What to Look for in a Good Prenatal Vitamin

Pregnant woman taking her prenatal vitamin

What to Look for in a Good Prenatal Vitamin

Prenatal vitamins play a vital role in a healthy pregnancy. I began taking prenatal vitamins before becoming pregnant. Still, for moms who have just found out that they’re pregnant, it’s important to begin taking a prenatal supplement as soon as you find out that you’re expecting.

A good prenatal vitamin should ideally be taken before conception, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding (1-3). According to most physicians, the first trimester of pregnancy is a critical time for essential nutrients, as rapid cell division and the foundation of the internal organs and the central nervous system of your baby are developing.

By this time, women should eliminate alcohol from their daily routine and should be focusing on eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of veggies, fruit, and lean protein.

Unfortunately, many women may have trouble meeting their recommended daily intakes for certain vitamins and minerals, especially in the first trimester, when common morning sickness and nausea may be prevalent.

So, what should you do if you’re not sure you’re getting enough nutrients?

Adding a prenatal vitamin can help support both mom and baby during the first trimester and is a perfect way to fill in the nutrition gaps that accompany the first trimester (and beyond). Ideally, you should look for a good prenatal vitamin that is designed to carry moms and babies through preconception to pregnancy and into the weeks and months after delivery.

But there are many prenatal vitamins on the market, and it can be hard to know where to start . . .

Read More: Prenatal Vitamins 101: When to Start Taking Them, What to Look For, & What to Expect

What to Look for in a Good Prenatal Vitamin:

1. Quality

When it comes to prenatal vitamins, many women choose the lowest-cost option they can purchase over the counter. However, there are several benefits to taking a prescription prenatal vitamin instead of an over-the-counter generic.

First off, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors and regulates pharmaceutical prenatal vitamins. This means that expecting mothers can rest easy knowing the quality of pharmaceutical-grade products.

If you’re worried about the cost – don’t fret. Prescription prenatal vitamins are often made more affordable through Medicaid coverage to women who would not have access to prenatal vitamins through other sources. Also, many prescription prenatal vitamins often offer savings coupons to help reduce the cost.

2. Iron

Iron supports the baby’s growth and development and may help prevent iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women (4,5). Many pregnant women experience iron deficiency anemia, notably during the third trimester – a particularly important time to maintain healthy iron levels as this is when the total demand for iron increases as maternal stores are drawn upon by the fetus (4,6). Be sure that your prenatal vitamin contains iron, in a relatively high absorbable form, to help limit stomach upset, nausea, or constipation.

3. DHA

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an Omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) that may serve as a primary building block for the healthy development of the brain, eyes, cells, and nervous system (7-11). There is a concern, however, that DHA derived from large fish, including shark and swordfish, contains contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. Be sure that your DHA supplement is made with highly purified fish oil to help eliminate these concerns. Most prenatal vitamins do not include DHA, but it’s highly recommended to take an additional, pregnancy-safe fish oil supplement.

4. Folate

Folic acid, or folate, is one of the most essential nutrients you can take to protect the health of your baby. It may help lessen the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), including spina bifida (1-3,12). To effectively raise folic acid levels to help protect from potential birth defects, women should ideally take folic acid daily for at least one month before conception, and daily while they are pregnant (1-3).

According to the NIH, folic acid supplementation may increase the likelihood of full-term births and lower the risk of preterm birth (1, 3, 12). Some women have a genetic predisposition that impairs proper metabolism of folic acid, so they require a form of folate that allows for absorption (3).


