Michelle Horton

Michelle Horton is the founder of EarlyMama.com — a site that encourages and inspires anyone who started families on the "earlier" end of the parenting spectrum — and is a regular contributor to Babble.com, including their Family Style and Being Pregnant blogs. If she's not writing articles or testing out baby gear, she's most likely wrapped up in her toddler's imaginative role play. She lives in New York with her husband and son. Follow Michelle on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

How to Spread Love, Not Shame

I got pregnant at 21 years old, and then worked in an office as an entry-level writer at 22 — a place where women 5, 10, 15 years older than me hadn’t had kids yet — so I certainly had moments of embarrassment and insecurity about being such a young mother. Insensitive comments, shocked responses, blatant assumptions — I’ve heard ‘em all.

But then as I got older, more experienced, I realized that it’s not just young moms who feel insecure and judged — it’s all moms. (And age is just an easy target.)

So Facebook forums are telling you that you’re a horrible mother for poisoning your baby with formula, or that you started with solid foods too early (or too late or incorrectly), or that you’re breastfeeding far too long. You don’t love your kids enough, or you love them too much. And as wonderful as the Internet can be for community and information, it can also be an easy and anonymous way to attack and hurt.

Turns out I wasn’t the only younger mom who felt the sting of judgement from time to time. An Early Mama reader decided to be proactive after experiencing something or someone who left her feeling deflated — whether it was a mean Facebook comment or a rude woman at the grocery store. She started writing letters to other women, spreading love and lifting moods (including her own in the process).

And so she inspired me to start the #SpreadLoveNotShame movement, to spread more kindness and positivity through the same channels that have the potential to bring us down. Check it out:

Monsters, Inc. Plush Changing Pad Cover

Thanks to Disney for sponsoring this post and for giving me the MONSTERS, INC. Premier Plush Changing Pad Cover for free.

When I was pregnant, I wasn’t much into the character-based nursery idea. I was more concerned about style and color schemes, rather than focusing on a specific character or movie.

But when I saw the new Monsters, Inc. baby nursery collection, I thought “now that’s adorable.

And the Monsters, Inc. changing pad cover is probably my favorite part:

10 Things Pregnant Women Do Better

Pregnancy has its downs, for sure, but there are plenty of silver linings to get you through the 9 months.

In fact, there are certain things that pregnant women do better than anyone else. Pregnancy perks, if you will.

Here are 10 things that pregnant women do better…

Where Does Your Baby Sleep?

Noah slept in a bassinet for about a minute before taking up residency in the middle of our bed. His sleeping place of choice was right in the nook of mom’s arm, with one hand clutching my shirt.

And I loved it — until he turned about 5 months, that is.

I’m a firm believer that the best sleeping arrangement, however, is the one where the most people are getting the most sleep — and we were losing a lot of sleep once Noah started twisting and spinning and stretching out. My mommy senses were already heightened at the time — on full alert for SIDS signs, or even the slightest whimper — so his changing sleep habits were pretty challenging around the 5-month point.

So we decided to put him in his crib, all the way across the hall (my heart!) and — dun, dun-dun-DUN — he slept through the night. Hands were thrown in the air, glasses were clinked, high-fives were exchanged.

But Benjamin is a little different:

Benjamin: 6-Month Check In

Oh little Benjamin.

His laughs are bigger, his expressions more animated, his body stronger.

He’s 6 months old now, and he’s all baby.

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