Month: July 2014

Must-see video: Dazzling babywearing ballet class


Jennifer Borget

posted in Mom Stories

If there’s one random piece of advice I’d offer a new mom it’s to try at least one Mommy & Me class. It doesn’t matter what it is, you’re more than likely going to have fun.

I’ve participated in my fair share of mommy and me classes. From yoga and strollercizing, to swimming and Zumba. Any opportunity I come across involving a unique class with my kids I’m all ‘Sign me up!’.

So when I came across a video of mommy ballerinas bobbing with their babies tied close, I beamed with excitement. It’s called Babyweaing Ballet and its fanbase is growing by the minute. Check out this video that’s quickly going viral.

Morgan Castner has been a ballet dancer since she was three. As she grew, so did her passion for dance. Now a mother of two, she also loves being active with her kids, so she decided to combine the two create a class for moms and their babies.

This ballet class is based on traditional ballet with modified and scaled movements to keep the safety of both mom and baby in mind.

Castner said she would have loved a class like this when her three-year-old son was born.

“We lived in WA state where my husband was stationed in the US Coast Guard at the time and didn’t have family around so sitters were limited,” Castner told BabyCenter. “I now teach while wearing my 9 week old daughter. She started coming to class with me at 5 weeks old.”

The response has been remarkable. This unique take on mommy & me fitness started December 2012, but in the last six months has drawn quite the crowd. And the mothers and babies can’t seem to get enough.

“The babies often fall asleep as the music plays and we are moving and even if they don’t they all seem so mellow,” Castner said. “The mamas get in a little sweat, some toning and time to snuggle there little ones and meet other new moms. “

One thing I remember in my mommy and me yoga classes was getting excited every time my baby wanted to nurse. It was a welcomed break from breaking a sweat. Moms in this class are burning some calories too. And Castner said not to worry if you’re not a dancer, it’s all about having fun.

“A have had a few moms here and there worry they ‘aren’t ballerinas’ but this class is not about that,” Castner said. “Yes, this is a fitness class but it really has become so much more. This time with your little ones is irreplaceable and I have had the pleasure of seeing new true friendships come between mommies who have never met. To me that is what it is all about. To enjoy all this and be able to get in a light workout is anything I could ever want from a ‘Mommy & Me’ class.”

Currently this class is offered in Tustin, CA, but with a growing interest, Castner said they are in the process of expanding with an affiliate license and certification program.

“We have had inquiries from all over the world and I would love to see this spread,” Castner said. “It makes me so happy to share the babywearing love and my passion for dance.”

Find out more about the company by visiting their Facebook Page.

Would you take a ballet class while wearing you baby? What other mommy & me classes do you like?

Jennifer Borget is a domestically challenged part-time journalist, and a full-time mom. She’s a parenting reporter, documenting her life in extraordinary ways and inspiring others to do the same. Jennifer makes beautiful keepsakes with her beautiful babies on her blog, To catch more of her motherhood journey, follow @JenniferBorget on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

Featured image: Babywearing Ballet

Do you ‘mommy read’ to your kids, too?


Nicole Mabry

posted in Mom Stories

Last night after bathtime and PJs and cuddles, my son tried to pull a fast one on me. He chose the longest, heaviest, wordiest book on the shelf and asked me to read it for his bedtime story. Sure kid, I’ll start reading that and be done by tomorrow at bedtime.

So what’s a mom to do? I love our snugly reading time and I want him to love books and reading. But it’s already late, we’ve got big plans in the morning and I’ve got a list of tasks a million miles long that had to wait until the kids were in bed. What’s the solution? Mommy reading!

Mommy Reading Tactic Number 1 – Skip pages and paragraphs. You’d be amazed how the stories still flow even if you skip a page or two. You just have to be really quick with turning pages. My 5 year-old is starting to catch on to this one, so I have to get more creative.

Mommy Reading Tactic Number 2 – Read fast. Sometimes the pace of my reading puts an auctioneer to shame. The kids have some of their favorite stories memorized verbatim anyway and can speed read right along with me.

Mommy Reading Tactic Number 3 – Set a time limit. I’ll read until 8:15 and promptly at 8:15, the book closes with a cliff hanger. To be continued…..tomorrow night. I have to deal with cliff hangers on Scandal, you can deal with cliff hangers in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

Mommy Reading Tactic Number 4 – I put my kids in the story. My kids love to hear their names in their favorite stories. They squeal and they giggle and that never gets old. About halfway through the book, I close it and ask them to tell me the rest of “their” story. If they get too wordy, I reel them in. 

