Baby on the go! 8 things that happen when your child starts to walk

2. Even if you don’t support baby leashes, you begin to understand why people use them.

Baby on the go! 8 things that happen when your child starts to walk

Going to the playground becomes a legitimate outing.

Before they can walk, a mommy-baby trip to the park consists of a nice roll in the stroller or a sandbox sitting session.

Once they start running, the park becomes not only a fun outing, but an absolutely necessary after dinner energy-burning ritual. Though you won't be relaxing on the bench, going to the playground with your walking baby can be buckets of fun.

Before my son took his first steps, other mamas told me to enjoy the crawling stage—that it only gets harder when they learn to walk. They were right that it gets more difficult…but it also gets so much more fun.

Enjoy that toddling tot coming your way!

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You have to baby proof. Again.

Before my son started to crawl, my husband and I put socket protectors in all of our outlets, clasps on all of our cabinets, and baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. When we were done, we high-fived each other for being fabulous parents who knew just how to keep our baby safe.

When my little guy started to walk, we had to do it all over again. All the bottom and middle shelves, all the doors with flip handles, everything on the edge of anything. It's all game to a walking baby.

Dance parties!

If they can walk, they can dance. Enough said. The cuteness is nearly impossible to bear.

Even if you don't support baby leashes, you begin to understand why people use them.

Babies are fast. Their speed is impressive but what makes them really tough to catch is their ability to fit under tables, between strangers' legs, and through clothing racks at the mall.

The first time your little one takes off and you find yourself darting around strangers or jumping shrubs to chase them, you'll understand why baby leashes exist.

A baby might take their first steps and then revert to crawling for weeks.

On a blustery February day my son took his first steps. He successfully walked from my husband's arms to mine, five steps, before collapsing in a fit of exhaustion.

And then he didn't take another step until mid-March.

We thought once he took his first steps he'd be off and running but, for some babies, walking starts and stops a few times before they really get the hang of it.

Things begin to… disappear.

Last night we searched for 45 minutes before finding my husband's wallet in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

We've also found my car keys in our umbrella stand, my checkbook in the trashcan, and my husband's glasses tucked ever so delicately into my hiking boots.

Once baby can walk, their sole mission seems to become putting things (your precious things) in other things (mainly places you would never look).

Most babies take their first steps between 9 and 12 months. If your little one hasn't started yet, it won't be long now!

My son was a late(ish) walker. He was a doughy little baby and, much to my dismay, showed little to no interest in walking until a couple of months after his first birthday.

At his birthday party, we tried to coax a few steps out of him but, reluctant, he stood in place, blinked a few times, and plopped back down on the floor.

After many evenings spent jangling car keys and holding his hands, my son took his first steps just a few days shy of fourteen months.

In the seven months that he's been upright, I've been surprised again and again about what I didn't realize about having a walking baby when he was still on all fours.

Carrying in groceries gets a lot easier…kind of.

Coming home after a long day of work with a briefcase, diaper bag, lunch bag, purse, and baby makes for an impossible load.

Groceries are usually a multi-trip affair. When your baby starts to walk, your arms suddenly get much freer. Carrying in those loads is easier but, be warned, the path from your car to front door is unlikely to be a straight line ever again.

You start to really appreciate the cuddles of a sleepy baby.

Once your baby starts walking, running, and dancing, those sweet baby cuddles that used to come so frequently become fewer and farther between. When you do get a cuddle, at bedtime or after bath time, you begin to really soak it in.

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.


Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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