Stages
Maternity
I like to tell my daughter she’s made of teddy grahams and milk. Cottage cheese with pickles and Wheat Thins. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. My son is all brownies and Mexican food. Those were my go-to pregnancy cravings. Powerful, consuming, satisfying, must-have. “What’s your baby made of?” It’s one of my favorite questions to ask. It inspires a variety of eager answers as women wistfully recall how nothing ever tasted as delicious as fresh summer... more
Have you or someone you know experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth or lost a newborn infant? Chances are you know someone who has endured this heartbreaking experience.1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage (loss before 20 weeks gestation) and 1 in 160 end in stillbirth(loss after 20 weeks gestation). Our son Bryson was our fourth pregnancy... more
We go to great lengths to photograph life’s big moments — those first smiles and steps, all the birthdays, the start of each school year, graduation day, wedding vows. So why wouldn’t we capture the very first one, the beginning of it all? Yes, birth photography may seem like an act of exhibitionism to some — a cruel-and-unusual addition... more
I didn't expect to be induced with my third baby. I was convinced walking would do the trick. But Archie was on his own timeline. A big boy nestled snugly in utero. Thirteen days late. For my first and second babies, labor had begun naturally, with my water breaking in dramatic fashion and sending me to the hospital.  I expected a... more
Meghan Marrinan Feliciano was due to give birth to her third child, a daughter named Sybil, in July 2016. The pregnancy went smoothly, the baby reached full term and the hospital bags were packed. She and her husband, Garrett, thought the early stages of labor had begun, but instead they received the devastating news that their baby no longer... more
MamaAfter the excitement of the positive pregnancy test wore off a bit, my partner (Galen) and I began talking through what was ahead, including when and how we’d tell our friends and family about the pregnancy, which parenting classes we’d take and, of course, how we’d handle communication around the birth of our little one.Because my parents... more
First there was the emergency C-section, a sudden and traumatic experience on its own. Then they found out their son was born, much to their surprise, with Down syndrome. They were filled with many different emotions at first, including shock, not knowing how to process the diagnosis. But life went on. And they fell in love with... more
When my best friend had her first child, she couldn’t believe how hard it was caring for a baby. She’d heard all the stories about sleepless nights, endless crying and nasty diaper blowouts.She was a longtime babysitting pro and an auntie, too. She was great with kids. She even worked with elementary school children for a living. She had all... more
The Midwest Fetal Care Center in Minneapolis was a marvel when it opened a year ago, offering life-saving fetal surgeries to babies in utero, including twins. Now the center has expanded its services to include open fetal surgeries with a special emphasis on treating spina bifida.Literally meaning “split spine,” the condition (which begins... more
I am still pregnant. This past week has felt like an eternity.When I typed today's date at the top of this article, I wrote Feb. 27, 2018. That's how it feels. I've been nesting up a storm. Cleaned the refrigerator. Trimmed the girls' finger and toe nails. Had my eyebrows waxed. Purged the kitchen counters. I am... more
I had forgotten how the final weeks of pregnancy turn me into the boy who cried wolf. I’m almost 39 weeks along now, and every day I can feel the baby lowering. For a fleeting moment, the lower abdominal pressure can masquerade as a contraction.I keep telling my husband that labor feels imminent, even though my due date isn’t until Feb. 20 – a... more
Navel pants — created by Sarah Longacre, the beloved founder of Blooma (a local yoga studio and haven for mamas and mamas-to-be) — are on sale now online.After making an early debut at Bellyrama at Lake Harriet this past September, the high-rise comfy pants, which include a removable 9-inch belly band, cost $70 (20 percent off if you sign up for e... more
I'm so happy to share our good news with you: I'm pregnant!We are expecting Baby No. 3 in late February. I just popped earlier this month. My first time wearing maternity jeans was at our trip to the RenFest. (Isn't Maria's fox dress adorable? It's from Little Rabbit Wears. I'm obsessed with all things fox and will be blogging about my... more