Pediatricians now recommend to read to your child every day from birth onward, but they never said not to “mommy read”!

What’s your tactic to make sure bedtime doesn’t drag on forever?

Photo: NewKirkOnTheBlock Books and Babies Photo Contest


5 things I miss about pregnancy and 10 things I don’t


Angela Holland

posted in Mom Stories

Being fresh out of what felt like a never-ending pregnancy can make you reflective. I now have a beautiful daughter and a perfect, new son, and I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll tap out of the baby-making game at two. But as I sit back to contemplate that decision, I find myself reliving the joys along with the not-so-joyous moments of pregnancy.

While there are certainly things I’ll miss greatly about pregnancy, there are also plenty of moments and symptoms I’ll gladly remember as things I’ll never have to experience again.

5 things I’ll miss about pregnancy:

–       The feeling of little kicks – Feeling your baby move inside of you is nothing short of a miracle. You are the only person in the world who can feel your baby while they sit comfortably and safe inside of you. Baby’s movements are also a sign they are doing well, and I always took tremendous comfort in feeling my baby kick or move (note: a full rollover is never fun, but I’ll still remember those moments fondly!)

–       The way people treat you – Whether it’s giving up their seat, checking in on you more regularly or simply picking something up for you when you drop it on the floor, when you’re pregnant, people tend to treat you differently. Sure, the occasional sympathetic comment is always appreciated, but I always felt more loved when I was waddling around.

–       Not caring about what I looked like – I’m not saying I didn’t care at all, but I certainly didn’t stress out about finding the perfect outfit for a weekend event or whether my shirt was getting tight. Pregnancy was about making myself comfortable and not being self-conscious about how big I was. There was, after all, a very good reason for it.

–       The freedom of pregnancy (at least compared to having a newborn) – Date nights, moments alone and *gasp, the thought of reading a book weren’t laughable activities when I was still pregnant. Even though I already had a child, my husband and I could always trade off when one of us needed to accomplish something.

–       The comfort of knowing you were protecting your baby – Unforeseen circumstances aside, I was in control of caring for my baby. His health was dependent on many of my actions, and I always felt a sense of calm from knowing I was taking good care of him even before he was born.

And the slightly funny, 10 things I won’t miss about pregnancy:

–       Almost peeing my pants – there is nothing in the world that quite measures up to a pregnant woman’s realization that peeing her pants is a very real possibility. You laugh too hard – you might pee. You sneeze too hard (or even normally) – you might pee. You can’t get your maternity pants off fast enough – you just might pee. The fact that I never did actually pee my pants is a badge of honor I proudly wear. Many pregnant women can’t say the same.

–       The inability to get comfortable for nine months – Seriously. I’ve never been more uncomfortable in a chair, in bed, on the couch, standing up, walking…I could go on and on.

–       Morning sickness – Let’s first be reminded that morning sickness does not just occur in the morning. I threw up in my car, in a parking lot, in an alley, and on more than one occasion, I contemplated using the garbage can under my desk at the office. I learned to clean my toilet with immaculate precision because I spent so much time with my head in a place that it really shouldn’t be.

–       Acid reflux – This is no joke when you’re pregnant. When you’re up at 3 a.m. because you think you’ve recently developed the ability to breath fire, go ahead and call me. I can relate.

–       The complete and utter loss of my dignity – The amount of times a stranger has seen my lady parts is inconceivable to the everyday person. I’ve never cared less about being naked in front of anyone that walked into my hospital room, and in reflection, I lost any sort of respectable personal space that should be allowed.

–       The comments of strangers – If one more person asked me if I was having twins or commented on how miserable I looked, I was going to find a way to lift my leg high enough to kick them. Though I wanted to, I never did tell one of these randoms I wasn’t actually pregnant. At nine months along, it would have been hilarious to see their reaction.

–       My inability to do things – As my pregnancy neared its end, I couldn’t see my toes, let alone paint them. I had a hard time bending over to pick things up. I could no longer get down on the floor and play with my daughter, let alone chase her around the playground.

–       Gestational diabetes – Most pregnant woman get a free pass to have dessert or take a second helping of just about anything – because, hey, you’re pregnant! Gestational diabetes meant about 20 more doctor appointments and absolutely no enjoyable food for several months.

