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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


The Magic of Baby’s First Kick

I was watching a talk show the other day and the host, a woman who doesn’t have any children, was discussing how weird she finds the fact that a pregnant woman can feel her baby moving inside of her.

She likened it to feeling like there was an “alien” moving inside and said she couldn’t understand how women got so excited to feel the baby move.

I had to laugh a little, watching it, because on one hand, objectively, I can see where she was coming from. It is a little bizarre to think about the fact that separated by mere layers of skin and muscle (ok, so not much muscle here, but still), there is actual human being growing inside of you. On the flip side, however, I have to agree to disagree, because there is nothing scary about feeling your baby move.

In fact, it’s the one thing that keeps me going during pregnancy.

There is so much that is hard about pregnancy and I am not the world’s most gracious woman when it comes to keeping pregnancy complaints to myself. I should be, I realize that, but the truth is, I’m moody and impatient and apparently, pretty selfish.

The first trimester is hard, the last month of pregnancy feels like sheer torture, and the middle months are a torrent of public ridicule when no one can believe how big I am and how far I still have to go, most of all me.

So in the middle of puking or feeling like I will never be able to keep my eyes open past 8 o’clock again in the first trimester, I found myself looking forward to those first little flutters that would let me know that ok, yes, this is real. Those first butterfly kicks that would show me that I wasn’t imagining that baby bump and that there was something wonderful unfolding inside of me.

And in the second trimester, when I’m supposed to be feeling my best, but really just feeling too big and fearful of what’s to come, those still small kicks are what’s keeping me going right now. They are my daily doses of gratitude, my reminder to stop and realize that pregnancy is so much more than my fears or my comfort or heck, even my size.

That it’s about this little one and the life that is beating on, cloaked in secrecy and right now, known only to me.

It’s those kicks and that little, hi, Mom!” reminders that won’t be so gentle come my third trimester that provide me the reassurance I need to get through the last few weeks. Knowing my baby is growing strong and healthy because of me and knowing that as those kicks grow more persistent, I am one step closer to holding him or her in my arms–

That is where the magic of pregnancy lies.

Image : Disney Baby


10 Ways I’m Distracting Myself From the Third Trimester Slump

This pregnancy has seriously flown by. It seems like I was just announcing my pregnancy and now here I am in the home stretch – 33 weeks pregnant! You would think I would have this sudden burst of energy and excitement simply from knowing that I’m almost there and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel…but the third trimester is no joke you guys and I’ve fallen into a slump.

While the rest of my pregnancy has flown by, this last trimester feels like it’s dragging at a crawl. Even though I am so thankful for this pregnancy and for the little boy who is growing in my belly, each day feels like an exhausting eternity. I’m tired and achey and I feel massive and like my due date is never going to get here. I know from experiencing a pregnancy before that this is just par for the course, but it’s striking a little earlier this time around, so in an effort to break out of my slump, here are a few things I’m doing to distract myself…

  1. Not having a countdown

    A countdown seems like a good idea in theory, but when the days already feel like they’re inching by at a snail’s pace for me, I feel like a countdown would have the opposite of its intended effect. Fixating on the amount of time I have left (especially since due dates aren’t set in stone) isn’t really constructive for me at this point.

  2. Getting dressed

    It’s amazing how much better you feel when you’re not wearing sweatpants. I realize that toward the end of pregnancy this is easier said than done as things stop fitting quite as well, but even changing out of your yoga pants into your “fancy” leggings and a cute top or dress will make you feel better and distract you from third trimester pregnancy frump.

  3. Putting on fun lipstick

    I’m not always particularly great about putting on makeup, but there’s something so transformative and mood-lifting about it…especially when it comes to lipstick. My face may be a little (OK, kind of a lot) on the puffy side right now, but a swipe of red lipstick never ceases to make me feel a little more confident.

