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My Favorite Yummy Go To Pregnancy Snacks!

By Keiko Zoll, Disney Baby

When I was pregnant with Judah, my cravings and aversions were all over the place: I couldn't get enough of apples, steak, cheddar cheese or LIFE cereal and yet, I couldn't even be near once favorite foods of mine like bananas, chicken and even melted butter! While I had some pretty wicked morning sickness the first half of my pregnancy, right around week 20, my appetite came back with a vengeance.

Here are some of my favorite snacks while I was pregnant, many of which I still turn to when I need something yummy to munch on... and I can even share some of them with my little one now, too!

Being a pregnant foodie, I was always careful about what I could and couldn't eat while pregnant, but that didn't mean that I couldn't enjoy myself! Later, when I developed gestational diabetes, I had to shift the way I thought about my snacks, not only what I ate but when I was eating it, too. That said, I ate quite well when I was pregnant with Judah, maintaining a balance between healthy and yummy - and of course, trying to satiate the craving of the moment!

I've always been a fan of sweet and salty but when I was pregnant, it was like a constant craving for one followed by the other: if I was craving sweet, salty had to follow, and vice versa. I loved to make a quick plate of grapes and olives, a Mediterranean-inspired treat. The bright sweetness of the grapes paired so well with the velvety, meaty texture and flavor of the olives. I couldn't get enough of those big green castelvetrano olives!

We had a running joke that when I was pregnant, all Judah really wanted was "cow" - I couldn't get enough beef, steak, chili, cheese, yogurt and milk. One of my favorite quick dairy snacks to make was to throw in a few different things into a cup of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, like pecans, walnuts, dried cranberries or fresh blueberries, and then drizzle some organic honey on top to sweeten it.

Before I got pregnant, I often laughed at the idea of eating pickles and ice cream. Then, once I was pregnant, I couldn't get enough of sour things. While I never actually craved pickles and ice cream at the same time, I often found myself munching on some cornichons like in the photo above in the afternoon and then having a few bites of ice cream before bedtime.

Probably one of my favorite snacks while pregnant was to make myself a full tapas spread: crusty bread with fig jam and dipping oils, cornichons, more olives and grapes, plus apples and peanut butter, aged hard cheeses (pasteurized, of course), and other tasty morsels I could graze on throughout the day. Since I had to put the wine and brie on hold, topping it all off with a glass of sparking cider or grape juice still made the whole snack feel special and elegant!

What were some of your favorite snacks when you were pregnant, or, if you've got a little one on the way, what can't YOU get enough of right now?


Read more from Keiko at her blog, Go Team Zoll! or follow her along at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Image: Getty Images

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Baby in yellow shirt crawling in crib

20 Cool Retro Baby Names from 1916

I’m a little obsessed with looking through the Social Security baby names list and seeing what names are becoming popular or starting to be used less.

Recently, I pulled up the list of the top names from 100 years ago (1916!) and it was so fun to see what names have drifted into obscurity — Hedwig, anyone? – and which names have made a comeback in recent years.

I couldn’t help but make a list of some of my favorites for both boys and girls.

If you’re looking for something with staying power, try one of these on for size!

BOYS

1. Stanford – 100 years ago, this name sat at 684 on the Social Security roster, but after 1973, it dropped off entirely, so if you’re looking for something that isn’t too popular, this is a great choice. I love it!

2. Harvey – This was in the top 100 back in 1916, but dropped off fast in the mid-’90s. Now it’s back with a vengeance, reappearing on the top 1000 in 2000 and currently sitting in the 400s!

3. Gilbert – I’m an Anne of Green Gables girl at heart, so I’ll always have a soft spot for this name.

4. Emmett – This name has serious longevity. It was in the top 200 names a century ago and now is in the top 150!

5. Forest – This name is popular but not TOO popular, currently sitting at 749.

6. Harlan – This name has German roots and means “rocky land.”

7. Booker – As a former librarian and lifelong avid reader, how could I not love this name?

8. Sterling – Sitting almost continually in the top 500 for the last century, this name is just a classic without being too overused.

