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This is a submission in our monthly contest. January’s theme is “Wild.” Enter your own here!

You know what’s wild? Kids’ birthday parties in the new millennium. Their Pinterest perfection, their thematic orchestration. They’re wildly popular, and wildly horrible.

I know, I know, I’m taking a risk here in sharing my true feelings about children’s birthday parties. My children are still quite young. They stand a fighting chance of getting invited to another birthday party in their lives. That is, until their friends’ parents read the wildly-scathing remarks of Birthday McCrankypants.

But I believe there are a few things worth examining here in the new millennium where children’s milestones seem wildly overblown.

Thing the first about the wild business Children’s Birthdays

I think it’s patently wild that invitations still suggest to RSVP by calling a phone number. Do these parents not know that phones weigh 700 pounds?

We’ve only met briefly, Parents of Kids’ Friends, which means if I try to call, I’ll get super-duper nervous, my voice will go up a whole octave, and I’ll probably get my kid disinvited. In my wildest dreams, we receive non-group text messages inviting us to a low-key gatherings that I could just reply to via text message. Wildly favorable.

Thing the Second

If your invitation includes a gift registry, I will totally comply but the whole time I will be thinking, This is some wild bougie behavior. What will your children have to look forward to when they get married?

Also, a gift registry sends a strong message: your gift is your entrance ticket to my kid’s party. Ouch.

Thing the Third

If the venue of your child’s birthday party involves any manner of inflatable jumping apparatus or fuzzy characters that walk around and throw tickets, you’re both a hero and a wild vigilante. We all love any excuse to run down our kids’ battery in a contained space, but I know that typically you need to have parents chaperone these kinds of parties if the kids are not yet of legal voting age.

These types of venues? They give me a migraine. If I have to go, I might have to hide in the corner and bite my sleeve while whimpering something about how I almost drowned in the ball jump in a McDonald’s Playland in 1984 and maybe that’s what happened to Grimace and the Fry Burgler. Has anyone checked on them?

Thing the Fourth

If you invite the whole class as well as your neighborhood, extended family, and the stepfather of the dog of your pilates instructor’s mail carrier, you’re just going to have to accept that your kid is going to cry at her own party. Maybe not even because she wants to, but because that wildly-untamed crowd would overwhelm a politician.

Thing the Fifth

It’s always helpful when invitations state whether food will be served at the party. For example, if you’ll be serving gummi worms, cupcakes, doughnuts, ice cream, and Girl Scout cookies with a Yoohoo chaser, followed by a pinata full of Jolly Ranchers and a send-off of s’mores and choco-dipped goodie bags, I’d just like to know in advance so I can be prepared for the diabetic coma into which my children will slip later that night. Know before you go, and all that.

I guess that about covers it. I know these are all First World requests and that every birthday celebration is a sweet one, marking the passing of another year of the life of a child who is healthy enough to celebrate.

But might it be a wildly unfavorable idea to tame down the wild overdoing it of children’s birthday parties? What if, instead of brand new gifts, we all agreed to wrap a used but beloved book or board game for the birthday boy or girl? Or what if we all agreed that our kids have enough crap and to please encourage the birthday guests to make a donation toward the local children’s hospital?

Is that so wildly outside the realm of possibility?

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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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This month isn't just the start of a new year, but the start of a new life for those due in 2019. If you're expecting a baby this year you've got plenty of celebrity company, mama.

Here are some fellow mamas-to-be expecting in 2019:

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega 

The Spy Kids actress and mom to 2-year-old Ocean will soon have to get herself a double stroller because PenaVega and her husband Carlos are expecting again.

"Holy Moly!!! Guys!!! We are having another baby!!!!" captioned an Instagram post. "Do we wake Ocean up and tell him??!! Beyond blessed and excited to continue growing this family!!! Get ready for a whole new set of adventures!!!"

Over on Carlos' IG the proud dad made a good point: " This year we will officially be able to say we have 'kids!' Our minds are blown," he write.

Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald

In January Counting On Jessa Seewald (formerly Jessa Duggar) announced via Instagram that she is pregnant with her third child with husband Ben Seewald.

We love that she was able to make the announcement in her own time, not worrying about speculation about her midsection. She's been over that for a while.

[Update: January 18, added PenaVega]

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The shape appeals to kids and the organic and gluten-free labels appeal to parents in the freezer aisle, but if you've got a bag of Perdue's Simply Smart Organics Gluten Free Chicken Breast Nuggets, don't cook them.

The company is recalling 49,632 bags of the frozen, fully cooked Simply Smart Organics Gluten Free Chicken Breast Nuggets because they might be contaminated with wood.

According to the USDA, Perdue received three complaints about wood In the nuggets, but no one has been hurt.

The nuggets were manufactured on October 25, 2018 with a "Best By" date of October 25, 2019. The UPC code is 72745-80656. (The USDA provides an example of the packaging here so you'll know where to look for the code).

In a statement on the Perdue website the company's Vice President for Quality Assurance, Jeff Shaw, explains that "After a thorough investigation, we strongly believe this to be an isolated incident, as only a minimal amount of these packages has the potential to contain pieces of wood."

If you have these nuggets in your freezer you can call Perdue 877-727-3447 to ask for a refund.

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