My baby came a month early—before I was ‘ready’

“Accept what is. Let whatever happens happen.”

My baby came a month early—before I was ‘ready’
photo by Bella Baby Photography

For #MotherlyBirthStories |

Today was my son Bowie's due date, which I can't quite believe.

I often wonder what I'd be doing right now if he decided to arrive when he was supposed to, still content in the womb.

I have a romanticized vision of myself nesting around the house, sipping red raspberry leaf tea, reading a novel, having quiet conversations with baby before settling in for our 3rd nap of the day.

Or taking photos of our finished nursery nook, cleaning the house so guests can visit after the birth, packing our hospital bags with the utmost thought and care. M

Maybe even some last minute pampering - a pedicure, massage, gentle yoga and long walks under orange October leaves.

If anyone was NOT ready for their baby to arrive a whole month early, it was me!

But like all unexpected circumstances, it makes for a great story.

One that has taken me quite some time to sit down and write—let alone find the time between feedings to piece it all together.

It's long and detailed and a bit graphic, but I want to be able to look back on this 20 years from now and remember every single moment of the happiest day of our lives.

On September 19th, we attended our friends' 80's-themed wedding reception in full costume.

I wore an oversized shoulder-padded blazer over a short sequined mini dress and nude nylons with crimped, teased hair.

Hal wore pegged jeans, suspenders down around his waist, and straightened his hair with a deep side part so it strategically fell over one eye.

We took a few awkward prom pics, danced to the Spazmatics (for as long as I could in 3-inch pointy pumps) and were sitting down for a rest when I felt a small gush in my underwear. I

excused myself to go to the restroom. But the little gush turned into a larger one as I scurried across the dance floor—leaving a trail behind me!

This can't be my water, it just can't.

In the bathroom, I stripped down my pantyhose and gushed some more.

I texted Hal: “bring my bag - I think my water broke!"

My heart was racing when we got in the car. Is this really happening?

Panic set in as I listed off all the things we didn't get done.

The car seats weren't installed, the IKEA-hack dresser / changing table wasn't complete, our house was a complete disaster zone.

I lamented over all the business projects I didn't get a chance to finish.

And tears welled up in my eyes when I thought about the maternity photoshoot we would have to cancel.

Hal convinced me to not jump to conclusions and call the hospital for advice.

So I left them a message and we waited for a response.

At home, I continued to gush on the toilet when our midwife called me back.

Even though I wasn't feeling contractions, she wanted us to come in to make sure it was indeed my amniotic fluid that was leaking.

If not, she'd send us back home.

But if it was, she said GET READY TO HAVE A BABY TONIGHT! Gulp.

Hal relayed the information to my parents and our doula. I hung up the phone and began to cry.

Please be a false alarm.

Please be a false alarm!

Racing around the house in a packing frenzy, I grabbed the smallest set of newborn pajamas I could find and searched for something to wear myself when I realized I hadn't done laundry!

Disgusted, I threw some dirty clothes into the bag and tried not to think about the cute birthing outfit, robe, socks and other hospital “essentials" I was planning to acquire later that week.

I hadn't even emailed the Birth Preferences worksheet to our midwives yet.

So I printed out a few copies to give to the staff upon arrival.

After a nervous 10-minute drive to the hospital, we were escorted to the very last birthing room available.

Apparently, everyone in Seattle was having a baby that night!

We'd been told just one day prior that they're rarely at full capacity.

I couldn't help but wonder what big celestial event was going on to warrant so many babies being born.

As it turned out, that weekend fell smack dab in between the two September eclipses, hmmm.

The nurses hooked my belly up to the monitor and ran a few tests. They concluded that the fluid was definitely amniotic, as suspected.

This is really happening.

Around 10pm, our midwife came in and explained that labor would need to start very soon, because there's a high risk for infection after your water breaks.

She gave us time alone in the room to see if the contractions would start naturally.

If they didn't, she recommended Pitocin to get the ball rolling. I wanted a drug-free birth with no interventions, so that wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear.

Hal put on some Nina Simone as I paced the room, waiting for contractions to start.

Every now and then, I'd feel some mild cramping, which Hal started timing.

Later, he told me that it was hard to take me seriously walking around with my crimped 80's hair!

Since I was 4-weeks early, the baby monitor had to stay permanently strapped to my belly throughout the entire labor.