Since becoming a MoM (Mom of Multiples), I've been fortunate enough to join some amazing Facebook groups where moms can share photos and stories, ask questions and offer advice — all in a safe and positive environment. I read a post from a mom with newborn twins who was struggling with nursing and pumping and wondering what to do. She asked... more
Photo by Agape Moments Photography"Above all else, keep the babies on the SAME routine; once that’s accomplished, life is that much easier! And finally, ENJOY the small moments — the cuddles, smiles and first giggles."– Karen Kartman of Lino Lakes, mother of twins Aubrey and Lyla, pictured with big brother, Colby, 4, and Dad, Paul Photo... more
Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight SootherThis adorable owl emits a warm glow from its belly while projecting a calming constellation of a moon and stars.Lull your little one to sleep with eight different melodies and nature sounds.skiphop.com $39.99Solly Baby WrapKeep baby cool and comfortable with this lightweight, super-soft baby... more
At some point, it happens to all parents. Your baby spits up all over in the crib. Or your toddler gets sick and throws up in bed. Or your recently-potty-trained preschooler has an accident while sleeping. When these things happen in the middle of the night, they're even more difficult to deal with. You need to clean up the mess as well... more
When I found out I was carrying not one, but two babies, I was in shock. The funny thing about it was that I knew twins ran in my family and was trying to prepare myself for that possibility before I got pregnant with my (now 3-year-old) daughter. This time around, the possibility of twins hadn't even crossed my mind. After the news sunk in,... more
The Michael and Ann Ciresi Midwest Fetal Care Center — a new 6,700-square-foot clinic located in The Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis — opened March 14.It’s the first and largest advanced fetal care program in the Upper Midwest, made possible by a partnership involving Children’s Minnesota, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minnesota Perinatal... more
OK, this isn’t my WHOLE birth story.But I can tell you this: My son’s birth included a dose of morphine and a possibly-botched epidural installment (because of curvature in my spine), which meant I felt powerful contractions to the end.Why exactly did I receive a narcotic?I believe, ultimately, it was because I was afraid — of pain, of tearing,... more
When expecting our first child, we knew we were going to need a high chair, but we didn't know which one to choose. Our kitchen is pretty small, so we definitely didn't have space for a freestanding high chair — they seemed too big to me anyway. We agreed getting a high chair that straps onto a regular chair made the most sense. When... more
Non-alcoholic beer Saying that any wine or beer is non-alcoholic is a bit of a misnomer, since both can sometimes contain trace amounts of alcohol. Beers typically contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) in the U.S., which means you’d have to drink nine O’Doul’s to equal even one regular beer. German-brewed Clausthaler... more
Jennifer Schwertfeger, a Mankato mother of three daughters, knows the trauma of NICU — and beyond — all too well.Her second daughter, Grace, was born at 24 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 6.2 ounces. Early on in her pregnancy, Schwertfeger faced complications, including a torn placenta in her sixth week and a large blood clot attached to her uterus... more
Feb. 8, 2009Hi Thomas. I’m your dad, Colin. Your mom, Rachel, and I are sitting with you in the NICU. You were born Feb. 5, 2009, at 7:07 p.m. Things have been hectic the last few days. You see, we weren’t expecting you for five more weeks. Unfortunately, your mom suddenly starting having some health issues that could have endangered both of you,... more
In many ways, our notion of pain during labor comes from cultural expectation, including basically every birth depicted in scripted TV. Mothers scream and sometimes become cartoonishly violent toward their spouses. It’s high drama.But for a growing number of women, even in the U.S., childbirth is viewed as an intense, but not necessarily... more
Whether you’re a new-mom-to-be on a quest for fresh knowledge, a friend looking for a fun baby-shower book or a grandparent in search of a perfect Mother’s Day gift for your daughter, we hope you’ll find something in this mix to pique your interest. Ma Doula: A Story Tour of BirthYou’ll hear a lot of birth stories during your pregnancy — be... more
