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From the moment your test says yes, until baby makes their world debut, we have tips, articles and advice to help you.

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How He Celebrated My Bump

Lots and lots of photos.

“During my first pregnancy, my husband took photos of my growing bump each week, starting when I began showing. I was always in profile so we could see the subtle changes. We still love to look at the pictures.”
—Dina Cheney, mom of two, Cos Cob, Connecticut

Sympathy gains.

“My husband celebrated my belly by putting on as much weight as I did—about 25 pounds! After we brought our baby girl home, he prepared us healthy meals and returned to running five days a week, and I eased back into yoga. I lost most of my weight within three or four months, but he lost most of his in a heartbeat. Men!”
—Christina McAnuff, mom of three, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Bedtime stories.

“When I was pregnant with our son, my husband liked to read to my belly, since we’d been told the baby could hear us by about the fifth month. He’d read anything—magazine articles, books, even instructions on how to assemble baby gear. It was a fun and a tradition we’ll always remember.”
—Elizabeth Jenkins, mom of two, Westwood, California

Gotta love a foot man.

“Chasing my toddler around while I was hugely pregnant with my second made my feet ache by the end of the day. Every night during my last trimester, my husband gave me a foot rub—after cleaning up dinner. Bonus! It was the most relaxing thing, and it made doing it all over again the next day seem possible.”
—Jill Hare, mom of two, Dexter, Missouri

Pajama party.

“One night during my third trimester, I bent over to pick up a piece of laundry and my pajama bottoms split down the middle. I ran into our bedroom, threw them in the trash and cried—I felt like a cow. My husband got a pair of his pajama pants and put them on me. They were huge, and I instantly felt better. He actually helped me feel better about my belly throughout my pregnancy, from sticking his belly out beside mine in the mirror to picking me up and acting like I was light as a feather. Love you, honey!”
—Haley Grayless, mom of one, Houston, Texas

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20 Beach-Inspired Baby Names

Summer is coming (hooray!) and that means beach days, sandy feet, and baby sun hats.

If you’re expecting a little one sometime this summer, one of these beachy names is perfect for your new arrival.

Girl Names

Ariel – How could you have a beach list without this mermaid name? If only the gorgeous red hair came along with it!

Bay – I love this modern name for a girl – it’s short and catchy and unique.

Blue – With color names becoming more and more popular (think “Jade,” “Hazel,” and “Olive”) this name is perfectly summer.

Cali – What’s more beachy than California? This shortened version of the Golden State is a perfect girl name.

Darya – This Persian name means “the sea.”

Hali – Greek for “sea,” this name is gorgeous and one that transitions nicely from baby to adult.

Maya – A Hebrew name meaning “water,” this name has spiked in popularity, hitting the top 100 in the last couple of years.

Morgan – Meaning “sea” in Welsh, this name is traditionally male but has become more popular for girls in the U.S.

Sailor – I love girl names with a masculine twist, and this is one of my recent favourites. Plus, a perfect excuse to buy some tiny sailor suits.

Summer – With a baby named Summer, you’ll have sunshine all year round.

Boy Names

Cruz – This fun name brings up thoughts of California beach town Santa Cruz.

Dylan – This is a Welsh name that means “son of the sea.” Plus, it’s a really great name!

Finn – This name may conjure up images of Huckleberry Finn, but it also has a nice ocean slant.

Hurley – An Irish name meaning “tide,” it’s hard to get more beach cool than this name.

Irving – This Scottish name means “sea friend.” How sweet is that?

Kai – This Hawaiian name means “sea,” and is also a character in the movie “Frozen.”

Ray – The ideal name for your tiny ray of sunshine.

Ronan – This Irish name means “little seal” and is currently sitting in the 400s for popularity, so it’s a perfect balance of unique but not too unusual.

Seaton – Meaning “town by the sea,” this is a last name turned first, which is an increasingly popular trend. (And for good reason! Last names make good, strong first names).

Zale – This is a Greek name that means “sea strength.” I love that it’s unusual, but not hard to spell or pronounce.