And it wasn't cordless—so I had to haul it around like a purse everywhere I went, even in the shower or tub.

I remember getting tangled up in it often.

Highly annoying and itchy, but I grew to appreciate it later on as it showed the peaks of my contractions and let us know that the baby was okay.

My parents arrived around this time, but I wasn't in the best of moods.

I was worried about the potential complications of a preterm birth. Would our baby be fully developed?

Would he have to stay in the NICU?

Already, nothing seemed to be going as planned. Which is laughable really.

Because if you've ever given birth, or know someone who has, you'll know it very rarely does.

Maybe it was the daily positive conditioning from my Hypnobabies tracks, but not once did I consider how I'd react if the birthing experience was anything other than what I imagined.

Hal took me for a walk around the hospital halls to get my head straight and put things into perspective.

Accept what is.

Let whatever happens happen.

And focus on what's important—bringing our beautiful boy into the world.

And that's when I decided to stop letting my fears ruin the experience, as they were no doubt inhibiting my body from doing what it was supposed to.

Around 1am, the midwife checked in on us, suggesting Pitocin yet again.

I refused, knowing deep down that my baby would come when he was ready.

She offered to give us a few more hours.


We set out my mom's crystals, diffused some lavender essential oil, and settled in for the night.

Hal on the couch, my mom in the rocking chair, and me in the bed with headphones listening to my Hypnobabies tracks.

The threat of being induced motivated me. I remember silently talking to our baby, begging him to make his move sooner rather than later.

He must have heard me.

The mild cramping became stronger, waking me up from a light sleep.

Around 5am, active labor had officially begun!

Hal called our doula, Vivianne, to let her know it was time. She arrived soon after and helped me with the breast pump because nipple stimulation is a great way to speed things up.

I remember being intimidated by the breast pump, not knowing what to expect - my nipples are extremely sensitive!

But it wasn't so bad, just a strange and slightly irritating sensation.

After a while on the pump, my contractions were definitely getting stronger.

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First I labored in a semi-squatting position on the bed.

They placed a handrail near the foot of the bed so I could hold onto it during contractions.

There was a giant mound of pillows behind my back to lean back on in between.

This felt good for early labor, but the constant squatting eventually got to me.

One thing I wasn't expecting was the shakes!

My adrenaline was so pumped up, I shivered during most of early labor.

I felt like a newborn fawn whenever I tried to walk to the bathroom to relieve myself.

The nurse kept taking my temperature to make sure I wasn't getting a fever.

We tried a few other positions to get comfortable.

One was standing up and holding onto Hal for support, but I wasn't having it.

I felt a strong urge to sit down and lean forward during the pain.

Someone brought in a birthing ball for me to sit on.

This felt wonderful.

During contractions, I'd lean into a pile of pillows on the bed, rotating my hips on the ball.

Around this time, I started to get in a good groove with my support team.

Vivianne was right beside me during each contraction, telling me when they were almost over.

My mom and Hal took turns placing cold washcloths over my neck and bringing me water to sip through a straw with occasional bites of applesauce.

They gave me so much positive encouragement, telling me how strong I was, how proud they were. This was invaluable.

When your water breaks, they try not to check your cervix too often to eliminate the risk of infection.

But after awhile, I got curious about my dilation.

It felt like I was laboring intensely for quite some time - I had to be pretty far along. I requested a check and to my extreme disappointment, I was only 4 cm.

I remember looking at Hal with tears in my eyes, not knowing how I could continue laboring for another 6 cm.

Someone suggested a shower to relieve some pain.

I was ready to try anything. I stripped down and sat on a stool in the shower stall while Hal sprayed hot water on my back.

It felt wonderful.

But that was short-lived. The shower stall was tiny and I was beginning to feel claustrophobic.

After the shower, we found another good position to labor in.

I sat on the foot of the bed and leaned into the birthing ball during contractions, which I noticed were coming less frequently.

I welcomed this break, as I was able to lean back on pillows and fall asleep in between the pressure waves.

I always knew my expert narcoleptic sleeping skills would come in handy!

However, it was a strange sensation because I wouldn't exactly call it sleep.

I was in a beautiful, spiritual space—peaceful beyond words. That place you go in deep meditation, almost out of body.