  4. Planning a staycation

    Traveling anywhere at this stage of pregnancy isn’t recommended. Flights aren’t allowed during the third trimester and long car rides can just be unpleasant, but that doesn’t mean I’m doomed to be home bound until this baby shows up! My husband and I have decided to play tourists in our own town with a little staycation. My daughter will spend the weekend with her grandparents while we eat yummy food and actually see a movie before it’s out on video…in an actual theater! It’s giving me something fun to look forward to and it will be much appreciated alone time before life gets much busier.

  5. Going out with friends

    I’ve been planning a lot of fun hang outs with friends during this last trimester. Dinner out with the girls or a game night with couple friends. Having fun things to do on my social calendar is providing a great distraction from this third trimester slump.

  6. Working out

    I’ll admit, working out is pretty much the last thing on the planet that I want to do right now, but I always feel better and more energized after I do (at least until the aches set in the day after…). Endorphins are always welcome when I’m in a slump and exercise it a great way to get them!

  7. Planning the nursery

    With my daughter I spent a ton of time considering what her nursery would look like, but this time around I hadn’t put much effort into it. I’m hoping to start focusing some of my attention on it in the hopes that a bit of nesting for my little bird will be a great distraction. And if nothing else at least I’ll be more prepared for his arrival!

  8. Folding tiny baby clothes

    More nesting to keep me focused on the end goal — a healthy baby boy who will be here to snuggle with before I know it.

  9. Planning fun outings with my daughter

    Pretty soon I will be a mother of two and not just a mama to a little girl. I’m definitely excited for my daughter to have a sibling, but it also feels like the end of an era in a way and I’m trying to soak up all the last minute opportunities for some one-on-one time with my girl. Trips to the zoo and the park with just us will keep us both busy and help us to enjoy these last days together.

  10. Focusing on the positives

    As much as I feel uncomfortable and grumpy at times about my current state, I really am blessed. When I’m starting to feel extra slumpy, stopping to write down some things I’m thankful for, or even just mentally pausing to acknowledge these things, is so helpful.

Image : Disney Baby

Pregnant woman eating a bar of chocolate

Baby Gender Prediction

Congratulations, baby is on the way! But are you having a boy or a girl? The only real way to find out is with an ultrasound from your physician (and even that can sometimes be inaccurate). But, there are a lot of fun old wives’ tales that promise to predict your baby’s gender. Enjoy trying some of the following folklore-inspired, gender-prediction tests.

Morning sickness:

If you’re especially ill, the myth goes that you’re expecting a girl.

Belly bulge:

Another popular myth is that if you’re carrying baby low and just in the front (so that you don’t even appear pregnant from behind), it’s a boy. If your pregnancy belly is higher, and more a tire around your middle, a girl is on the way.

Heart rate:

Your OB/GYN will be tracking your little one's heart rate at each doctor's appointment. At your next visit, ask your doctor to share the heart rate with you. An old wives’ tale says that if Baby's heart rate is above 140 beats per minute, you’re carrying a girl — and if the rate is below, a boy is on the way.

Chinese calendar:

Based on your age at conception and the month in which you conceived, this ancient chart supposedly can predict baby’s gender. (Many charts are available online.)

Food cravings:

Some say that if you’re craving salty foods, a boy is on the way; and if you’re hungry for sweets, you’re pregnant with a girl.

Pregnancy acne:

Has your complexion taken a turn for the worse since you’ve become pregnant? Myth has it that there’s a baby girl growing in your belly — and she’s stealing all your beauty!

Wedding-ring pendulum:

Here’s a fun test to try: Take off your wedding ring, tie it to a string, hold the string by the end and see how the ring swings. If the ring swings in a circle, it’s a girl; if the string swings back and forth, it’s a boy.

Soft or dry skin:

Are your hands dry all the time? Myth has it that you’re expecting a boy. If your hands are soft, a girl is in your future.

Beautiful or dull hair:

Have your locks gone from fantastic to frumpy? If your hair has thinned or appears dull, you may be having a girl. However, if your hair has never been better, myth says you’re having a boy.