Image : Disney

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5 Fun Facts About Having a Summer Baby

My firstborn was a summer baby, born August 1st... and it was a really hot summer. But thanks to ice cream, air conditioning, breezy maternity sundresses and lots of time floating in my gym’s pool, I survived.

While you might think of the swelling, sweating and general discomfort that can come with being huge in the summer, there are actually many merits to having a summer baby. In fact, more babies are born in the summer than any other season.

So let’s hear it for summer babies! Here are some benefits to consider:

  1. The biggest plus of a summer baby is that you can take him or her out for fresh air, sunshine and Vitamin D without worrying about the germs, colds and flus of winter lurking behind every corner. I was one of those moms who took my baby out into the world immediately, though some stay indoors for a bit (listen to your doctor on that one). My husband or I strapped on the baby carrier and our newborn joined us for strolls in the park, shopping, even dining al fresco at our favourite neighbourhood spot.
  2. Nice weather means it’s easier to get your daily exercise to help you lose your baby weight. Lots of walks mean the pounds will slip off quickly.
  3. At first your baby hardly needs to wear a thing because it's so hot. Forget bundling up your little one in layers and enduring comments from strangers that you’re not dressing your baby warmly enough. My son spent his first month wearing only a onesie. So much so that the first time I tried to put long sleeves on him he freaked out. (“What’s this mom?” I can imagine him thinking.)
  4. If you’re taking maternity leave, what better time than during the summer months to be off work? If baby is born near the beginning of the season, by the end you can have him or her at the beach or dipping tiny toes into a swimming pool. And during those warm months, you get to enjoy some time lazing around outdoors while baby is napping in the shade of a cool tree.
  5. Thinking ahead…outdoor birthday parties are another bonus. Forget renting an indoor venue, we held our son’s birthday parties in the park year after year. Of course, you may have to worry about rain, but having the outdoor or backyard option is a great advantage for a bunch of rowdy toddlers. Trust me, you'll appreciate them running wild outdoors instead of messing up your living room!

Image : Getty

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Parenting Hacks: Raising a Toddler While Pregnant

Your first pregnancy was a breeze. All you had to worry about was taking care of yourself and your baby-to-be. But this time around things are completely different: you’ve got a toddler to care for, too. The thought can be daunting, I know (and I say this as someone who gave birth to three babies in a little over three years). Here are five things you need to know in order to make the most of this fun yet busy time in your life.

1. Make sleep a priority.

Sleep matters—a lot. You’ll find it easier to ride the rollercoaster of pregnancy emotions and to keep up with a busy toddler if you manage to stay on top of your pregnant body’s increased need for sleep. So take a quick power nap while a friend or relative takes your toddler for a walk around the block or, better yet, tuck yourself into bed at night the moment you’ve tucked in your toddler. Remember: sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. And, these days, you’re sleeping for two….

2. Create a “quiet time” bin.

You want to hit the couch for some quiet time. Your toddler wants to do something fun. Fortunately, you can have it both ways, if you’re smart about it. Start out by making a list of all the ways you can entertain your toddler while you’re sprawled out on the couch: playing with finger puppets, putting together puzzles, and reading stories, for example. Then round up the various bits and pieces you’ll need to buy yourself an hour or two of low-key relaxation and fun. Finally, store everything in a special “quiet time” bin so that you’ll have it when you need it.

3. Have realistic expectations of your toddler.

Sure, it would be great if your toddler acknowledged your increased need for sleep by letting you sleep in—or if he decided to cut you some slack so that you could battle morning sickness in peace, but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Your toddler is still a toddler, after all. And expecting a toddler to behave like a mini-grownup is a recipe for frustration, for him and for you. Bottom line? Try to keep your expectations of this little person toddler-sized.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to nurture that child’s pregnant mama. And pregnancy is the best excuse for waiving the white flag. So pare down your to-do list to the essentials and look for opportunities to delegate as many tasks as possible to friends and relatives—at least until you catch your pregnancy second wind.

5. Remind yourself that this is a limited time offer.

You won’t always be pregnant – and you won’t always be the parent of a toddler. Soon you'll look back with fondness on these precious early years of parenthood.