References:
  1. Czeizel AE, Dudás I, Paput L, Bánhidy F. Prevention of neural-tube defects with periconceptional folic acid, methylfolate, or multivitamins? Ann Nutr Metab. 2011;58(4):263–271.
  2. Chidambaram B. Folate in pregnancy. Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences. 2012;7(2):81. doi:10.4103/1817-1745.102559.
  3. Greenberg JA, Bell SJ, Guan Y, Yu Y. Folic Acid Supplementation and Pregnancy: More Than Just Neural Tube Defect Prevention. Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011;4(2):52-59.
  4. Scholl TO. Maternal Iron Status: Relation to fetal growth, length of gestation and the neonate’s endowment. Nutrition reviews. 2011;69(Suppl 1):S23-S29. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00429.x.
  5. Raman TR, Devgan A, Sood S, Gupta A, Ravichander B. Low Birth Weight Babies: Incidence and risk factors. Medical Journal, Armed Forces India. 1998;54(3):191-195. doi:10.1016/S0377-1237(17)30539-7.
  6. Millman, N. Review Article: Oral Iron Prophylaxis in Pregnancy: Not Too Little and Not Too Much! Journal of Pregnancy. Volume 2012. Article ID 514345 doi:10.1155/2012/514345.
  7. Carlson S. Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation in pregnancy and lactation. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89(Suppl):678–684.
  8. Greenberg JA, Bell SJ, Van Ausdal W. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008; 1(4)(Suppl):162-169.
  9. Cheruku SR, Montgomery-Downs HE, Farkas SL, Thoman EB, Lammi-Keefe CJ. Higher maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy is associated with more mature neonatal sleep-state patterning. Amer J Clin Nutr. 2002; 76:608-613.
  10. Prescott SL, Barden AE, Mori TA, Dunstan JA. Maternal fish oil supplementation in pregnancy modifies neonatal leukotriene production by cord-blood-derived neutrophils. Clin Sci. 2007; 113:409–416.
  11. Jones ML, Mark PJ, Waddell BJ. Maternal dietary omega-3 fatty acids and placental function. Reproduction. 2014; 147:R143–R152.
  12. NIH. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Folate. Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH Web site. http://ods.od.nih.gov/pdf/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional.pdf. Reviewed March 2, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2018.
About the Author /

Kate has a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Exercise Science and is a fitness expert. As a fitness professional with countless years of experience helping women transform their bodies, Kate gives moms the tools needed to reach their health goals.