Q: I’m pregnant. What can I do to protect myself against the Zika virus?A: Zika virus disease has become an international health concern because of the multiple countries currently affected by the virus. Mexico, Central America and the northern two-thirds of South America are countries where the virus currently is causing infections.... more
If you’re parenting or expecting multiples, Welcome Baby Care needs you! Birth rates for multiples are increasing, and the Edina-based postpartum doula agency wants to learn from local parents about their needs. Parents or expecting parents of multiples are invited to share their most pressing challenges in a 23-question online survey. ... more
Everyone loves you when you’re pregnant. (Well, maybe not everyone — there are those militant anti-breeders who will shoot you disgusted looks when you deign to enter Five Watt Coffee, distended abdomen in tow.) But in general no matter how lousy you might feel, you can count on friends and strangers alike to smile at you approvingly and insist... more
You are enough. And Jacquelyn B. Fletcher’s hand-stamped words — in Dear You: Messages For Moms, released in February ($16.95) — will give you permission to connect fearlessly with that truth. Billed as a manifesto for mothers, Fletcher’s latest book (a sweet Mother’s Day gift) features the imagined voice of Your Heart, which gives moms... more
The hospital tour guide stopped next to a bank of windows, behind which stood a darkened room filled with folding chairs, empty boxes and definitely no babies. “This is the nursery,” he announced, smirking. Some prospective patients laughed nervously; others chuckled knowingly. “Yeah, we don’t ship babies away to the nursery at this... more
Q: Do we need a car seat for our 1-year-old on an airplane?A: Airline travel with young children is no easy task. The planning checklist often includes items needed to ensure adequate entertainment, food, diapering and clothing changes and comfort or transitional objects. But the most fundamental planning must start when purchasing... more
Gabriel is a bright, adorable 5-year-old. He runs around the park, playing on the equipment, occasionally checking in with his mom, even trying, when urged, to include his 3-year-old sister, Cecilia, in the park’s cool climbing structure. “It’s his favorite,” said his mom, Tara Baker of Eagan.Things weren’t always this carefree for Gabriel.It... more
I can't believe my twin babies are three months old! My toddler will officially become a 3-year-old this month, too. Where has the time gone? I've been back at work for a few weeks now and finally feel caught up on things and able to write this post. (I'm a graphic designer first, mommy blogger second.) Back to work It felt strange... more
The SassyPop Play Pod ($59.99) features gorgeous bright colors, five detachable toys and an especially large base with double padding and high sides to corral your kid.But what really sets it apart is that it twists and collapses down, arches and all, into a convenient travel/storage bag so you can take in on the go — maybe to grandma’s house... more
Q: What do you recommend for vitamins for kids? Gummies? Flintstones? And at what age should we start?A: For children older than 1, in general, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend vitamin supplements. It’s thought that if otherwise healthy children are eating a normal, well-balanced diet, they’re receiving what they need of... more
Q: What’s the best time to take away a pacifier?  A: The easiest time to get rid of a pacifier is to never start using one in the first place. I realize this isn’t a practical or popular suggestion, since the vast majority of infants probably use pacifiers to some extent. But I believe they really don’t need them. The next-... more
If a Boppy pillow and a Bumbo seat got together and had a kid, it would probably result in something a lot like the Hugaboo baby seat ($59.99).This 100 percent polyester floor seat offers leg and back support for ages 3 months and older. It includes an attached seat bottom to keep Baby from sliding onto the floor, plus two hoops for attaching... more
If you Google “best toys for babies,” you’ll come up with more than 37 million results. The offerings are varied and extensive, including a $23 NogginStik rattle — “not just a toy, a tool for laying mental growth foundation” — and a melodic snail that promises to “enhance sensory awareness, visual skills and hand-eye coordination.” Indeed,... more
“Of course I’m going home for the holidays!” said my friend with a look of disbelief. Not travel back east to visit her parents and extended family? Never! How could I even imply such a thing? Hats off to her for being so committed to the traditions of her family. However, I wondered if she’d factored in the reality of traveling with her... more
