• Why It's Important to Trust Your Motherly InstinctsLast week Macks developed a cough. Both of my girls have had a cough on and off for weeks, so I just figured that he had the same and brushed it off as a cold. Over night the cough seemed to get a little bit worse and he seemed very congested. I checked his temperature and it was normal and he wasn't acting fussy, but something deep down told me I needed to take him to the doctor.

    As soon as the doctor walked into the room I told her that I was pretty sure that I thought it was "just a cold," but I wanted to be sure because at seven weeks old his immune system isn't all that strong. She checked his ears, nose, and throat all before checking his chest to check out his breathing.

    She stayed on his chest for a while before telling me to move him onto his stomach to check his breathing from his back. As soon as she put the stethoscope on his back she immediately told me that his chest was congested and that they needed to run some tests. "Why don't you sit down and feed him, you

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  • 6 tips for dropping a second nap6 tips for dropping a second nap

    With my first child, I dreaded the drop down to one nap. My free time! All gone!

    With my second child, I've been much more anxious for her to make the switch, since having only one nap to work around will free us up a lot to do morning outings (and since my older child isn't napping in the morning, it's not like it's free time for me anyway).

    However, I'm remembering how difficult it can be for a baby to make the switch from being a twice-a-day-napper to a once-a-day-napper. Now that I'm going through it a second time around, I've learned a few tricks and secrets about what to expect and how to handle it:

    #1: Early Bedtime

    I've been putting my baby down about 30 minutes earlier most nights to help her make up for a little sleep (plus, she's exhausted by the end of the day!)

    #2: Let her have two naps every third or fourth day

    Letting her have two naps every couple of days helps hold the whole thing together. If I tried to give her two naps every day, she'd just sit

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  • By: Ivy Jacobson for TheBump.com

    Photo: HBOIt looks like the Bella Swan-naming trend from Twilight might be over, since the latest baby naming craze is all thanks to a little show called Game of Thrones.

    More from The Bump: The 10 weirdest ways to pick baby's name

    If you're on the hunt for a fearless and strong name for your baby girl, Khaleesi is the top contender from the hit HBO drama, since 146 babies were given that name in 2012, according to Social Security Administration data.

    Daenerys garnered just 21, but Arya held strong at 700, since the name was popular before the show started.

    More from The Bump:
    Color-inspired baby names

    If you like the idea of giving your baby a name with a medieval twist, here are some other monikers from the show that are uniquely awesome:

    Girls' Names:

    Boys' Names:

    Read More »from Take Your Game of Thrones Obsession to the Next Level with These Baby Names
  • TV Free: How 4 Years Without Cable Has Changed Our LivesTV Free: How 4 Years Without Cable Has Changed Our LivesNearly four years ago, my husband and I decided to cancel our cable subscription.

    Or maybe it was satellite. I don't remember anymore.

    Whatever it was, the payment was a small fortune at the time for us. We were new parents, owned a home, and had two car payments. I found teaching nearly equaled the cost of putting our daughter in daycare, so I decided to stay at home.

    We had to make cuts, and the TV service was the first to go. The decision was fairly easy for me, having just read Susan Linn's book Consuming Kids. I was intrigued and a little shocked at what I'd read about the crazy way companies advertise to children.

    Beyond that, we realized many of our shows could be watched online. Netflix was just starting up; Hulu was as well - it didn't make sense to pay nearly $100 for TV service. Then we had to stop everything to watch a show or pay even more to record it for a time that worked for us. So off it went.

    The first few months (maybe even a year) it was hard not to

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  • Reflections on My Two-Year Fertility JourneyReflections on My Two-Year Fertility JourneyToday is my 36th birthday. Two years and two weeks ago, I had my first ever appointment at a fertility center. Tomorrow will be two years exactly that I've been writing for Babble.

    When we first decided we were going to start trying to have a family, there wasn't much information out there for us. Sure, all the medical info was available, but there were so few stories of how families like ours are formed, so few real words from other lesbian mothers - so I decided to blog about it.

    I reached out to a dear ex-coworker of mine who had tons of blogging experience. I wanted to know which site she used: WordPress, Tumblr, what? I told her my plans to share my story, and - without it ever once crossing my mind - she asked if I would want to share it on Babble. Of course she'd have to speak to the editors there, and there were no guarantees, but sure! Why wouldn't I want to?