The nurses came in to check on us, as they noticed the contractions getting further and further apart.

We were regressing. If they didn't start speeding up in the next hour, they would need to start inducing.

Again, the threat of Pitocin revved me up.

I played Hypnobabies again using one headphone earbud, while listening to thunderstorms, ocean waves and singing bowls ( on our bluetooth speaker.

At the same time, Vivianne did acupressure on my hands and feet.

Almost immediately, my contractions sped up.

This is when things start to get a little foggy.

The pain was SO intense with very short breaks in between.

As soon as one contraction ended, another one began with no time to relax.

I remember getting into a powerful rhythmic rocking movement with the birthing ball, swaying from side to side, while Hal and my mom switched off rubbing my lower back.

All my concentration was on the breath.

At one point, I felt a major urge to poo. They told me that was a good sign - that the baby has dropped. So they checked my cervix and I was 7 cm.

Progress! Soon the urge became more than an urge—I felt a strong NEED to push!

They told me not to, because I wasn't fully dilated. Easier said than done. Not pushing felt nearly impossible. I surprised myself with loud, guttural grunts. He wants to come out now!

Someone suggested the birthing tub, since water slowed things down for me earlier. They would just need 15 minutes to get it ready.

During which time, Vivianne reminded me to focus on my breathing like never before. If I broke concentration for even a millisecond, the urge to push overcame me and I'd be gasping for air.

Instinctively, I moved onto the bed on all fours when the nurses said the tub was ready. The midwife decided to check my cervix one last time and amazingly, I had gone from 7 to 10 cm in those 15 minutes of tub preparation!

We were regressing. If they didn't start speeding up in the next hour, they would need to start inducing.

She gave me the green light to push.

“You're having a baby!" she exclaimed.

And I hear Hal break down with emotion.

I never felt so much love for him as I did right then.

He grabbed my hand as I began to push.

And strangely enough, the act of pushing, although painful, was a huge relief from the struggle of not pushing.

In between contractions, I leaned back in child's pose to rest and muster up enough energy to push some more.

Maybe 10 minutes had passed before I felt the sharp “ring of fire" during crowning.

But it was a temporary pain. And before I knew it, our midwife asked me if I wanted to touch the head. I reached down in between my legs and was amazed by how squishy it felt.

A few more final pushes and one primal roar... his head emerged!

Then his shoulders and body followed. At 12:36 pm, OUR BABY WAS BORN!

I flipped onto my back as they brought him to rest on my belly.

Our sweet beautiful boy.

He was warm and familiar.

Extra alert, taking in the world.

We immediately locked eyes, through tears, communicating love without words.

That moment will stay with me forever.

After delivering the placenta, my mom cut the umbilical cord after it stopped pulsing and they brought him up to rest on my chest.

Hal and I laughed and cried together, marveling over this perfect tiny being we created.

Those long fingers, big ears and wispy blonde hair!

I had a very minor vaginal tear that was stitched up while holding him my arms.

But I was too busy cuddling our babe to care.

When asked his name, I initially told the nurses we hadn't yet decided between the two we were considering.

We wanted to wait and see what he looked like.

But Hal said he knew.

And with that, so did I. Bowie Ocean was introduced to the world.

Thinking back on this day, I feel empowered and proud.

I trusted and surrendered to my body and my baby.

I found a strength in myself I never knew existed.

And despite his surprise early arrival, we ended up having the birth I had imagined after all - relatively short (7 hours), unmedicated and uncomplicated.

Although weighing only 5 lbs, 14 oz, he was healthy and we were released from the hospital in 24 hours. I feel so very fortunate.

Bowie, if you're reading this one day—you've made your Papa and I the happiest we've been.

Thank you for choosing us as parents and allowing us to experience this incomparable, indescribable, unconditional love.


Shannon Eileen is a Seattle-based mama, artist-designer, singer-songwriter, reiki healer and lifestyle blogger at Happiness Is.

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    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter


    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.


    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.


    Lumbar pillow


    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?


    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class


    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)


    Secret Agent play set


    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Stepping Stones


    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.


    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Sensory play set


    Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Foam pogo stick


    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.




    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.


    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.


    Pull-along ducks


    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Rocking chair seesaw


    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

    Eager to get out and go? Start here

    Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

    Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

    With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

    As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

    If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

    Tayla™️ XP Travel System

    Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.