9. Royal – If you’re looking for something strong and catchy, this is a great choice.

10. Pierce – This English name always makes me think of James Bond. Not the worst association you could have.

GIRLS

1. Coral – With so many old-fashioned baby names making a huge comeback, I was surprised to see that Coral hasn’t even made it back into the top 1000 since the early ’90s! If you like something vintage but not trendy, this is a great choice.

2. Audry – If you spell it “Audrey,” this name is a perennial favorite, usually in the top 100. But without the “e” it’s much less common.

3. Callie – I was really surprised to see that this name is currently at 196 – I’ve never met someone named this! (Mallie is also a fun choice that’s barely staying on the top 1000).

4. Dale – While this is generally consider a male name now, this name also showed up for girls fairly frequently until it disappeared from the list in 1971.

5. Nola – Nora is going nuts right now, currently sitting at 41, but Nola is at 767, so your child is much less likely to be the third one in her kindergarten class.

6. Allene – This pretty Slavonic name means “bright” and “beautiful.” Hard to go wrong there!

7. Nita – A Native American name that means “bear,” this one is simple, easy to spell, and just plain pretty.

8. Libby – I’m not usually a nickname person, but in this case, I love the shortened version of Elizabeth.

9. Tressie – This name hasn’t been on the top 1000 since 1939, but it’s so pretty, I’m surprised it’s not more popular!

10. Aurora – There’s always room in the top 1000 for a Disney Princess name, and this one is more pouplar than ever right now, at spot 79!

Image: Thinkstock

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100+ Baby Girl Names for Every Letter of the Alphabet

I recently saw a post on Facebook where a friend of mine couldn’t decide what to name her daughter, but she knew what letter she wanted it to start with. So I thought, man, that’s a great way to start. Pick the first letter!

Here is a list of my favorite baby girl names for each letter of the alphabet — and of course, I included some classic Disney princess names.

A

Adeline, Ariel, Abigail, Averie, Aurora, Alex

B

Brielle, Berkleigh, Brinley, Brooklyn, Blake, Belle

C

Crystal, Catarina, Cambridge, Camryn, Cayleigh

D

Delilah, Demi (Hmmm, wonder how I thought of that?), Dani (short for Danielle or Daniella), Darsey, Desiree

E

Emma, Emory, Elsa, Eva, Ellerie, Ember

F

Fiona, Felicia, Faith, Felicity, Frankie

G

Georgia, Gabriella, Gianna, Gisele, Gemma

H

Hendrix, Henley, Harper, Hadley, Harmony

I

Isabella, Illianna, Iris, Izzie

J

Juliana, Jordyn, Jillian, Jasmine, Jaclyn, Josie

K

Kimber, Katalina, Kya, Kayleigh, Kadence

L

Lily, Lianna, Leah, Lacie, Lola

M

Merida, Madeline, Marcilee, Maisie, Makaylyn, Max

N

Nora, Nia, Nadia, Natalia, Nahla

O

Orion, Owyn, Ophelia, Olivia, Oriahna

P

Phoenix, Priscilla, Paige, Polly, Primrose

Q

Quinn, Quaid

R

Randalynn, Randi, Roxy, Raven, Renee

S

Staci, Sami, Selah, Sky, Snow

T

Tianna, Tiffany (I had to :)), Teigan, Tessa, Trinity

U

Ursula, Uriah

V

Vivi, Victoria, Venicia, Valentina, Venus

W

Winona, Wendy, Winnie, Waverly, Willow

X

Xenia, Xia

Y

Yoli, Yasmine, Ysabelle, Yesenia

Z

Zora, Zoe, Zayla, Zahra

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100+ Baby Boy Names for Every Letter of the Alphabet

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was already set on a name for my baby if it was a girl. Chris and I both loved the name Kya Grace and we thought it went perfectly with the last name Carney. Then, 12 weeks into our pregnancy, we found out our first baby would be a boy! I thought, “Where do I even begin to find a name?” So we sat down and wrote out family names as options and scoured the internet to see which names were overused, popular, rare, or had a very cool meaning. After many, many days of searching, we finally settled on Kenneth James, after Chris’ dad Ken and grandfather James. It was nice to do a bit of research though, so that we knew what options were out there.

If you are having trouble deciding what to name your son, I hope this list will help! Here are 100 baby boy names for every letter of the alphabet!