–       Non-stress tests – In my opinion, there’s nothing more stressful than a non-stress test. Someone with a sense of humor certainly named them. My nurses at the OB office had a wonderful time trying to find my little man’s heartbeat every. single. time. Talk about giving me a heart attack each visit. I’m still holding out hope that his stubbornness in the womb won’t carry out in his adolescence.

–       The wait – while I mentioned a few things I’ll certainly miss about pregnancy, the waiting was always the hardest part. I wanted both my babies so badly, those long months seemed like torture. I couldn’t wait to hold them in my arms, tell them I was their mama and have their little hands wrapped around my fingers. It’s a little like waiting for the best thing in your life to be handed to you.

What will you miss or not miss about pregnancy?

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Should it be legal to break into cars with unattended kids inside?


Whitney Barthel

posted in Mom Stories

This summer seems to be laden with hot-car tragedies. I don’t know if the number of deaths due to children left in cars is worse this summer, or if my ears are just more sensitive to this issue now that I have babies of my own. Either way, the public is eager to get involved to help prevent future deaths due to children being left in hot cars.

From specially made safety seats to a few simple tips offered by BabyCenter’s own Laura Larsen, everyone is eager to find ways to prevent these horrible incidents – even our state governments. The state of Tennessee recently took a vote on whether or not it should be legal to break into a car if there was a baby inside. They decided it should. If a person has a “good faith belief” that the child is in serious danger then good samaritans are protected by law if they find themselves smashing the windows on a minivan parked at the local Target.

At first I thought this was a fantastic idea. Then as I kept reading the article I started thinking a little bit differently. Apparently around 86 percent of hot-car deaths are a result from parents completely forgetting their child is in the car, or the result of a child climbing in the car themselves and not being able get out on their own. Most of these instances don’t even happen in public parking lots or on street sides.

Some moms are a bit annoyed at this new law. They fear that some hyper-sensitive people will feel they have the right to break into their cars while their children patiently wait for them to run a ten-second errand with the air conditioning on.

I am slightly ashamed to admit that I do this on occasion. The town I grew up in is very, very small. I have left the boys with the AC on and the doors locked to quickly run into places like the post office, and I feel like that is okay. I feel like them sleeping comfortably for the whole 3 minutes it takes me to drop off a package or run into the gas station is a much better alternative than unloading a sleepy 3-year-old, 2-year-old, and 6-month-old and trying to corral them once they are out of the car.

That being said—I would be more than upset if I came outside just in time to witness someone smashing the windows on my station wagon while my kids are inside. Laws like this are a double edged sword. Do we need some sort of regulation to prevent these horrible tragedies? Probably. Is this the answer? I am not so sure.


How do you feel about Tennessee’s new law? Do you ever leave your kids in the car to run errands?

Monkey T with African American boy’s face on it causes stir


Stacy-Ann Gooden

posted in Mom Stories

It’s no surprise that some of the cutest kid clothes are ones that feature animals on them. But, it came as a total shock to some when a photo of a monkey paired with a picture of a black child was uploaded on Twitter. It has since sparked controversy on the web.

Many consider the cardboard cutout and primate combination to be highly offensive.

I first came across the t-shirt while browsing through The New York Daily News. I reached out to the company that makes the shirt, Just Add a Kid, to get their side of the story.

According to the San Diego owner, Lowell Cohen, this has all been a complete misunderstanding.

“We built this company five years ago to put smiles on peoples faces. Our goal is to reach out to all cultures. We want to create an atmosphere of unity,” he said.

The clothing company features different cartoon bodies paired with various ethnicities. Lowell said the monkey t-shirt was never meant to be matched with the African American boy. After visiting various store locations to further investigate, he learned that someone unaffiliated with the ‘Just Add a Kid’ brand and the store carrying the merchandise decided to swap the cutouts.

According to Lowell, the shirt featuring the ape was originally paired with a Caucasian child, and has always been the best selling t-shirt. However, despite its popularity, he has decided to discontinue the t-shirt to prevent this from happening again. As for whether or not, this incident has hurt sales, Lowell says:

“It’s hard to say if we have been adversely affected. Our client base is very loyal to our product. We have very high standards within our company. It shows through our performance. We are looking to GROW not go!”

It’s understandable why people would find the shirt offensive. It does have a racist connotation. However, what’s even sadder is that there are pranksters out there that think this sort of thing is funny.