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You Can't Spoil a Baby, Here's Why 👶💕⁠
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The battle of opinions regarding whether or not you can spoil a baby has been raging for decades, especially among grandparents and those born during the time of little affection. Our children's great-grandparents were most likely raised with the idea that love and affection and responding to a baby's cries will spoil them and make them even fussier. While that idea might seem ludicrous to us, there's a reason such an approach was widely believed. Here's what parenting has looked like over the decades and how present-day science says you cannot spoil a baby. ❤️ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Most women who have had children are fully aware of the hormonal and emotional changes that they experience. However, science is only just starting to understand how these changes occur in human mothers’ brains. While mothers know what it feels like to experience these changes, most of us don't know exactly what happens to a woman's brain when she becomes a mother. Turns out, a lot is happening! 😲 {Click 🔗 in bio to read more about it!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rachel MacPherson⁠
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You may think that you are helping them by doing e You may think that you are helping them by doing everything for them. But there comes a time when they need to learn how to do things for themselves. ⁠
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However you choose to feed your baby, your baby an However you choose to feed your baby, your baby and your opinion are all that matter. If you choose and are able to breastfeed, feed your baby anywhere and everywhere HOWEVER you want to . . . with or without a cover. You have rights, mama. No need to explain or cover yourself for anybody if you don't want to. 💕⁠
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5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Potty Training⁠ 🚽⁠
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Let’s talk about potty training! It’s one of those monumental milestones we mamas walk through with our toddlers that make them suddenly seem like they went from babies to tiny little humans overnight. And, while it can be an exciting time (and a time to save some serious cash by ditching diapers), it can also come with lots of stress. 🙃 From cleaning up potty accidents for what may seem like days (or even weeks) to wondering if you’ll ever be able to drive further than down the block without having to stop for a potty break 🤦‍♀️, potty training can be daunting.⁠
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But, what many moms agree on is that once it’s done, you kinda forget about all the stress that came along with it. Kinda like pregnancy and giving birth —you just sort of forget about it all until you do it all over again.⁠ 🤪⁠
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Here are five things I wish I had known about potty training before I jumped into it with my then two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Because, if I had known these things, I think I would have been a bit more laid back about the whole thing! {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rebecca Jacobs⁠
📷: @reesetriplets
How Much Does IVF Cost?⁠ 💉⁠ .⁠ In the Uni How Much Does IVF Cost?⁠ 💉⁠
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In the United States, 16.2% of married women aged 15-49 struggle with infertility. It is no surprise, then, that fertility treatments are becoming more of a necessity for couples who are faced with infertility and wish to have children. While there are many types of fertility treatments, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is one of the most commonly known options. However, the high cost of IVF is often cited as the primary obstacle to undergoing treatment. 💸 Let's take a look at what IVF entails, and how much IVF costs. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷: @lizbrownfitness
She isn't as cheerful as usual? She is being a bit She isn't as cheerful as usual? She is being a bit short with her replies back? Don't be hard on her. It more than likely has nothing to do with you. You never how many times her kids got her up last night. 😴 #bekindalways
🖌: @growupbrite
You're the reason that I breathe but also the reas You're the reason that I breathe but also the reason that I am out of breath. 😉🤪😂 #momlife
You're My Baby Forever, But My Newborn for Now⁠ You're My Baby Forever, But My Newborn for Now⁠ 💕⁠
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When I had my first baby, everyone told me to enjoy the newborn stage because it goes fast, and I would miss it. But I was so exhausted and overwhelmed I didn’t believe them. 😴 While I was living through it, it felt like it took forever!⁠
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If you are there now or about to enter this stage, it’s a yummy, delicious, snuggly stage. But for me, it has always been one of the harder ones, every time I go through it. So I see and feel you, mama! It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Hold tight, though, because it doesn’t last forever.⁠
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So, while you are struggling to keep your eyes open, and your mental state together, here are a few things to try to savor while your baby is still a newborn. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rebecca Guez⁠
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Daddy Chronicles: Breastfeeding 💙⁠ by @chroni Daddy Chronicles: Breastfeeding 💙⁠
by @chroniclesofdaddy⁠
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I've been asked so many questions by men about fatherhood. So I figured I'd drop some knowledge on my fellow Dads and soon-to-be-Dads. Here's what it looks like for the first few weeks or months after your child is born. Yup. If mom breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you'll wonder "what is there for me to do?" Here are my top 5 tips for any Dad after your child is born.⁠
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1️⃣ For night feedings. When mom wakes up in the middle of the night, you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far.⁠