A

Austin, Ace, Appolo, Asher

B

Benson, Brock, Baird, Bennett

C

Christopher, Caleb, Chaddick, Campbell, Callum

D

Dominic, Dayton, Davey, Dylan

E

Eli, Eastwood, Eddison, Emmett, Elliot

F

Ferris, Finn, Fuller

G

Grady, Garrison, Guy, Garth, Grayson

H

Henry, Hagan, Houston, Hartley, Holt

I

Isaiah, Indy, Irving

J

Josiah, Jordan, Jace, Jamison, Jack

K

Kingston, Kyler, Kade, Keegan, Kason

L

Landon, Luca, Lambert, Lincoln

M

Magnus, Micah, Malone, Monroe, Mickey :)

N

Nico, Nolan, Niles, Noah

O

Orion, Oakley, Oliver, Orin

P

Princeton, Parker, Porter, Paxton

Q

Quinn, Quade, Quentin

R

Rafe, Remi, Ramsey, Rhett, Rowan

S

Sawyer, Samson, Sebastian, Shiloh

T

Thomas, Tristan, Topher, Tanner, Thornton (I mean….it IS a pretty cool first name!)

U

Upton, Urbain

V

Vance, Voss, Vinny

W

Weston, Wyatt, Wade

X

Xavier, Xander

Y

Yates, York

Z

Zeke, Zane

Image: Disney

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First trimester pregnancy: What to expect

The first trimester of pregnancy is marked by an invisible — yet amazing — transformation. And it happens quickly. Hormones trigger your body to begin nourishing the baby even before tests and a physical exam can confirm the pregnancy.

Knowing what physical and emotional changes to expect during the first trimester can help you face the months ahead with confidence.

First trimester pregnancy: Your body

Consider common physical changes during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Bouts of nausea

Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, sometimes begins as early as three weeks after conception. Nausea might stem in part from rapidly rising levels of estrogen and progesterone, which cause the stomach to empty more slowly. Pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell, so various odors — such as foods cooking, perfume or cigarette smoke — might cause waves of nausea in early pregnancy.

To help relieve nausea, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Choose foods that are low in fat and easy to digest. Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. It's also helpful to drink plenty of fluids. Try drinking ginger ale.

For some women, motion sickness bands are helpful. For others, alternative therapies such as acupuncture or hypnosis offer relief. If you're considering an alternative therapy, get the OK from your health care provider first.

Contact your health care provider if the nausea is severe, you're passing only a small amount of urine or it's dark in color, you can't keep down liquids, you feel dizzy when standing up or you vomit blood.

Tender, swollen breasts

Soon after conception, hormonal changes might make your breasts tender, sensitive or sore. Or your breasts might feel fuller and heavier. Wearing a more supportive bra or a sports bra might help.

Increased urination

You might find yourself urinating more often than usual. Pressure from your enlarging uterus on your bladder might cause you to leak urine when sneezing, coughing or laughing. To help prevent urinary tract infections, urinate whenever you feel the urge.

If you're losing sleep due to middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, in the evening cut back on fluids containing caffeine, which can make you urinate more. If you're worried about leaking urine, panty liners can offer a sense of security.

Fatigue

Fatigue also ranks high among first trimester symptoms. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar — which can put you to sleep.

You can't really fight this fatigue, so rest as much as you can. Make sure you're getting enough iron and protein. Include physical activity, such as a brisk walk, in your daily routine.

Food aversions or cravings

When you're pregnant, you might find yourself turning up your nose at certain foods. Food cravings are common, too. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes — especially in the first trimester, when hormonal changes are the most dramatic.

Dizziness

Pregnancy causes your blood vessels to dilate and your blood pressure to drop, which might leave you lightheaded or dizzy. To prevent mild, occasional dizziness, avoid prolonged standing. Rise slowly after lying or sitting down. If you start to feel dizzy while you're driving, pull over. If you're standing when dizziness hits, lie down on your left side.

Seek prompt care if the dizziness is severe and occurs with abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding. This could indicate an ectopic pregnancy — a condition in which the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. To prevent life-threatening complications, the ectopic tissue must be removed.

Heartburn and constipation

Pregnancy slows the movement of food through your digestive system. This gives nutrients more time to be absorbed into your bloodstream and reach your baby. Unfortunately, it can also lead to constipation. Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, causing heartburn.