Image : Getty

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Your Maternity Winter Wardrobe Style Guide

Winter weather means cozy sweaters, warm accessories and dressing in layers, but when you’re pregnant you can easily fall into a winter wardrobe slump of sweats and shapeless knits. Instead of giving into the impulse to pile on some extra large sweaters and an oversized winter coat to get you through the winter stretch of your pregnancy, try some of these stylish options that will keep you fashionable in cold.

Sweater Dress:

A stretchy sweater dress can accommodate your growing belly and keep you on trend. Maternity sweater dresses will be knit with extra stretch in the middle, and keep it’s shape better than a regular sized dress, which may be the better choice if you’ll be in your second or third trimester during the winter. Pair with tights and you’ve got an office ready outfit too!

Bold Accessories:

A printed scarf, statement necklace and sparkly earrings are an easy way to punch up a simple solid sweater or otherwise monotone winter outfit.  Having a few scarves with different colour combinations and patterns is an especially cost-effective way to accessorize your way through the winter and change up the basic maternity clothes you may already have.

Textured Leggings:

It’s hard to imagine a maternity wardrobe that doesn’t include leggings. In the winter there are more options, patterns, heavier fabrications such as corduroy, suede-like cotton, and wool. Leggings easily grow with your pregnant belly and may be your go-to item post-pregnancy too, so invest in a few different pairs that will allow you to change up your winter look easily.

Low and Stacked Heel Booties:

Knee high boots will most likely not have the stretch in the calves to allow you to comfortably wear them through your pregnant winter, so it’s best to invest in some ankle height booties that you can wear with leggings, tights and jeans all winter long. Make sure your soles are sturdy and heel should be flat or very low and stacked to provide good balance.

A Real Maternity Coat:

If you’re well into your second trimester, or in your third, during the winter you will live in your winter coat, so get one that fits you well. You can check second hand stores or neighbourhood list serves for a gently used maternity coat, since this can be a bigger ticket item. But you’ll be thankful that you have it once you’re wearing it every day!

Layering Items:

Stock up on maternity t-shirts and tank tops that you can layer under sweaters, cardigans and blazers all winter long.  The extra length from the maternity styles will carry you through the winter and ensure that your expanding belly stays covered. And these are pieces that you will probably use after giving birth as well, so buy a bunch in basic colours that go under everything.

It just takes a few key pieces to transition stylishly from fall to winter. It’s worth investing in winter wardrobe upgrades that will keep you feeling put together and fashionable throughout the colder months, no matter what the occasion or size of your belly!

Image:Getty

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Masculine and Feminine Versions of Baby Names

When picking a name for your baby, there are many considerations. Are you naming your baby after a family member? Is there a special meaning you wanted to convey, or name that’s always been dear to your heart? If you’re not planning to find out the gender of your baby, you may want to look into names that have both a masculine and feminine version.  This can be especially cute if you’re having boy/girl twins!

In many languages adding a diminutive suffix to the masculine form of the name usually feminizes the names. Often this means adding an “a”, “ia”, or “ina” to the end of the male name to create the complementary female version. Typical examples of this pattern include:

  • Joseph/Josephina
  • Robert/Roberta
  • Kyle/Kyla
  • Antonio/Antonia
  • Louis/Louisa
  • Stephan/Stephania/Stephanie
  • Brian/Brianna
  • George/Georgia
  • Felix/Felicia
  • Claude/Claudia
  • Alexander/Alexandra
  • Eric/Erica
  • Simon/Simone/Simona
  • Andrew/Andrea
  • Carl/Carla
  • Philip/Philippa

Sometimes there are different variations of the male and female names that are not always as obvious, but are directly linked.  These are names such as:

  • Charles/Charlotte
  • David/Davina
  • William/Wilhelmina/Billie

Many names that were once traditionally masculine have now become more popular as girl names. In this case, the masculine and feminine versions are the same. There are also names that are spelled slightly different given their gender, but are pronounced the same. Names that fall under this category include:

  • Dana
  • Frances/Francis
  • Avery
  • Emery
  • Noah/Noa
  • Skylar
  • Jessie/Jesse
  • Jordan
  • Dylan
  • Bobby/Bobbie
  • Sidney
  • Morgan
  • Ryan

There are so many variations on names that can easily adapt to the gender of your new baby. Don’t be shy about feminizing a male name that you’ve always loved in order to use it for a baby girl. If you’re having multiples of different sexes you can have fun mixing and matching male and female names that derive from the same master name.  You can also apply this tactic when naming siblings, so that they match up, or to correlate with your and your partner’s name.