    Add to Babylist


    Iora Bedside Bassinet

    Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.

    Add to Babylist


    Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

    Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.

    Add to Babylist


    Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

    A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.

    Add to Babylist


    Coral XP Infant Car Seat

    With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.

    Add to Babylist


    Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

    From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.

    Add to Babylist


    Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

    Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.

    Add to Babylist


    Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

    With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.

    Add to Babylist

    Tayla Travel System

    This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.

    Add to Babylist

    Modern Diaper Bag

    When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.

    Add to Babylist


    Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

    Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.

    Add to Babylist

    Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

    From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.

    Add to Babylist

    Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

    This article was sponsored by Maxi-Cosi. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Boost 1
    The Children's Place

    We can't lie to you—the idea of matching family holiday pajamas gets us all sorts of giddy inside. They're the perfect early holiday present for kids to wear on holiday mornings and the best excuse to wear loungewear all day long.

    In recent years, tons of awesome brands have jumped on the bandwagon, but we have to give a shout out to the OG of Holiday Fam Jams, Hanna Andersson. They just dropped their Holiday 2021 line and are already selling out super fast. In case your fingers aren't speedy enough, we've rounded up a variety of offerings from Hanna and our other tried-and-trues from The Children's Place to Amazon.

    So snuggle up next to the fire 🔥, grab some hot chocolate ☕, and get ready to rock these comfy, cozy matching PJs this holiday season. Shop our favorite looks below!

    Hanna Andersson Bright Bulbs Collection


    Iconic brand Hanna Andersson pretty much wrote the book on matching family PJs, and we could not love them more. There are so many Insta-worthy styles to choose from, you're going to have trouble choosing just one. Prices start at $35.20 for kids.


    Hanna Andersson Hanukkah Matching Family Pajamas


    New to the Hanna collection this year–the coziest way to celebrate the Festival of Lights! Prices start at $38.40.


    Pottery Barn Kids Heritage Santa Family

    Pottery Barn Kids Heritage Santa Family

    A vintage take on a classic look—full of Santa and trees! Pick from a nightgown for kids, adult flannels or a one-piece for kiddos. Prices start at $46.


    Pottery Barn Kids The Grinch Matching Family Pajamas

    Pottery Barn Kids The Grinch Matching Family Pajamas

    It's basically law that you have to serve hot chocolate and fire up the beloved holiday classic when wearing these. Prices start at $46.


    Sleepyheads Holiday

    matching pajamas

    Made for lounging, Sleepyheads' pajamas have the cutest polar bear designs. These would make the most adorable Christmas morning pictures! Infant pajamas start at $16.99.


    PajamaGram Candy Cane Stripe Set


    Even the pups can get in on these classic stripe pjs. Prices start at $24.99


    PajamaGram Green and Red Plaid Pajamas

    PajamaGram Green and Red Plaid Pajamas

    These comfy plaid PJs will keep everyone nice and warm this season. The theme isn't holiday specific and can be worn all winter long! Prices start at $22.49


    Gray Striped Collection

    gray striped matching pajamas

    If you're not into the holiday colors, or want sets that work outside of the season, we love this minimalist gray striped set. Perfect for cozy days all year long. Prices start at $14.99.


    The Children's Place Bear Buffalo Plaid Pajamas

    The Children's Place Bear Buffalo Plaid Pajamas

    There's nothing more classic than buffalo check during the holidays. This one even has nightgowns available! (For kids and dolls!) Prices start at $13.97.


    The Children's Place Buffalo Plaid Pajamas

    The perfect pair for your holiday Instagram photo. Prices starting at $13.97.


    The Children's Place Glow-in-the-Dark Santa Pajamas

    The Children's Place Glow-in-the-Dark Santa Pajamas

    Glow in the dark Santa jammies? Yes please! Prices start at $17.47


    Burt's Bees Baby Family Jammies

    matching family pajamas burts bees

    Made of 100% organic cotton, you won't believe how soft these jammies are. Plus, they're breathable so if you're the type of overheat at night, these are a great option. Prices start at $39.50.


    SleepytimePjs Fleece Deer Plaid

    matching family pajamas

    You can never go wrong with buffalo plaid and this set doesn't disappoint. The baseball tees offer a more modern look and the deer head is such an adorable touch. Prices start at $36.99.