To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits or juices, and spicy foods. To prevent or relieve constipation, include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids. Regular physical activity also helps.

First trimester pregnancy: Your emotionsy

Pregnancy might leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated and exhausted — sometimes all at once. Even if you're thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life.

It's natural to worry about your baby's health, your adjustment to motherhood and the financial demands of raising a child. You might wonder how the baby will affect your relationship with your partner or what type of parent you'll be. If you're working, you might worry about your productivity on the job and how to balance the competing demands of family and career.

You might also experience misgivings and bouts of weepiness or mood swings. Remind yourself that what you're feeling is normal. Take good care of yourself, and look to your partner and other loved ones for understanding and encouragement. If the mood changes become severe or intense, consult your health care provider for additional support.

Your relationship with your partnery

Becoming a mother takes time away from other roles and relationships. You might struggle to retain your psychological identity as a partner and lover — but good communication can help you keep intimacy alive.

Be honest with your partner about your needs and try to identify stress points in your relationship before they become problematic. Encourage your partner to share any doubts or worries. Do the same yourself. Discussing your feelings will strengthen your relationship and help you begin preparing a home for your baby.

Appointments with your health care providery

Whether you choose a family physician, obstetrician, nurse-midwife or other pregnancy specialist, your health care provider will treat, educate and reassure you throughout your pregnancy. He or she is there to help you celebrate the miracle of birth.

Your first visit will focus mainly on assessing your overall health, identifying any risk factors and determining your baby's gestational age. Your health care provider will ask detailed questions about your health history. Be honest. The answers you provide will help you and your baby receive the best care. If you're uncomfortable discussing your health history in front of your partner, schedule a private consultation.

Also expect to learn about first trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities.

After the first visit, you'll probably be asked to schedule checkups every four to six weeks. During these appointments, raise any concerns or fears you might have about pregnancy, childbirth or life with a newborn. Remember, no question is silly or unimportant — and the answers can help you take the best care of yourself and your baby.


This article was from Mayo Clinic Health Information Library and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image : Getty

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Twin pregnancy: What multiples mean for mom

If you're diagnosed with a twin pregnancy or other multiples, here's what you need to know to take good care of yourself — and your babies.

How multiples are made

Sometimes a twin pregnancy just happens. In other cases, specific factors are at play. For example, a twin pregnancy is more likely as you get older because hormonal changes can cause more than one egg to be released at a time. Use of assisted reproductive technologies — such as in vitro fertilization — also boosts the odds of twins or other multiples.

Fraternal twins — the most common kind — occur when two separate eggs are fertilized by two different sperm. Each twin has his or her own placenta and amniotic sac. The twins can be two girls, two boys, or a boy and a girl. Genetically, they're no more alike than any other siblings.

Identical twins occur when a single fertilized egg splits and develops into two fetuses. Identical twins might share a placenta, but each baby usually has a separate amniotic sac. Genetically, the two babies are identical. They'll be the same sex and share physical traits and characteristics. Rarely, identical twins fail to completely separate into two individuals. These babies are known as conjoined twins.

Triplets and other higher order multiples can be identical, fraternal or a combination of both.

Diagnosing a twin pregnancy

Your health care provider might suspect a twin pregnancy if your uterus is larger than normal or there seems to be more than one fetal heartbeat. A suspected twin pregnancy is typically confirmed with an ultrasound. During this exam, sound waves are used to create images of your uterus and baby — or babies.

Sometimes a seemingly normal twin pregnancy is later found to have only one baby. This is known as vanishing twin syndrome. Such an episode can be heartbreaking, frustrating and confusing. Often, there's no clear explanation for the loss.