Although choosing the perfect name for your baby can be stressful, before you know it, your baby will be responding with smiles and bright eyes every time you call their name.  So don’t be afraid of creating your own version of a favorite name if it doesn’t seem to fit the traditional gender mold, you just might start the next gender-neutral trend!

 

Image : Getty

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5 Tips to Consider When Choosing A Maternity Dress

Finally the time has come when you actually look pregnant, as your tiny bump begins to grow…and grow. Now it’s time to go shopping for some maternity dresses to keep you comfortable and cool in all seasons. But how do you know what to look for?

We spoke to Lili Del Cueto, mother of three and founder of Olian Maternity for her best tips when choosing a dress for your expanding belly.

1. Should you try to hide your baby bump?

Current fashion trends encourage pregnant women to celebrate their expanding waistlines. “Show that bump,” says Del Cueto. “Be happy and proud. Today, there are so many beautiful pieces that are designed to highlight the beauty of a pregnant body.” To that effect, avoid voluminous amounts of fabrics and look for stretchy jersey materials that have style and shape to embrace the curves of your body. Tie-backs and gathers can help a dress flatter your changing figure.

 2. Long or short?

You can’t go wrong when choosing either a long or short dress. A dress that falls to the knee or slightly above makes your legs look longer and has the effect of balancing your expanding torso, she says. A long style covers everything and is super comfortable, plus you don't have to worry about the shoes you will be wearing. Sneakers anyone? Whether you go long or short really depends on your mood for the day and what fun activities you have planned.

3. Prints or stripes? Bright colors or muted ones?

As with everything in life, go with what works for you, says Del Cueto. Having a baby bump should not change your sense of style.  Do you love simple stripes? They can actually flatter your bump. If you have always been a fan of prints, why change? Just keep in mind that it’s better to choose a slimming all-over print, than a dress with areas of negative space, especially if they highlight certain areas of the body. “The empty space tends to visually accentuate the spot it lands on, so if it happens to fall on your expanding belly, breasts or rear, it’s a double whammy from an attention standpoint.”

As for color, let your wardrobe mirror this happy time in your life. Choose colors that accentuate the glow of your skin, which may be different than it was pre-pregnancy. If you think bright colors and patterns draw too much attention, go with solid colors in a palette that makes you feel good.

4. Empire waist or no waistline?

“Belting above your bump to balance your legs is a great favorite of mine,” says Del Cueto. A stretchy belt can be used below the bra line to create an empire waist. Some silhouettes work well on a growing body, including A-line shifts and loose-fitting dresses as well.

 5. Do you find a dress that fits now or one that will grow with you?

One of our key objectives during the design process is to identify fabrics and fits that can both accommodate an expanding bump and still be used post-maternity, explains Del Cueto. She often uses a spandex blend that expands for comfort during pregnancy and can gather back when that extra space is no longer needed. A classic wrap dress, for example, is an incredibly comfortable and fashionable piece during all stages of pregnancy and postpartum, she says. The waist tie can simply and easily be adjusted to fit to the desired comfort level and size. 


Image : Getty

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Which Baby Shower is Best for You?

Super fun baby showers are all about the theme. And the secret to picking the right one is to make it all about you! Baby showers that reflect the personality of the mom-to-be make the day even more meaningful because they celebrate your individuality. So if you see yourself represented in the list below, give your family and friends a little hint by sharing your idea.