Keeping your most important items at your fingertips while you’re out with Baby is essential.  This Stroller Organizer Tray from Prince Lionheart ($25) features two cup holders and three storage areas. We like the Velcro-closure pocket that allows you to tuck your phone away from the elements. Four adjustable hook-and-loop straps make it easy... more
Q: We keep hearing about alternative vaccination schedules. Is there a benefit? A: I strongly encourage all patients to stick with the recommend vaccination schedule. The vaccination schedule is developed and evaluated yearly by the top infectious-disease and pediatric experts in the U.S. The recommended timing and spacing of the shots... more
Finally, there’s a stuffed animal your kid can take into the tub: SoapSox creatures ($14.95) — made of soft polyester terry cloth — each have a soap chamber. Simply “feed” your SoapSox pal soap (bar or liquid), immerse in water and scrub, using built-in finger pockets and an antimicrobial sponge on the inside that helps you build up lather.... more
Instructions for the Noisy Ball ($25) — based on a traditional folk design — are quite simple, really: Grab, shake, squeeze. Crinkle, jingle, squeak. Its 36 soft velour panels in nine vibrant colors are designed to engage a baby’s senses of sight, touch and sound. And it’s machine washable.   more
Life changes dramatically when you have a baby — and that includes your home. Here are five products designed to help families keep their abodes clean and beautiful despite bouncy seats, activity mats and Boppy pillows stuffed into every corner. Cozy crib Stokke, which became a household name in 1972 with its modern Z-line wooden... more
 Babies love to read books! Here are some of our top picks, all new to bookstores in the past year, including engaging animals, photos of a real infant in action and a Minnesota twist on a timeless classic. Goodnight LoonYou’ll find the same charming rhythm and rhyming of the Margaret Wise Brown original in this delightfully localized... more
This month one of my very best friends is expecting her second child. I’m so excited to meet this new little person, to hold a brand new baby, to curl the infant’s tightly clenched fingers around my index finger, to smell the top of his or her head, and then, to give the baby back to Mom and Dad and go home — to my full household with four... more
One day, you’re a woman with a job, a social life and the option of sleeping without interruption until your alarm goes off. The next, you’re a mother, suddenly responsible for ensuring the well-being of a small human who can’t turn himself over or support his own head. It’s beautiful and profound — but also pretty terrifying. The... more
Q: How can we get our son, 4 months old, to sleep through the night? He’s still getting up every three hours.A: Infant sleep training has many notable gurus, Dr. Sears and Dr. Ferber, to name a few, who have devised methods to encourage sleep. The most important thing to recognize is that every baby is different and every parent has... more
Q: How long is it safe to keep infant twins in the same crib?A: Although it may seem harmless or even more natural to have twins in the same crib, this isn’t a practice endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The reason for this is the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Twins are often born prematurely or have... more
Who doesn’t love a room full of new toys? Parents. That’s who.Whether you’re an expecting parent, a new parent or are already knee-deep in diapers and Disney-princess dresses, there’s a surprising challenge that can sometimes arise: Grandparents.In most cases, Nana and Pop just want to share a little extra love with their grandchildren. But,... more
“This is my favorite, favorite thing to do,” said doula Sarah Longacre, owner of Blooma, as she invited Minneapolis mom-to-be Mia Como to take the center seat in the circle of women gathered for her Mother Blessing. “It’s different than anything else we do at Blooma — and different than anything we do in the United States — to celebrate moms... more
A newborn baby. Tiny fingers, perfect little nose, itty-bitty feet, fuzzy little hairs and that delicate, oh-so-soft skin. A newborn photography session truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to document all those tiny details. It’s the very beginning of your child’s story, and she’ll never look the way she does right now, during those... more
