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How I Will Participate in the Climate March if I Can’t March

The Climate March, specifically called The People’s Climate Movement, in Washington D.C. has been in the works long before the November election and its mission – to raise awareness and action on behalf of our currently warming climate – may be political but it is in many ways non-partisan. I don’t think you need to be a parent to want to leave behind a planet on whose surface human life can survive, but it certainly gives you a big stake in the game.

Because I have a three-year-old, getting down to D.C. with, or even without, my family feels daunting at the moment. Maybe, if I can get it together, we’ll attend a sister march closer to New York, but in the meantime and after, I want to become a better environmental activist and advocate. What does that mean? I am obviously no expert, but I’ve read some articles and thought about some things and here’s my plan going forward:

Consuming Less*

I realize, as someone who is the opposite of a compulsive shopper (rather, I am someone who has spent all winter yearning for and in actual need of a warm throw blanket but have been unwilling to actually pony up and buy one) this will not be a feat. But it, 

a) helps me justify my excessively cautious purchasing practices, and

b) sets an example for my son that acquiring stuff is not the key to happiness.

Perhaps in ten to twenty years, he’ll agree! It’s so easy as a parent to buy and acquire things to entertain your kids, but so much of it has a painfully short shelf life. Borrowing or buying used toys and clothes and passing them along is a boon to the planet, but I know I need to buy fewer tiny plastic yogurt containers, plastic food pouches, and other adorable kid-friendly single use foods that produce more waste than they do nutrition. It’s hard to do battle with convenience as a busy parent, but I know I need to try!  

*Consuming less, its worth noting, is slightly different from conscious consumerism, and you can read about the flaws in the latter here.

Not eating so much meat

This quick read on what might happen if you raise your kid a vegetarian is inspiring. Its author, Cody Lindquist, explained her raising-a-vegetarian rationale to me: “So many people have meat at the center of every meal not because they love it, by because they think it’s part of a healthy diet.

When we realized we could get everything we needed for our son through veggies, dairy, eggs, beans, nuts, and fruit it was a no brainer to get rid of it. If everyone just cut back on the amount of meat they ate, we’d go a long way towards limiting our carbon emissions!” We’re not entirely meat-free yet, but I’ve been making heartier vegetarian pasta dishes and they’ve been shockingly well received.  

Calling my Reps

Calling your reps daily has been incredibly intimidating for me so I try to call once a week instead. I’m in New York so much of the time calling just involves a thank you (YES, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, and Yvette Clark) for fighting on behalf of clean air and water. But the devil is in the details and there is so much more to fight for, like the kind of regulations that’ll protect our water, air, parks, and food going forward.

As the writer of the conscious consumerism article linked to above, Alden Wicker, says, “If you really care about the environment, climb on out of your upcycled wooden chair and get yourself to a town hall meeting.”

Educating myself

Our local chapter of 350.org has a helpful explanation of the power of divesting from fossil fuel. According to Brooklyn350, “26 state governments, 22 counties, and 90 cities, including some of the nation’s biggest, took their money from multinationals that did business in [South Africa]. The South African divestment campaign helped break the back of the Apartheid government and usher in an era of democracy and equality.”

Like most parents, I have to be really mindful of what little free time I’ve got, but it takes five to fifteen minutes to learn a little more about ways to protect our planet. I forget how we have the opportunity every day to vote with our wallets and our investments and I want to work harder to vote with mine.

Giving some time or dollars

OK, this, for many families at many different times, is just not in the cards! The necessity of activism, however, will only go away when enough of us join the fight. Since I’m not feeling flush at the moment, I’m planning to have my husband stay home one night while I meet a friend at a Brooklyn 350 meeting or environmental documentary screening.

It’s such a small thing, I know, and a privilege, too, that I have a husband who can watch our kid while I indulge in some activism and get out for the night. I don’t know where else to start. If you don’t either, come join me!

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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.

Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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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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