Baking Soda Test:

Grab the baking soda and head for your bathroom! This gender prediction myth states that if you mix two tablespoons of baking soda with your urine — and it fizzes — you’re having a boy. You may be having a girl if the mixture remains flat.

Preconception meal:

Do you remember what you ate before you conceived? Folklore claims that your pre-baby making meal may predict your child’s gender. A meal rich in dairy may bring you a girl. And a meal containing magnesium-infused foods — like nuts, soy, and green leafy veggies — may give you a boy.

Swollen legs:

Are your pregnancy legs big and swollen? If so, a boy may be on the way. If your legs are just as lean as they were before pregnancy, myth says you’re having a girl.

Graceful or clumsy:

Have you acquired a newfound gracefulness since becoming pregnant? You may be having a girl. But, if you are suddenly clumsier than usual, a boy may be on the way.

Dad’s weight:

Is dad-to-be gaining weight right along with you? Old wives’ tales say that you’re having a girl. But, if dad’s weight stays the same, you’re having a boy.


Pregnant mom admiring her belly in the mirror​

5 Key Things To Know About Prenatal Vitamins

1. Prenatal vitamins pack serious Good Stuff. Think folic acid; taking that at least one month prior to conception and during the first trimester can reduce the risk of certain birth defects by up to 70 percent. You also need more iron during those nine months, since pregnant women are more susceptible to anemia.

2. Don’t worry if you have horse-pill phobia. “I take my prenatal with chocolate milk in the morning,” says Heidi Krauss, a mom of two in Dobbs Ferry, New York. “That way, I have an enjoyable way to swallow it and get extra calcium.” You can also crush yours and sprinkle it over food, like a cup of yogurt or cereal. Prenatal vitamins don’t have to be taken whole to work.

3. Yes, you can beat the pill nausea some women get. Taking the vitamin before bedtime can help a lot. “I just slept right through that nauseous feeling,” says Emily Richeda, a mom of one from St. Louis, Minnesota. Ask your ob/gyn about your iron levels; if you aren’t at risk for anemia, she may prescribe a vitamin with slightly less iron, the mineral that typically triggers stomach upset.

4. Most doctors recommend prescription prenatals. “They contain more folic acid than over-the-counter ones and some also have omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows can deliver cognitive benefits in babies up to age 18 months,” says Judith Brown, R.D., author of What to Eat Before, During and After Pregnancy. “Women who don’t eat a lot of fish (a food high in omega-3 fatty acids) might especially want to consider this.”

5. Prenatal vitamins are no substitute for a healthy diet (but you knew that). Get your fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins. Add a prenatal vitamin, and you can feel confident that you’re eating your way to a healthy pregnancy.

Pregnant mom admiring her belly in the mirror​

Those Baby Movements, Explained

Sometimes my baby squirms around like she’s training to be an Olympic gymnast or something. What’s going on?

Many moms notice extra movement after they’ve eaten. The reason: The accompanying rise in blood sugar gives baby more energy to somersault (give that baby a score of 10!). Sometimes, babies kick more frequently when the TV is on or music is playing. Whether it’s because they like it or they want it off isn’t known—but it’s clear that they’re tuning in, notes Rebecca Lisa Shiffman, M.D., Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Lincoln Medical &Mental Health Center in the Bronx, New York: “Research has shown that newborns recognize music they heard during the pregnancy.”

When can my baby start to hear me?

By about the fifth month of pregnancy, your baby’s ears are developed enough to listen to you, whether you’re chatting on the cell or talking with friends about your plans for the nursery. Baby will know your voice best because she’s tuning in from your belly! You might also notice that your little one gets particularly excited when her Daddy or another male relative talks. Science shows men’s deeper voices appeal because low-pitched sounds are easier to hear through the amniotic fluid. Pretty cool, right?

What exactly is my baby doing when she’s not moving?