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2️⃣ Ask mom if she can pump and then pick 1 feeding that you will always do. Mom will take on almost everything and will burn herself out if you let her. At times you may have to force her to rest without worrying about the baby. This is an easy way to do that without a fight.⁠
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3️⃣ Don't put a time limit on how long mom breastfeeds the baby. It's not just about feeding your child it's about them bonding as well. I know everyone has a different length of time they will breastfeed and as a Dad, it's hard to fully understand. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try and rush this process. It's not our place and it's not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can't win.⁠
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4️⃣ Be patient. I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger and bigger they get the more Daddy Time will be coming your way.⁠
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5️⃣ Paternity leave! If you have it TAKE IT. The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby it's hard, but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child. ⁠
If someone needs this info tag them ❤️⁠
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Absolutely love these tips from @chroniclesofdaddy. 🙌
7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body 7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body After Baby 🧘‍♀️⁠
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The postpartum period, or period of recovery that takes place after a mother gives birth, is an important time for mothers to take care of themselves. 🥰 Typically, if you’re less than 6 weeks postpartum you don’t want to put any pressure on your core muscles. Also, your body’s levels of relaxin, the hormone that loosens joints to prepare for childbirth, is elevated for 3-6 months after childbirth, and longer if you are breastfeeding. All this means is: take these postpartum yoga poses slowly and stretch yourself gently. No gymnastics here or pushing beyond what is comfortable.⁠
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Remember, every mama’s body is different, so listen to how you feel and seek advice from a medical professional if you have questions about how and when to begin your personal exercise plan. Note: Try to do the following yoga poses in the order they are listed. {Click 🔗 in bio to see the 7 yoga poses to strengthen your body after baby!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
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It's been one of those days. 😑⁠ 📷: @kristy It's been one of those days. 😑⁠
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It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's mag It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's magic.⁠ ✨🤩
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Potty Training Tips! A step-by-step guide 🚽⁠ Potty Training Tips! A step-by-step guide 🚽⁠
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1️⃣ Look for signs of readiness:⁠
- Diaper dry for at least 1-2 hours.⁠
- Pulling at their diaper when its wet or soiled.⁠
- Hiding or fidgeting when going pee or poo in diaper.⁠
- Interest in others using the potty.⁠
- Waking up with a dry diaper after naps.⁠
- Telling you when they have gone pee or poo.⁠
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Potty training is much quicker if your child is showing the above signs, but you can start before this.⁠
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2️⃣ What you will need to buy:⁠
- Toilet seat insert to place on your toilet⁠
- Steps⁠
- Underwear (at least 10 pairs)⁠
- Foldable toilet seat (for when you are out of the house)⁠
- Piddle pad (for car journeys)⁠
- Waterproof shoes such as crocs, sliders, etc. (they can be rinsed and dried)⁠
- Not necessary but helpful: flushable wipes⁠
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3️⃣ Getting yourself and your child prepared:⁠
- Talk to your child about using the potty, maybe take them into the bathroom when you go and talk them through the process (e.g. wiping, flushing, and washing hands, etc.)⁠
- Practice pulling pants or shorts up and down.⁠
- Look on YouTube with your child at some potty training stories (e.g. 'I Want My Potty' and 'Pirate Pete's Potty')⁠
- Involve your child in choosing and buying everything you need - choosing character-themed underwear is usually very exciting!⁠
- Sit your child on the potty at every diaper change, first thing in the morning and just before bed to get them used to sitting on the toilet.⁠
- Teach your child the correct vocabulary or signs needed to communicate when they need to go potty.⁠
- Make sure you have plenty of spare clothes.⁠
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4️⃣ Let's get toilet trained:⁠
- Get your child to choose a pair of underwear and put them on.⁠
- Talk to them about using the toilet and communicating when they need to pee or poo. You can sit them on the toilet at this point if you wish.⁠
- Take your child to the toilet every 15/20 minutes. Say "let's go to the potty" rather than asking "do you want to go to the toilet" - if you ask, they are likely to say no! Also, look for signs like moving from side-to-side or hiding. These are normal signs that they might need to go potty.⁠
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(Continue reading in the comments!)
The Not-So-Easy Baby: Why Some Parents Have It Har The Not-So-Easy Baby: Why Some Parents Have It Harder Than Others⁠ 😢⁠
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Why are the parents of some infants relaxed and at ease while other parents are exhausted, guilty, and frustrated with raising their new infant? 😞 Is it because of their parenting skills or is it due to something else? Why do some parents have not-so-easy babies? {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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“You are my reason.⁠ ⁠ You are the reason I “You are my reason.⁠
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You are the reason I get up each morning.⁠
Even though my eyelids are as heavy as a five-ton truck.⁠
Even though all I want is to sleep in, a coffee and breakfast in bed.⁠
You are more important.⁠
You need me.⁠
For you, I would do anything.⁠
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You are the reason I am finally comfortable in my own skin.⁠
Even though I am a size bigger than I used to be.⁠
Even though my boobs cannot be described as 'perky'⁠
You relied on my body.⁠