    Dinosaur Pajamas

    dinosaur pajamas

    For the dinosaur obsessed kid + family, look no further than these super fun pj's from Pat Pat. They are light weight, which is great for keeping kids cool and comfortable, and the print could not be more fun. (If dinos aren't your thing, the brand has a ton of other cute designs to choose from, too.)


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    The important safety tip parents need to know about sleep + car seats

    Why you might want to plan for more pit stops on your next road trip.

    When we become parents we don't just have to learn how to take care of a baby, we also have to learn how, when and why to use all the different kinds of baby gear.

    There is so much to learn and when it comes to car seats there is one rule many parents haven't heard of: infants shouldn't be left in car seats for more than an hour at a time, and they should never nap in a car seat outside the vehicle.

    According to multiple studies, babies are at risk for decreased oxygen levels while in car seats, especially when the car is not in motion or the trip lasts for an extended period of time. Although preterm babies or infants with respiratory conditions are most at-risk, there is good reason for all families to take proper precautions.

    As Scottish mother-of-two Kirsti Clark recently told STV, she had no idea that infants shouldn't be left in car seats for more than an hour at a time until her 3-week-old daughter, Harper, had a seizure following a car trip that went longer than expected. It was a situation not unfamiliar to many other families: The Clarks simply got stuck in traffic and then left Harper in the seat while they put their older daughter to bed.

    When Harper's father then took her out of her car seat she seemed like she could not get comfortable on his lap, Metro reports. Her father tried to settle her on a play mat and that's when the baby suffered a seizure. The Clarks rushed to the hospital where she was treated and thankfully recovered. But, Clark says one of the biggest shocks to her was that these guidelines even exist.

    "I've never once been told a child should not be in a car seat for any length of time," she told STV. "Nowhere in the instruction booklets or any guidance that we've seen online has there been anything mentioned about breathing difficulties."

    This is why some hospitals do what's known as a "car seat challenge" with preterm babies before discharge, which allows professionals to monitor the baby's cardiorespiratory stability when they're in their car seat.

    Make sure all care providers know to never use a car seat for naps 

    Sharon Evans, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children's Hospital, told WFAA News the idea that car seats can be used for naps outside the car is a pretty common misconception that needs to be cleared up.

    "There's nothing about the car seat that's designed to sleep," she told WFAA News. "Of course, if the straps aren't tight, the child can kind of slump down."

    Safety experts say parents should make sure everyone who looks after the baby, including daycare providers and babysitters, understands that they should not be placed in the car seat outside of the vehicle.

    Lisa Smith tells WFAA News she did understand the risks associated with car seat naps and didn't let her baby daughter, Mia, nap in the car seat. Tragically, at nearly 18 months old Mia was left to nap in a car seat at her licensed home daycare, and lost her life to positional asphyxia, or restricted breathing. Now Smith, like Clark, is on a mission to educate other parents to make sure this doesn't happen to another child.

    "I walk around town and see people using a car seat on the seats at restaurants or putting them on the floor at tables," Smith says, adding that she will tell Mia's story to parents when she sees a baby napping in a car seat, letting them know kindly, "'I just want you to be really careful.'"

    What parents should do

    Researchers with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society agree with Smith: The most dangerous time for a baby to be in a car seat is when they're not actually in a car. So while it may seem convenient to leave a sleeping babe in their car seat after a long trip or while you're at a restaurant, it's best to take them out right away.

    The AAP recommends that when you are using the car seat as intended in the car, plan"to stop driving and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours." In the case of babies younger than one month, some car seat researchers recommend avoiding unnecessarily long road trips.

    "Restrict it to say, no more than half an hour or so," Professor Peter Fleming, a noted car seat researcher, told the BBC. (If you've got to go farther than that, just plan for rest stops to get baby out of the car seat.)

    All this comes with one significant note: While baby is in a moving car, safely buckled into a car seat is always the safest place to be. As noted in a study The Journal of Pediatrics, babies riding in a car seat as per the manufacturer's guidelines have a very low risk of suffocation or strangulation from the harness straps.

    If we're aware of the risks and make sure to take breaks and take the baby out of the seat when the car stops, everyone can ride safely. Car seats, when used properly, are a literal lifesaver we should all be thankful for.

    [Update, September 13, 2018: Added information regarding Lisa Smith's case.]

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