Mulling over when she’ll make her big debut! OK, actually, most likely she’s sleeping. By 32 weeks, your unborn baby spends 90 to 95 percent of the day dozing (lucky kid!). Sometimes, she might be in a “quiet awake” state in which her body is still but her eyes are moving (think of a newborn quietly hanging out in his bouncy seat, observing the world around him). If it seems as though your unborn baby is moving less than usual, let your ob/gyn know.

Why does my baby seem ready to party when I’m ready to crash?

Unborn babies’ circadian rhythms—a fancy word for their sleep/wake cycle—are actually the opposite of yours. Their quiet time is in the morning and they shake and bake more as the day goes on. “Most women notice more movement when they’re resting simply because they’re paying attention to it,” notes Austin Chen, M.D., an ob/gyn at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. “A fetus can be just as active when you’re busy.” Hey, even if she’s keeping you up at night, it’s hard not to get a kick (literally!) out of your baby-to-be.

Lilly flowers in green grass

30 Spring Inspired Baby Names

Do you have a baby due in the spring? Here are 30 “spring baby names” for boys and girls, perfect for your springtime arrival! These baby names have meanings inspired by nature, flowers, and the cheerfulness of the spring season. Which one is your favorite?

Spring Baby Names for Girls

Ava is a Latin-American name meaning “bird”

Briony is an English name for the flowering vine

Dahlia is an English name for the flower of the same name

Flora is a Latin-American name meaning “flowering”

Hadley is an English name meaning “meadow”

Hana is a Japanese name meaning “flower”

Hazel is an English name for the tree of the same name

Ivy is an English name for the vibrant green vine of the same name

Laverne is a French name meaning “in the springtime”

Lily is an Engilsh name for the beautiful flower of the same name

Maia is a French name meaning the month of May

Mavis is an English name for a specific type of singing thrush

Melissa is a Greek name meaning “honeybee”

Rose is an English name for the gorgeous flower of the same name

Violet is a French name for the tiny purple flower of the same name

Spring Baby Names for Boys

Anthony is a Greek name meaning “highly praiseworthy,” from the Greek root for “flower”

Asher is a Hebrew name meaning “happiness”

Aspen is an English name for the tree of the same name

Aviv is a Hebrew name meaning “spring” or “renewal”

Dayton is an English name meaning “bright and sunny town”

Denver is an English name meaning “green valley”

Edwin is a German name meaning “happy friend”

Florentino is a Spanish name meaning “flowering”

Frye is an English name meaning “seed”

Hollis is an English name meaning “lives by the holly trees”

Jared is a Hebrew name meaning “rose”

Julian is a French name meaning “young at heart”

Ollie is a diminutive of the English name Olver meaning “olive tree”

Rowan is a Gaelic name for the berry-producing tree of the same name

Virgil is a Latin name meaning “flourishing”

Image : Disney Baby


10 Power Foods To Fuel Busy Moms

By: Lauren Hartmann, Disney Baby

Let’s face it, being a mom and being busy are synonymous with one another. There are babies to feed, diapers to change, laundry to fold … the list sometimes seems never ending. When this happens, it is likely that feeding yourself tends to fall by the wayside or at least that’s what happened to me.

For the first three months of Fern’s life I pretty much subsisted on string cheese and granola bars. I was a bit overwhelmed and feeding myself always seemed to fall to the end of my to-do list. There are many reasons why this was a problem: 1) Inadequate nutrition while nursing can decrease milk supply in addition to not providing babies with all the nutrients that their growing bodies need, 2) Inadequate nutrition leaves you tired, cranky and unable to take on the challenges that new parenthood (or really any stage of parenthood) requires, 3) Inadequate nutrition is not going to help you lose that baby weight. Our bodies need a balanced diet and if we’re not eating enough food they go into starvation mode and desperately cling to fat.

So what’s a busy mom to eat?

10 Power Foods For Busy Moms

Trying to eat healthy foods as a mom bustling about taking care of a baby’s needs all day can be a challenge. Here are 10 foods that are easy for to prepare and eat quickly in between the plethora of tasks on that seemingly never-ending to-do list – foods that will keep you fueled for the day ahead!