Full of surprises

If you’re never a bore and always the life of the party, then a gender reveal baby shower might be for you. This exciting way to share the news of whether baby will be a boy or a girl keeps everyone in suspense. Your guests can vote on what sex they believe baby will be and discuss the reasons for their guess throughout the party. At dessert time, reveal the big news by coloring the frosting pink or blue inside your cake or cupcakes.

Far from home

Maybe you’re living overseas or just on opposite coasts. Wherever you may be, if you find yourself living far from family and friends you may want to consider a virtual baby shower. Even though it definitely can’t replace being there, it does give everyone a way to celebrate when getting together is not an option. Shower hosts can ask “guests” to ship gifts to you by a certain date and then they can watch you open them via video chat. Your shower could actually last for weeks if your hosts plan activities and chats online!  

Ladies only

Planning on your shower being an intimate gathering with your closest friends only? Consider having a tea party baby shower. It’s relaxing, great for catching up and easy for your hosts to organize too. Food items can be finger sandwiches, dainty portions of soup or salad and sweets such as scones or crumpets. Teacups and fancy linens are another way to add an easy and elegant touch.

Glued at the hip

Are you and your partner totally inseparable? If your guy has been interested and involved in every aspect of your pregnancy, then you are probably not going to want to exclude him from the shower celebration. Having a couples baby shower works as long as other guys are invited and activities and food reflect everyone’s interests and tastes.

Books are for babies

A mommy-to-be who wants to build a library for baby should definitely consider a book baby shower. This can be a great shower for friends or co-workers to host. Guests are asked to give only a book as a gift and can even be encouraged to make it one of their childhood favorites. Nursery rhymes and classic children’s books can be used to inspire the decorations. This is a shower where everyone will leave feeling good knowing that their gift will play a part in boosting baby’s brain power. 


Image : Getty

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Top Baby Names from Across the Globe

One thing that most parents-to-be in this world can relate to is the desire to pick the perfect name for their little one. Exploring top picks from parents in other countries is a great way to discover what’s trending in a wide variety of cultures.

This approach to generating baby names can be a fun option for globetrotting parents, multicultural families or anyone who’s looking for a name that’s different, beautiful and unique.

Whatever your reasons for reading on may be, you’re sure to find plenty of international inspiration for your baby’s name here.

 

Brazil

This is the largest country in South America and the only one on the continent to have Portuguese as its official language.

Favorite Brazilian names

Girls:   Alice, Sophia, Julia, Laura, Isabella

Boys:   Miguel, Arthur, David, Pedro, Bernardo

 

Canada

The border we share with our neighbors to the north spans 5,525 miles—it's the longest land border in the world. 

Favorite Canadian names

Girls:   Olivia, Maya/Mia/Mya, Sofia/Sophia, Emma, Charlotte

Boys:   Liam, William, Jacob, Lucas/Lukas, Noah

 

Chile

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is the driest place on earth.

Favorite Chilean names

Girls:   Sofia, Emilia, Isidora, Florencia, Maite

Boys:   Agustin, Benjamin, Vicente, Mateo, Martin

 

Denmark

This northern European country is frequently ranked as one of the happiest nation on earth. 

Favorite Danish names

Girls:   Sofia, Alma, Freja, Anna, Ella

Boys:   William, Lucas, Malthe, Noah, Emil

 

Dubai

You can find the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, in this Arab country. 

Favorite Dubaian names

Girls:   Maryam, Sara/Sarah, Fatima, Ayesha, Noor

Boys:   Mohammed, Ali, Omar, Ahmed/Ahmad, Abdulla/Abdullah

 

England

Fans of royal families and football just might find their baby’s name right here.

Favorite English names

Girls:   Amelia, Olivia, Emily, Ava, Isla

Boys:   Oliver, Jack, Harry, Jacob, Charlie

 

Japan 

Japan is an island nation that is made up of 6,852 islands.

Favorite Japanese names

Girls:   Sakura, Riko, Aoi, Wakana, Sakura/Sara

Boys:   Sou/Minato/Ichika, Itsuki/Tatsuki, Ren, Hinata/Haruta, Asahi/Haruki/Tomoharu

 

Lithuania
Parents everywhere should know that the stork is this country’s national bird.