Minnesota Parent’s annual Baby Issue is on stands now!It’s one of my favorite magazines to produce every year because — in my opinion — few things are more interesting, more complicated, more challenging or more fun (yes, really) than babies.Babies are the beginning of everything.Yes, they’re starting their own lives. And that’s miraculous.... more
When Betsy Batista found out she had cancer in 2014, the diagnosis was especially difficult as it meant she had to stop breastfeeding her 4-month-old daughter so that she could undergo chemotherapy. “I was devastated,” the St. Louis Park mom said. That’s when Batista’s doula told her about the possibility of donated milk: Mothers... more
Fussy babies love to be swaddled, but in summer, there’s always a risk of overheating your baby with too much fabric.The Ollie Swaddle  ($48) for ages newborn to 4 months is made with a custom moisture-wicking material to minimize overheating, and its elasticity allows for freedom of movement, along with an opening at the bottom that makes it... more
Running has always been therapeutic for me. I’ve been a runner for more than 20 years — and the lead therapist for the Health Partners Regions Hospital Running Program for the past eight.So when I became pregnant for the first time, I wanted to be able to continue running as much as my body allowed.After a successful delivery, I was ready to... more
Our daughter was about to turn 2 and we thought we were ready to have another baby. My husband and I each grew up with an older sister and we wanted our daughter to grow up with a sibling, too. Watching her play with her dolls and stuffed animals really showed the potential she has to be an amazing big sister.It wasn't long before I suspected I... more
In American culture — and beyond — there’s an expectation that marriage comes before motherhood.There’s also a stereotype that single mothers are the result of unwanted or unintended pregnancies or the product of absent fathers.But a fast-growing group of women are shattering both long-held expectations and stereotypes by becoming SMCs — single... more
Chewbeads — a popular maker of colorful, chew-safe necklaces — has introduced a stroller / car seat toy attachment known as the Gramercy. It seems like the perfect distraction for curious babies who like to touch, tug, and chew on the go. It’s 100 percent silicone and available in four colors.$15 • chewbeads.com more
My in-laws live in rural Maine, and this means ample opportunities for outdoor fun when we visit. One time, when my daughter was about 2½ and my son was around 8 months old, we decided to take them on a hike. We read about a relatively easy trail that meandered through a forest before ending with the great reveal of a magnificent... more
Parents and grandparents around the world have been wearing infants for centuries, using a variety of slings, wraps and other contraptions. Though the practice is only just becoming a mainstream habit in modern Western culture, companies are offering a dizzying array of devices that allow parents to easily carry children from the newborn... more
It’s incredibly fun to celebrate the many milestone of your baby’s first year. Sticky Bellies stickers make it easy. Each set includes 13 stickers with themes like Sporty Shorty, Little Trooper, Wild One (animals), Painted Pixie and many others, including a pack of Baby's First Holidays. We love these as a baby shower gift ($14).   more
The display flashed "Great workout!"and a sense of dread dug its claws deep in my belly.I stepped off the treadmill feeling like I was still moving, my heart doing that flutter thing again. I waited for the sensation to pass. It always passed, I told myself. Always. Hadn’t the doctor said staying active would help improve my mood? If it was... more
You’re pregnant! For the first time!Or, maybe, again! Again? With twins! Twins!? Yep: You’re about to experience something awesome, dare I say, miraculous. And, yet … a pregnancy can also leave you wondering: What was I thinking? Never are the sublime and mundane so tightly intertwined as when you contemplate bringing a new life into the world —... more
Honey-mustard baked ham
1 (8- to 12-pound) bone-in shank-half ham1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup honey1 tablespoon Dijon mustard⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepperServes 12 to 14_________________________________Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove any wrappings from the ham as well as the plastic disk on the bone. Place the ham on a... more
I am by no means an expert on pregnancy, and I am most certainly not an obstetrician, midwife or lactation consultant. I am, however, a mother who’s been through two very different pregnancies and postpartum periods, and there are certain bits of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way. So — for those of you who are pregnant right now — what follows... more