Eggs are my absolute go-to food. It takes literally two minutes to scramble some up for breakfast and I can throw in some extras for flavor and fuel like spinach, ground flax, cheese, tomatoes, etc… I can also hard boil a bunch at the beginning of the week after my baby goes to bed and I’ve got instant grab-and-go snacks available for the week.


Fruit is not only delicious, but can also be very filling. I choose more dense fruits for when I’m hungry enough for a meal, but won’t be able to make a full meal happen any time soon (think: crying baby). Oranges and bananas are my good options for this scenario. Any fruit is a good option though and pre-slicing fruit earlier in the week is a good way to ensure that it actually gets eaten.


Pre-cut veggies are one "convenience food" that I don’t mind buying if I’m not buying a bunch of other pre-packaged, processed foods. Baby carrots, big bags of spinach and pre-cut broccoli are all great easy options. You’re much more likely to eat a salad when there isn’t any prep involved.


This is a great option to get a bit more protein in your day and makes eating your vegetables a bit more palatable if you’re not a fan of veggies like myself.


I am particularly fond of steel cut oats for their great texture and the nutritional punch that they pack and you can even find quick-cooking varieties that cook in 5-7 minutes. If you don’t think you can find 5-7 minutes to cook oatmeal in the morning you can always prepare a big pot of it ahead of time to portion out and heat up throughout the week.

Greek Yogurt

I love all yogurt, but the Greek variety has the most protein as well as a nice creamy texture that leaves me feeling full and satisfied. I like to throw in some berries or banana and a bit of flaxseed meal as well.

Flaxseed Meal

A quick and easy way to sneak in some extra Omega-3s into your day. Just sprinkle it on some of the foods you’re already eating.


Nuts, particularly raw almonds, are a favorite snacking option for me. A small handful offers a dose of protein, good fatty acids and keeps me full for just a bit longer.

Black Beans

You can eat these from the can or make them yourself ahead of time and then add them to salads or wrap them up in a tortilla for a protein packed lunch when you want it.


All you have to do is dump your fruits, veggies and maybe a dash of flaxseed meal or protein powder into a blender with a bit of milk or ice and pulse to the desired consistency. It’s a great way to get in a bunch of fruit and veggie servings in one sitting.


3 Things Pregnant Women Should Do, But Most Don't

By Michelle Horton, Disney Baby

Now that my sister is pregnant (see below), it’s given me a chance to reflect on what I discovered during pregnancy that no one told me. Things that my sister never would have thought of without a little well-meaning advice.

Here are three things that pregnant women should consider doing, but many don’t:

1. Take a prenatal breastfeeding class. You already know about Lamaze or The Bradley Method or any other kind of labor prep class, but I’d suggest taking a specific prenatal breastfeeding class — preferably taught by a certified lactation consultant. The amount of information you need to breastfeed — the physiological facts, baby positioning, feeding frequencies, complication troubleshooting — is much more involved than labor. And it’s also nice to have a lactation consultant on hand that you’re already comfortable with. Your body instinctually takes care of the labor (although a labor prep class can help ease anxiety of the unknown, and also help you to know your options and rights), but the breastfeeding? That doesn’t quite feel instinctual.

2. Prenatal yoga. I found yoga to be one of the most important preparations for my non-medicated labor, but I imagine it to be beneficial for any kind of labor: learning how to center yourself, to meditate, to get in tune with your body. And, let’s not forget, the breathing. See more about how prenatal yoga translates to labor.

3. Get properly fitted for a bra. Of course all women should probably get fitted for a bra by an actual expert — because apparently most of us wear the wrong bra size — but it’s especially important during pregnancy. Your heavier ever-growing breasts need proper support (pregnancy is a danger-zone for future sagging) and some relief from the incessant soreness. I swear: getting properly fitted will change your life. In fact, I’m taking my sister to get fitted for a new bra this weekend.

Little baby with bro sunglasses

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 favorites. 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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