Favorite Lithuanian names

Girls:   Irena, Janina, Ona, Danute, Regina

Boys:   Jonas, Vytautas, Tomas, Antanas, Mindaugas

 

Monaco

This European nation is the second smallest country in the world.

Favorite Monaco names

Girls:   Victoria, Giulia, Chloe, Emma, Anna

Boys:   Gabriel, Alexandre, Lucas, Ethan , Aaron

 

New Zealand

The most popular names of the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, are featured here.

Favorite Maorian names

Girls:   Maia, Manaia, Anahera, Ana, Aroha

Boys:   Nikau, Ari, Manaia, Wiremu, Kauri

 

South Africa

This is the southernmost country in Africa and it’s home to 11 official languages.

Favorite South African names

Girls:   Iminathi, Minenhle, Rethabile, Bokamoso, Karabo

Boys:    Junior, Bandile, Kungawo, Siyabonga, Lethabo

 

Spain
The home of flamenco is also one of the largest countries in all of Europe.

Favorite Spanish names

Girls:   Lucia, Maria, Martina, Paula, Daniela

Boys:   Hugo, Daniel, Pablo, Alejandro, Alvaro

 

Sweden
Forests cover more than half of this Nordic country.

Favorite Swedish names

Girls:   Elsa, Alice, Maja, Saga, Ella

Boys:   William, Lucas, Liam, Oscar, Elias

 

Turkey
This country is situated on two continents—Europe and Asia.

Favorite Turkish names

Girls:   Zeynep, Elif, Hiranur, Yagmur, Ecrin

Boys:   Yusuf, Berat, Mustafa, Omer, Ahmet

 

Image : Getty

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The Best Spring Maternity Styles

When the days get longer and the first buds appear on the trees, you can be sure that spring is in the air. With the warming weather comes a chance to spruce up your maternity wardrobe and stay stylish through your pregnancy while staying on budget and on trend.

Look for key transitional pieces. Long cardigans, leggings and low boots can bridge the winter and spring months by providing multiple options for chilly mornings mixed with warmer days.  Start your day with a cardigan or jean jacket – no need to worry about whether or not they will button over your growing belly now that the weather is warmer. Wrap a scarf around your neck for added warmth if the weather calls for it, but you can easily stash it in your handbag when the day heats up.

Leggings are the go-to maternity staple since they are comfy, provide endless options, can be dressed up or down and come in an array of colors and patterns. For spring you can opt for more than just the traditional black leggings. Look for on-trend florals, jean style leggings and even vegan leather. No matter what look you choose, leggings are sure to be an essential maternity wardrobe foundation.

The white shirt was seen on all of the spring fashion runways, in varying lengths and styles.  This is one of those instances when a true maternity version is what you need. With more room across the torso section of the shirt, a button down is possible to pull off when it’s made for your expanding middle.  The white shirt is a great basic piece that can be paired with leggings, and jeans, and also dressed up with a blazer and a great necklace for a more formal style.

Springtime is meant for dresses. Easy to put on, always flattering, and a simple one-piece solution to creating an outfit, a fresh springtime dress can make you feel feminine and pulled together in one simple step.  Wear a dress with tights or leggings and low heeled boots while the weather is still cool, and then lose the lower layers and pair with low sandals once the temperature rises.  Try a dress with the super trendy cutout shoulder silhouette, which looks modern but not too risqué for work.  You can easily throw a cardigan or jacket over the dress to create different looks from the same dress.

Of course, no wardrobe is complete without shoes.  Luckily this spring is showing very maternity friendly styles such as the more polished athletic sandal, clogs, and flat mules.  The glammed up athletic sandal can be found in patent leather, a multitude of colors, and a variety of soles. The adjustability of the straps make these a perfect pregnancy shoe – just don’t forget to indulge in a pedicure now that you’re showing off your toes!

Don’t let your changing figure stop you from looking current and stylish. Embrace the warming weather and let springtime put a spring in your step! 

Image : Getty

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