What twin pregnancy means for mom

Taking good care of yourself is the best way to take care of your babies. During a twin pregnancy, you can expect:

  • More-frequent checkups. You'll see your health care provider often to track your babies' growth and development, monitor your health, and watch for signs of preterm labor. You might need frequent ultrasounds or other tests, especially as your pregnancy progresses.
  • More emphasis on certain nutrients. You'll need more folic acid, calcium, iron, protein and other essential nutrients. If you're already eating a healthy diet, keep it up — and be sure to take a daily prenatal vitamin. Your health care provider might recommend an iron supplement as well.
  • More weight gain. Gaining the right amount of weight can support your babies' health. It also makes it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery. For twins, the recommendation is often 37 to 54 pounds (about 17 to 25 kilograms) for women who have a healthy weight before pregnancy — which might require about 600 extra calories a day, depending on your activity level. Work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you.
  • More precautions. Your health care provider might ask you to limit some of your activities — such as work, travel and physical activity — as your pregnancy progresses. Although bed rest has not been proved to be an effective way to prevent preterm labor, it's sometimes suggested as a precaution to encourage fetal growth and reduce the risk of complications.
  • Earlier concern about overdue pregnancy. Ordinarily, pregnancy length isn't considered a concern until after 41 weeks. With twins, there is some evidence that those concerns should be weighed sooner. Your health care provider might recommend labor induction or a C-section by week 38 or 39 of pregnancy.

Consider complications

Healthy multiples are born every day. Still, it's important to be aware of possible complications. For example:

  • High blood pressure. Mothers of multiples are more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. When high blood pressure is combined with protein in the urine, the condition is known as preeclampsia. Careful management is needed to prevent serious complications for both mother and baby.
  • Premature birth. The more babies you're carrying, the less likely you are to carry your pregnancy to term. If you have signs of preterm labor, you might be given injections of a steroid medication to speed your babies' lung development. Even then, however, the smallest preemies might fight to survive. Complications might include breathing and digestive difficulties, vision problems, and infection. Rarely, one baby is delivered prematurely and the other baby or babies are able to continue developing in the uterus. This is known as a delayed-interval delivery.
  • Twin-twin transfusion. With identical twins, it's possible for a blood vessel in the placenta to connect the babies' circulatory systems. This causes one baby to receive too much blood and the other too little. This is a serious complication for both babies that might require aggressive intervention during pregnancy. Early delivery might be needed.
  • C-section delivery. For twins, vaginal delivery is often possible if the first baby is in a head-down position. If not, a C-section might be recommended. In some cases, complications after the vaginal delivery of the first twin might require a C-section delivery for the second twin. For triplets, vaginal delivery isn't necessarily out of the question — although C-sections are generally suggested for triplets and higher order multiples.

Caring for multiples

Healthy multiples have the same needs as other newborns. Yet with twins, you'll have a double dose. You might need more rest and support than you imagined, especially if your babies are born prematurely or need special medical care after birth. Take time to enjoy your babies — and ask friends, loved ones and others for help when you need it.


This article was from Mayo Clinic Health Information Library and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image : Getty

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12 Nickname-Proof Baby Names

There are so many places to look for inspiration to find the perfect baby name for your child-to-be. You can choose from family history, culture, literature, and everything in between. Choosing your child’s name is one of the most fun and sometimes scary choices we make as parents, and oftentimes, one of the first big ones.

There are other major things to take into consideration, too. The name has to be more than “just great” before you sign the certificate, giving them a name forever. You have to consider how it will sound with your last name, how it sounds with any siblings, social meanings that may be there, and nicknames that can come from the name.

One factor I had when choosing my kids’ names was a desire to make sure they were”nickname-proof”. Growing up, and even now, I don’t like to be called any shorter version of my real name. (Yes, I hate being called “Dev”). So it was important to me that we took it into consideration.

If you’re not too keen on the nicknamed names either, here are 12 that I consider to be pretty nickname-proof!

Mya: Such a gorgeous name that can be spelled a few different ways, but you can’t really pull a nickname out of it, which makes it even more appealing.

Aida: I love this name for its uniqueness that will stand among the crowd. It’s short already, and there’s no obvious way to make it even more so.

Max: While you may think of this as a nickname already, if you embrace this short-form and don’t use a full version (like Maximillian), it’s hard to shorten it any more! It is a common celebrity choice for baby names, too.

Ford: You may think trucks or Harrison (who can resist Han Solo, after all?), but Ford is a name that’s strong on its own, and there’s no easy way to find a nickname out of it.

Rose: This name is so classic, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s got all the qualities of a perfect name, from the simple, easy to spell qualities, to the gorgeous flower it’s named after. Bonus: you can’t shorten it either!