Ah, the joy of preparing for a new baby! Stockpiling tiny sleepers, making lists of names, picking out adorable crib sheets and … researching breast pumps! OK, so maybe contemplating breast pumps isn’t at the top of your list of fun things to do during your third trimester. Maybe you don’t know if you really need one. Maybe you’re overwhelmed... more
One of the most exciting times of a woman’s pregnancy is decorating her baby’s nursery. Like so many new mothers-to-be, I spent hours researching the safest car seats, cribs and toys. I baby-proofed everything in the house. When it came time to convert our spare bedroom into a nursery for our soon-to-be-born daughter, I knew not to use... more
Setting up your baby registry? Here’s what to splurge on, what to skip, plus a few outside-the-box ideas.You might not need it, but you'll love it. Blooming BathThis soft, colorful flower-shaped pad ($40) turns your kitchen sink into a baby bath. It later serves as a bathtub cushion for bigger babies — a simple solution to the slippery,... more
The Twin Cities supports a uniquely vibrant birthing community. There are dozens of seasoned home-birth midwives, a handful of free-standing birth centers in the metro and surrounding areas and several hospitals striving to be more mom-baby friendly every day.Add to that an unusually concentrated pocket of maternity and postpartum businesses and... more
“I wonder what Lori’s been up to?” I thought as I scrolled, zombie-like, through my Facebook feed. “I haven’t seen much from her on here lately.”I met Lori at a mom-and-baby class when my daughter was about 6 months old. “She looks cool,” I thought as I admired Lori’s well-worn motorcycle boots and her “stormy grey” Chewbeads.Lori and I eventually... more
Every day a new app comes along, promising to make life better, easier or more fun. But they can’t all be that great. Luckily for us, we have Valerie Moe, Minnesota Parent’s tech-savvy mom blogger from Bloomington.She’s into apps — like really into apps — and recently she’s been sharing some of her favorites for parents and parents-to-be, too! All... more
I was sitting in the special-care nursery a few days after Felix was born, trying in vain to breastfeed my son. My milk hadn’t “come in” yet and he was having trouble latching properly. I turned to my husband, who was sitting beside me. “You know, I’m totally going to try to make breastfeeding work out this time,” I said. “But if he needs more... more
It was official — I was pregnant. I'd suspected I could be, taken a home test and gotten confirmation from my doctor's office. What happened next?One of the first things I did after getting the results from my blood test was to go to Target and pick up a copy of the book every expectant mother should read. Of course I'm talking about What to... more
Being a new mom is overwhelming. Amidst the post-delivery waves of emotions, you're expected to know details about everything relating to your baby. In the hospital, the nurses ask you how many wet or dirty diapers has your newborn had today (and they're speaking in 24-hour increments since the time of birth, not calendar days), when did you last... more
When you’re 3 years old and the only child in the house, change can be difficult to handle. You’ve been pampered, perhaps, your entire life and, presumably, have had things fall in your favor more often than not.Then mom and dad decided to make the family a quartet.Oh. Well, that’s different. That’s a huge adjustment.Luckily for Josie... more
Q: What’s the story on pacifiers, nipple confusion and nursing? What about thumb sucking? I’m expecting next month and would like some information.A: Infants find sucking to be very soothing. They also like to exercise their facial structures and this probably helps enhance speech and language skills. It’s an important developmental task and way... more
My daughter was about a year old when I went to see Gramma’s Boyfriend, a band featuring local musician Haley Bonar. I’d last seen her perform many months before, when both Haley and I were pregnant. I don’t know her personally, but the fact that we have daughters about the same age made me feel like we had some kind of cosmic bond. Then... more
“How’s breastfeeding going?” asked the facilitator of my “new mom” class. Eight of us were sitting in a circle with our newborns. Clad in nursing covers to hide the evidence (except for me and one other mother), we were all attempting to breastfeed our babies.“Breastfeeding challenges are one of the most common things new mothers face,” she said,... more