    Babble decided to take me on. To be a platform for me to tell my story. I signed up with their Pregnancy

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  • I have to admit that the quality and complexity of our household art project ambitions really took a nose-dive once there was a baby brother in the picture. My poor daughter. She loves nothing more than to sit down to the art table, supplies spread before her. But it's hard to craft a play-dough baby while holding an actual baby (though not, as I've learned, impossible). Still and yet, there are rainy days, and beautiful days when Mama cannot emotionally handle the stress of the playground, and thus: art projects. A clean one, for the very lightly-functional days, a messy one, for when baby's studiously drooling on the exersaucer, and a REALLY messy one, for when baby's solidly napping and daddy's home--just in case.
    By Amy Shearn, author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far is The Ocean from Here. This post originally appeared on her blog Household Words.

    Want more Home and DIY content from Elizabeth Street?

    10 Kitchen Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

    11 Life Hacks to Make

    Read More »from Toddler Art Projects, from Clean to Messy to Messiest
  • Some years ago, a lovely encounter with parenting/sleep consultant Natalie Nevares, founder of Mommywise, in the ever-enchanting Brooklyn Botanic Gardens cherry tree esplanade helped me to put my stress about my kids' sleep into some much-needed perspective. I will never forget that moment when I realized how silly it was to stress myself about nap schedules and where the kids slept and when and how and all of these things I'd been losing just this sleep I was trying to preserve over.

    Nevares's non-dogmatic approach was so liberating! (She believes in something called "not feeling guilty or judging other mothers"...?) And this meeting couldn't have come at a better time for me. A few offhand comments from better sleep-trainers than I--and a bad sleep week to boot--had me feeling like a mess, as if I'd failed somehow by not getting my kids to sleep the way I wanted them to. Just the day before, I'd been beside myself because my son wouldn't nap (and I'd really, really been counting on

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  • Mad MenThis Sunday marks the kickoff of Mad Men's final season. Admittedly, our love for the show has waned a bit over the years. Despite its impeccable art direction, the superficial ways in which Mad Men has nodded at (address seems too strong a word) the social and racial conflicts that came to a climax during the 60s and 70s have left many of us a tad underwhelmed.
    So what keeps us coming back? We'd have to say it's our attachment to the characters. For one thing we're excited to see Don Draper finally eating his just desserts. Season six left off with his forced sabbatical, marking a new era in our erstwhile golden boy's existence. Not to mention we love the newly slim and self-aware Betty. Sure, she's still a piece of work, but we've grown a certain fondness for her over the years. No matter how blatantly she criticizes her daughter's body image or generally impedes her children's stable psychological development (by, say, dismissing their beloved lifelong nanny), Betty holds a

    Read More »from The 5 Most Hilarious Parenting Moments from 'Mad Men'
  • 7 of My Fears About Homeschooling

    Homeschooling FearsHomeschooling FearsMost of the time I'm fairly confident in our decision to homeschool our daughter. I loved to teach school, I love to read and learn, and I have a good idea of what it entails both now and as she gets older. We have a close knit relationship, and I can look down the road to seeing our relationship enhanced by this adventure.

    Maybe not at 16. But later.

    However, like any major decision we make for our children and families, I have nagging fears about homeschooling that surface with different parts of life.

    1. Is There Such a Thing as Too Much One-on-One Attention?

    I wonder if I'll be able to develop Bella into an independent learner as the years pass, since there will be nothing else to distract me from her. While a parent with a larger family might have to tell a child, "You'll have to figure it out, I'm with your sibling," that won't be the case for us. Although she does amazing while working and playing on her own now, I want to make sure it's a skill that continues.


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  • The Unbelievable Way One Woman Gave BirthThe Unbelievable Way One Woman Gave BirthAs a labor and delivery nurse for the past three years, I've seen a lot of women give birth.

    Epidural-aided and natural, vaginally and via C-section, side-lying, on all fours or by the ever-popular legs splayed to the side in bed route -- I thought I had seen it all.

    And I have to confess that I am one of those weird people that happens to think that birth is the single most wondrous thing on earth. It took me months after training before I was able to assist in a delivery without having to embarrassingly wipe my tears away with my latex-gloved hand.

    But there is one birth that sticks out in my mind as the one that I will never forget -- the birth that stills seem almost unbelievable to me, the birth that moved me to tears I didn't even try to hide.

    They were a couple approaching their 40s, a husband and wife team who had thought they were "done," with three children already well past the diapers and crying-every-two-hours stage.

    It's a situation that many of us dread --

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