Chloe: Chloe is a very popular name right now, but when you think about it, it’s easy to see why. It’s beautiful, timeless, and no obvious nicknames to come out of it.

Aiden: Popular names must be trendy for a reason, and if you like names that stand up to any shortening, this one can do it!

Levi: I have loved this name since I was a little girl and not because it is hard to come up with a nickname–it also happens to not be too trendy, and it’s cute!

Emma: Girly, not too common or uncommon, and also can be a used as a nickname for Emily, but it’s a great name to put on your baby’s birth certificate.

Bryn: There are a few ways to spell Bryn, but it’s not easy to peg out a nickname. Nothing cutesy or upsetting–just a name that’s beautiful all on its own.

Eli: A great name that is spawned from a nickname for Eliot or Elijah but very able to stand on its own. I really like this name, and it’s rare that I like a nickname more than a name.

Ace: This name is good enough for Jessica Simpson’s son, and being only three letters, you can’t really get it any more short.

Do you take nicknames into account when you’re choosing baby names?

This article was written by EverydayFamily from Everyday Family and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image : Getty

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10 Baby Names Inspired by Disney

I love a good baby name. Even before I am pregnant, I love to search out the most perfect names. There are many places to pull inspiration from; I like looking at our family tree and our history for common names and unusual ones, and I like to check out the popular names to make sure I stay away from those.

I also like to check out movies and classic stories to see if I can find that perfect name, and Disney has a lot to pull from. With all the movies they’ve put out and some pretty fun and memorable stories, there are some great baby names to pick from.

If you’re looking for the best baby name and need some inspiration, here are 10 names inspired by Disney classics — maybe you’ll find the one that jumps out at you.

Daisy

This gorgeous girl’s name is inspired by Daisy Duck, a classic Disney character that everyone loves.

Raja

I am in love with this name and it can go well with either gender. Inspired by the Tiger sidekick in Aladdin, a name that’s not too common.

Marlin

I love a classic, clean name for a boy and Marlin, which is inspired by Finding Nemo is pure perfection.

Elsa

I am pretty sure this name is going to spike huge in popularity over the next few years. Inspired by the wild hit Frozen, Elsa is a beautiful name.

Fauna

They don’t get a lot of celebrity status in the movie Sleeping Beauty, but Fauna is one of those very important fairies who help out Prince Philip and the lovely Aurora.

Sulley

He is big, he is inspirational, and he is crazy lovable — perfect attributes for a baby boy. This name is inspired by the main character in Monster’s Inc.

Nala

This is another name that I just love and it’s inspired by The Lion King — she is Simba’s best friend!

Pascal

You can find some great inspiration for baby names from the animal sidekicks of well-loved Disney characters. This one, inspired by Tangled, is the loveable and fierce lizard.

Belle

Everyone knows this loved Disney Princess and the name is totally fit for one. Inspired by Beauty and the Beast, Belle is perfect for your own royal beauty.

Deacon

Inspired by a protagonist in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but your baby boy doesn’t need to be mired in secrets to rock this name. I love it because it’s a strong name, but it’s not too common, which is perfect in my baby naming book.

What are your favorite Disney inspired names? Share in the comments!

This article was written by EverydayFamily from Everyday Family and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image : Getty

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4 Ways Your Partner Can Be a Hands-On Parent Before Baby Arrives

Some dads of the past may have been content to take a backseat to their partner when it comes to parenting. Modern dads not only understand the importance of being fully involved, but they want to be a constant, equal, and positive part of their child’s life. While dads can step up big once the baby is born by changing, feeding, and bonding with their little one, trying to be a deeply involved parent while the baby is still growing in their partner’s belly can be tough. Check out the suggestions below for ideas on how your partner can get involved before your baby arrives.

1. Plan for their involvement

Throughout her pregnancy mom will spend many, many hours at the doctor’s office. While lots of time is spent waiting and doing basic check-ups, each appointment also involves some vital information sharing and advice giving from the doctor. Plan for dad to be present at each appointment, so he can ask questions and listen to the doctor’s recommendations, by scheduling appointments for times that he’s able to come.

