errands you’re planning for the day.
  • Describe when or if there will be an opportunity for a break or fun stop.
  • Describe the behavior you expect along the way, being as specific as possible. Depending on their age, you may need to remind them before each individual stop.
  • Practice routines ahead of time, like waiting in line or getting in and out of the car. Make it a role-play game!

Strategize

Getting in and out of the car a thousand times is always a hassle, especially in the winter. Because kids shouldn’t wear bulky coats in their carseats, we tend to dress in thin layers. I especially like fleece for colder days. A fleece jacket is usually enough to keep the kids warm to and from the car, and I give them each a blanket to stay cozy in their carseats.    

I’m also big on simplifying the carseat maneuvers. At three and five, both my kids can buckle themselves in—a high priority for me. Sure, it takes them a little longer than it would take me, but it’s a huge timesaver overall to let them buckle themselves while I’m loading groceries into the trunk. By using a clip to keep the straps organized and out of the way, I could easily get them in and out as babies, and they can easily get themselves in and out now.  

→ How to implement at home

  • Dress your children in thin layers to keep them comfortable.
  • Use fleece coats and blankets in the car during winter.
  • Make car seats easier by using clips to organize the straps.

Plan around their schedule

As inconvenient as it may be, I can’t explain away a nap with my need to get to the post office before it closes, so I plan around my kids’ schedules. We can push the timing a bit more than I could when they were babies, but I still have to expect that they’re going to be hungry at snack time and tired after lunch.

By anticipating and acknowledging these very real, physical needs, I stay one step ahead. Kids who are fed and rested will always be a thousand times better setup for success than those who are tired and hungry.

→ How to implement at home

  • Plan around your child’s needs, taking naps and mealtimes into account.
  • If you know you’ll be cutting it close, bring along naptime comfort items such as lovies or milk, just in case.
  • Keep water and snacks handy around mealtimes.

Give them some control

Most of the errands that need doing are non-negotiable, but that doesn’t mean the kids have to be subject to my every whim. I try to let them take some ownership of the day by giving them responsibility for a few simple decisions.

Should we go to the bank first or the pharmacy? What music should we listen to in the car?

Should we take the route past the train station or through the tunnel? These options don’t really impact my productivity, but they give the kids a sense of ownership and control over an otherwise non-kid-centric day. When they feel like they have some control, the day usually goes more smoothly.

→ How to implement at home

  • Let kids have some ownership over the day by making them responsible for simple decisions.
  • Some examples include letting them choose your route, the order of your errands, or the soundtrack in the car.  

 

The all important ditch bag

My husband is a tugboat captain. As a family, we spend a lot of time on boats. Our ditch bag is a nautical concept—it’s the bag you’re supposed to grab if the ship sinks. On a boat, it would include things like an emergency locator beacon and MREs. In the minivan, it’s a little different.

Our ditch bag has all the essentials for a kid emergency on-the-go. If this minivan starts to sink, this is what we need to get our heads back above water: wipes, a change of clothes for each kid, some crackers and applesauce, a first aid kit, and a water bottle. When the kids were younger, we kept a portable potty back there, too. And now, buried deep in the bag, well hidden from little eyes, I keep my ace card: two lollipops.

I’m not big into food bribery, but on a day filled with errands, I sometimes need a card to trump all meltdowns, a go-to, long-lasting, all-consuming hole-in-one. Lollipops are a rare treat in our family, and if they mean the difference between sneaking in that one last errand with relatively content kids versus heading home early in a car full of tears, I’ll gladly choose the sugar on a stick every time.

→ How to implement at home

  • Keep an emergency bag in the car so you’re always prepared.
  • Consider stocking it with: wipes, a change of clothes for each child, nonperishable snacks, a basic first aid kit, portable potty, juice boxes or water, and possibly a treat in case you need to resort to bribery.

A day of back-to-back errands with the kids isn’t fun for anyone. Please introduce me to the mother who wakes up thinking, “Gee, I can’t wait to bring my kids to seven different stores full of breakables this morning!” But sometimes, it has to happen. On those days, strategizing to simplify wherever possible and keep the kids comfortable—both physically and emotionally—goes a long way toward setting everyone up for success.

It may not always be pretty, but if you can make it home before the ship sinks, you’re doing something right.

Parent Co. partnered with LulaKids because they believe in bringing kids along for the ride.

 

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

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

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

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

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

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

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

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

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

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

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

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

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

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

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

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

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

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

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

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

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

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

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

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

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

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

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

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

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

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

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

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

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

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

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

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The AAP recommends:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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