I took to Facebook to get peoples’ take on the overall message of the t-shirt. While most found it offensive, there were some who saw nothing wrong with it. It begs the question, are people being too sensitive? Would the t-shirt be offensive if it were a white child?

What are your thoughts on the t-shirt? Should the store owner discontinue the shirt?

Photo: Stacy-Ann Gooden

Stacy-Ann Gooden (aka Weather Anchor Mama) can be seen delivering the weather on the news weeknights in New York City. But her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama. You can also follow her on twitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Did I push my daughter to do things too young?


Laurie Gelman

posted in Mom Stories

My daughter is 13 and having the summer of her life. She is playing tennis, taking surf lessons and hanging out with new friends. In short she is having the summer I have tried to make her have for the past 8 years.

As we enter the teen years with number one, I’m realizing that DH and I were WAY too excited about having our first born try new things. I mean, we gave her a bike for her 3rd birthday for goodness sake. By the time she was 5 she had been in gymnastics, ballet, Italian lessons, tennis, Gymboree, piano and God know what else. I think I’ve blocked it out because they were all such epic fails. The one thing we made her stick with was tennis, and she hated every second of it. When she was 10 she hung up her racket and said she never wanted to play again.

Jamie has always been a bit of a late bloomer. You know those kids who go to birthday parties in pre school and just walk right in and join the fun? That was not my girl. She spent just about every birthday party until she was 7 sitting on my lap and watching.

Three years ago I signed her up for surf lessons. She hated it. She didn’t like the kids, the instructor was mean, the water was too cold and full of jellyfish blah blah blah.

I’m painting a portrait of an ungrateful child and really, she isn’t. She never asked for any of the stuff we made her do. We wanted her to do it but she just wasn’t there yet.

So, back to this summer, out of nowhere she asked for surf lessons. I didn’t know what to say. It was like seeing a unicorn. I didn’t want to spook her by jumping up and down and screaming hurray! I just quietly signed her up  and guess what? She loves it. She also  asked to play tennis AND she made a new friend who she is hanging out with. She is having a great summer mainly because she is finally ready to.

We should have been more patient.

Have you made your kids try things before they were ready?


Best of BabyCenter: Our 5 favorite posts from this week


BabyCenter Staff

posted in Mom Stories

Summer is in full swing, and with any luck, you’re way too busy to sit around staring at your computer all week. Here are the stories we don’t want you to miss.

4214211935 545d8409b5 z 300x225 Best of BabyCenter: Our 5 favorite posts from this week

1. Do you live in a state where most moms breastfeed, like California? Or a state like Alabama, where 60.4 percent of moms offer baby the breast? Click on the interactive map to learn: Is your state the best or worst for breastfeeding? Find out

2. A bloody nose, giant feet, poo problems: the list goes on and on: Did you have any of these bizarre pregnancy symptoms?

3. How do Muslim moms handle the all-day Ramadan fasts while pregnant or nursing? Pregnant and fasting for Ramadan

4. Does the computer’s QWERTY keyboard have a mysterious power over baby names? Keyboards have a weird effect on the baby names we choose

5. Pssst: It’s all about breastfeeding: After childbirth, when will your menstrual cycle return?

Renee Oteri Expecting Second Child

Renee Oteri Pregnant Expecting Second Child Craig Sjodin/ABC

And baby makes four!

Less than four months after she reunited with her longtime love, Renee Oteri and her new husband Bracy Maynard are expecting their first child together, she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

The real estate agent, who competed for Juan Pablo Galavis‘s heart on The Bachelor, is just over three months along and due Jan. 19, 2015.

“We’re so excited!” Oteri tells PEOPLE. “Bracy is already paranoid — always checking in and making sure I’m okay. He’s in dad mode already!”

And the pregnancy has been smooth sailing so far, adds Oteri, who has not had any morning sickness.

“I’m feeling good,” she says. “We just had an appointment and this baby will not sit still! I keep calling her a she but we don’t know the sex yet. I can’t wait to find out.”

Baby’s big brother, Oteri’s son Ben, 9, is looking forward to the new addition too, though, “he’s hoping for a boy!”

For her part, Oteri is just thrilled to expand her family. And this is just the beginning. “We want more kids,” she says. “We’re going to try for another after this one!”

– Aili Nahas

Photos: Inside the box every mom-to-be in Finland gets


Sara McGinnis

posted in Mom Stories

“Every mother in Finland, regardless of income or anything else, is eligible to get this box after 154 days of pregnancy,” a recent Reddit post by a mom-to-be named Felicia explains. Thousands couldn’t wait to get a peek inside.