2. Tell him what you need

Foot rub? Guided relaxation at night? Something out of the ordinary for dinner? Understanding your evolving needs during pregnancy can be tough, even for the most involved partner. Help him out by sharing your needs so that he can work to meet them.

3. Designate him as lead researcher

Don’t be the only one looking up car seats and strollers- split the list and trust each other’s recommendations on baby gear and services. Work together to come up with a list of things you’ll need and split it up evenly.

4. Ask him to become a breastfeeding expert

While mom will be the one nursing the baby, there’s a lot that dad can do to support her. Knowing the value of breastfeeding, the nursing lingo, the potential challenges and solutions, and the local resources is a valuable way to be involved from the very beginning.

What other ideas do you have to help dad get involved before the baby is born?

This article was written by EverydayFamily from Everyday Family and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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10 Signs You’re Nearing the End of Pregnancy

My due date is 20 days from now, and as it approaches, I’ve been thinking about how different these final days are in comparison with the rest of pregnancy. Obviously the end of pregnancy looks different for each woman, but for the most part, these are some signs that the end is near… at least for me!

1. You buy milk and the expiration date is after your due date

I remember this happening with my daughter and it’s about to start happening with this pregnancy. It’s the weirdest thing knowing you’ll probably bring home a new baby sooner than you’ll bring home a new gallon of milk!

2. Your fear of the pain of birth has been outweighed by your desire to be un-pregnant

Especially if this is your first pregnancy, it can be easy to focus on the pain that comes with childbirth, but as the end of pregnancy approaches, this fear is replaced by a desire to simply not be pregnant and uncomfortable anymore. A little bit of discomfort in birth is better than another month of the discomfort of pregnancy, right? Or at least this seems to be my end-of-pregnancy logic.

3. Nothing fits

Like… seriously nothing at all. Last week I ripped a hole in my only pair of maternity jeans, so now I’m relegated to leggings and the two dresses that sort of still fit me. Most of my dresses have become shirts and all of my shirts have become unwearable.

4. Puffy face, hands, feet…

Oh the puffiness. My face looks eerily similar to the time I got my wisdom teeth taken out and all of the rings on my fingers have been removed. In addition, my feet have decided to boycott all shoes.

5. People keep telling you that you look “ready to pop”

Random strangers start giving you that “Whoa!” look like you just might give birth in the middle of the grocery store aisle and telling you that you look like you’re “ready to pop”… just in case you hadn’t noticed.

6. You start nesting like Martha Stewart on six shots of espresso

Some people are more intense than others during the nesting stage (like my friend Amnah here at Disney Baby!), but many women experience nesting to some degree or another as labor gets closer. For me, nesting takes on the form of scheduling blog posts ahead of time and making sure my house is tidy and dishes are done every night before bed. It also means purging old things and organizing the nursery and completing any other last-minute pre-birth tasks.

7. You’re practically sleepwalking

In the days and weeks leading up to your due date you may feel extra tired. I know I become positively narcoleptic. I doze off on the couch in the middle of the day, even though I’m not usually a napper at all. I’d like to think it’s my body’s way of telling me to store up all the extra sleep I can, because I’m definitely going to need it.

8. Your grooming habits suddenly improve

The idea of going into labor with unshaven legs and a serious need for a pedicure inspires you to up your grooming game. You schedule yourself a pedicure and start shaving your legs again on a regular basis. You may even start showering/doing your hair more often “just in case.” You never can be too prepared for those photo ops, you know!

9. You stop making plans

As much as you try to remind yourself that this pregnancy might last beyond your due date, it’s hard to just carry on with life as usual. If you’re anything like me, you slowly stop making plans… just in case. I didn’t realize I was doing this until I looked at my schedule recently and saw that it’s gotten more and more empty as my due date is approaching. I guess I wanted to make sure I didn’t double book my birth with anything else!

10. Getting extra emotional about life changes

Toward the end of my first pregnancy, I found myself getting emotional about all of the changes that were about to take place. Going from being a married couple to being parents felt intimidating at times, and like the end of an era. I definitely got nostalgic. This time around, I’ve slowly started feeling the same about the change in our family dynamic — going from three of us to four. I get weepy about it multiple times a day — sometimes because I’m a little sad and other times because I’m happy. Pregnancy emotions… they’ll get you every time.

What would you add to my list?

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