You gave it purpose.⁠
For you, I will always love it.⁠
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You are the reason I now know the importance of patience.⁠
Even though I sometimes miss the fast-paced life.⁠
Even though I still get frustrated when I feel inefficient.⁠
You need me to go at your pace.⁠
You are the priority right now.⁠
For you, I slow down.⁠
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You are the reason I worry more than ever.⁠
Even though I know it won't change anything.⁠
Even though it's not your fault.⁠
You are precious.⁠
You are vulnerable.⁠
For you, I will worry forever.⁠
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You are the reason I am now filled with gratitude.⁠
Even though I get sad when things do not go my way.⁠
Even though I sometimes lose sight of what I have.⁠
You are my constant reminder that I am blessed.⁠
You are the light at the end of every tunnel.⁠
For you, everything is worth it.⁠
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You are the reason that my heart is full.⁠
Even though I am grateful for our life before you.⁠
You have shown me a love like no other.⁠
You are remarkable.⁠
For you, my heart explodes.⁠
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You are my reason." ❤️ Words by @hangingwiththeheaphys 💕⁠
We love birth stories and hearing all the details We love birth stories and hearing all the details about how each baby was born. What’s your baby’s birth story? 👶❤️
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Fun Pregnancy Announcement Ideas 😍🤰⁠ .⁠ Fun Pregnancy Announcement Ideas 😍🤰⁠
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Few of life’s events can have you bursting at the seams as much as “we’re making a human!” will. Sharing this news with those you love, like, or just tolerate, has become easier and more instantaneous than ever with the advent of social media. These days, most moms-to-be want to share their pregnancy announcement with as many people as possible . . . and the cuter idea the better!⁠
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Here are some fun and unique pregnancy announcement ideas for you to share your incredible news. Whether you like to use humor, romance, or a sweet surprise, these ideas are some of the most picture-worthy around!⁠ ⁠{Click 🔗 in bio to see the pregnancy announcement ideas!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rachel MacPherson⁠
📷: @karissakayabbott
Pretty sure my mouth and nose are covered too. 😑😂⁠
📷: @thedecentmother
I am a big advocate for breastfeeding. There are s I am a big advocate for breastfeeding. There are so many AMAZING benefits for the mother and child. But you know what I am an even bigger advocate for? A mother's well-being -- her physical, emotional, and mental health!!⁠
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Sometimes we make plans and God laughs. Some of us plan to breastfeed our babies for 3 months, 6 months, a year, 2 years. Some of us meet our goals and some of us don't. (🙋‍♀️ My goal was to reach a year and made it 7 months.) Breastfeeding can be a lot more challenging than many of us expect. There can be complications along the way, the baby could have allergies, and sometimes breastfeeding or pumping can take an immense toll on a mother's mental health.⁠
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It is my firm belief that we must care for and support the new mother just as much as we care for and support the new child. 💕 While I feel there is so much value in breast milk, in my opinion, if it compromises the health of the mother, it is not worth it. As long as the baby is being fed, cared for, and loved, that is all that matters. And for the mother to grow and thrive in her new role as a parent to continue caring for her child, she needs to do what she feels is best for herself and her family. Sometimes that is not breastfeeding or pumping.⁠
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No matter your feeding experience or preference, you are a good mother. Whether your choice was made by you or made for you, you must do what is right for you and your baby. Your health (mentally, physically, emotionally) matters. ❤️
Being a Stay-At-Home Mom Was Harder For Me Than Be Being a Stay-At-Home Mom Was Harder For Me Than Being a Working Mom⁠ 😬⁠
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Being a full-time, stay-at-home mom of small children is a lot like being the CEO of a corporation. But without anyone working under you and without receiving payment for your efforts. Kinda crazy when you think of it like that, huh?⁠
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I smile as I write this, but that feeling was sometimes true for me. Of course, there are different ways to frame our choices as mothers. Such as looking at stay-at-home-motherhood through the lens of sheer fulfillment that comes from spending quality time with your kids and teaching them the ways of life. For me, what I eventually realized after my second child was born was that I needed to create a lifestyle that filled in the gaps where I felt something was missing. Specifically, I needed someone to help me manage my kids and my household. And I needed to be earning some money myself.⁠ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading this mom's story!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷: @thegoddessher⁠
CC: @herholisticpath
Pretty much what summer is going to be like. 🤦‍♀️😑⁠
📷: @realamericandadass
Chick Picks: Best Baby Swings and Baby Bouncers⁠ Chick Picks: Best Baby Swings and Baby Bouncers⁠ 👶⁠
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In the womb, babies love when you move and walk around because it rocks them to sleep. 🤰💤 When they are born into a cold and bright world, all of that change is a shock to the system! 😱 This is why babies love being cuddled and rocked by you. Your warmth, your scent, and that motion calms them and makes them feel right at home. However, it's unrealistic to think that any parent can constantly rock and bounce their baby. Your arms, shoulders, and upper back will ache! 😫 This is why baby swings and baby bouncers are a thing and why many parents swear by them. 👍 But what are the best baby swings and baby bouncers on the market? 🤔 We are sharing our favorites -- also known as our Chick Picks! -- so that you can look at the best ones and determine which is the right one for your baby. 😍 {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
📷: @_aalina