Before sharing photos of her just-arrived freebies, she added, “It costs nothing, to get it all an expectant mother needs to do is fill out a basic form and submit a certificate of pregnancy from her healthcare provider. I got my box today and this was what it had!”

While some have prerviously heard about the magical Finland maternity boxes, this is the first look at the contents many have been given.

“Every child [gets one], and if you have multiples you get multiple boxes,” Felicia, who says the box has been available to all mothers who have visited their doctor (for free prenatal care) since 1949, went on to share. “You also get it if you adopt a baby.”

Regarding the snowsuit, she explained, “It can be -40 C on any given winter day, depending on the part of Finland you live in. The baby needs to have a lot of layers, so the outdoor suit has to be big enough to accommodate that and also be able to last through the winter on the off chance the family can’t afford or find a new suit once the baby grows.”

As for the more surprising bits? “The condoms are for the parents, as are the pads,” she added. “I think it’s a good idea to include them because it encourages family planning but also reminds the parents to still make time for intimacy after the baby comes.”

I was impressed by the entire contents of the box — but the box itself being a sleeping unit that comes complete with mattress? Genius.

It turns out Finland isn’t the only place in the world expecting moms receive a sweet setup. A person commenting on Felicia’s Reddit thread shared:

In Chile you can get this (if you qualify for public healthcare, private healthcare doesn’t get it)

Bonding and Clothing Set

  • 1 massage oil
  • 1 baby care brochure
  • 1 breastfeeding cushion
  • 1 mei tai baby carrier
  • 1 educational brochure ‘I’m here: my caring needs’
  • 3 cotton diapers
  • 1 bath towel
  • 1 baby items transport bag

Clothing 3-6 months Set

  • 1 body
  • 1 pant
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 body suit
  • 1 hat
  • 1 socks

Basic Care and Stimulation Set

  • 1 hypoalergenic liquid soap
  • 1 portable changing table
  • 1 diaper rash prevention ointment
  • 1 massage oil
  • 1 playing mat

Crib / Playing Pen

  • 1 Portable Crib / Playing Pen
  • 1 mattress
  • 1 blanket
  • 1 sheet
  • 1 quilt

Amazing, right? So great to see moms around the world being supported.

Here in the United States, well, there’s those piece of post-partum swag for the lady bits many of us manage to snag from the hospital. I recall leaving after my first son’s birth with a few gigantic pads, one pair of mesh underwear, witch hazel pads, stool softener pills and a can of Dermoplast.

That’s kind of almost not really the same though, I suppose.

What items did you receive for free during your pregnancy or after giving birth?

Thank you to Felicia for agreeing to share her photos with us!

Will the supermoon send you into labor this weekend?


Melissa Byers

posted in Mom Stories

A full moon gets the blame for so many things. It makes us act crazy, crime rates go up, and some believe it can also be responsible for baby booms.

It’s an old wives’ tale we’ve all heard. A full moon ups your chances of going into labor. I’ve heard stories of women delivering in hospital hallways and nurseries overflowing with babies, all born based on the influence the full moon had over their arrival date. So the question begs to be asked. Will the supermoon make it even more likely you’ll go in labor this weekend?

Third trimester moms in BabyCenter’s community are buzzing about the topic. Some are excited and others are afraid. What exactly is a supermoon? Here is a quick breakdown, courtesy of NASA.

The scientific term for the phenomenon is “perigee moon.” Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon’s orbit. The Moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side (“perigee”) about 50,000 km closer than the other (“apogee”).  Full Moons that occur on the perigee side of the Moon’s orbit seem extra big and bright.


That’s right. A supermoon is merely a full moon with better positioning. The article goes on to say that this spectacle of lunar delight is not terribly uncommon. There will be another two in 2014, with the August 10th phase being called an “extra-supermoon.”

And what does research say about the increase in births in the days surrounding a full moon? Sadly, there is no connection. The theory was that an assumed increased gravitational pull from the moon would cause a baby to drop and, perhaps, break your water.

Don’t be too disappointed, moms. We’ll still send you loads of fast labor vibes and be fully prepared to excuse any wacky behavior that may, or may not, have been caused by this supermoon. BabyCenter has your back.

Did you give birth during a full moon? Are you hoping this could be your weekend?

Photo credit: Flickr