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Create the best sleep environment for baby with these 8 tips

2. Set the thermostat for sweet dreams.

Create the best sleep environment for baby with these 8 tips
Motherly for Nanit

As you set up baby's nursery, it's easy for your mind to wander to all the sweet moments to come as you read bedtime stories, giggle together at the changing table and study every detail of their sweet face while singing lullabies. But at the end of the day (the fun-but-exhausting day), the true purpose of a nursery is to help your baby—and you—get the best night of sleep possible. And the Nanit Smart Baby Monitor can help by giving you the information (and peace of mind) you need to rest easy.

"The place that we sleep has a huge impact on our sleep hygiene," says Motherly's Sleep Expert, Rachel Gorton, a certified infant and toddler sleep specialist. "Babies, just like any other child or adult, need a sleep promoting environment, free of distraction and stimulation to help them sleep well."

Here are eight expert-backed tips to keep in mind while setting up the sleep-inducing nursery of your dreams:

1. Limit light sources

Babies require a lot of sleep throughout the day, too. To create a snooze-able space, Gorton recommends investing in blackout shades, especially if the nursery receives a lot of direct sunlight.

At night, don't add unnecessarily bright sources of light, which Gorton says can accidentally distract or stimulate your baby when the real objective should be sleeping. With Nanit's soft-glow night light, the room will be illuminated just enough for you to navigate—without disturbing baby.

2. Set the thermostat for sweet dreams

The optimal sleeping temperature for babies and children is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. But if your thermostat isn't exactly reliable, Gorton says it's really helpful to be able to quickly determine the temperature in your child's nursery with help from the Nanit Plus Smart Monitor.

3. Get a dependable monitor to limit interruptions

One of the perks of being a parent today? You don't have to guess what's going on in baby's nursery. With the high-tech Nanit Plus Smart Monitor, you can keep an eye not only on your sleeping baby (aww!) with a bird's eye view, but you can also instantly get data to help you better understand (and address) your child's sleep patterns. That means no more not-so-quietly sneaking into the room in the middle of the night at the risk of disturbing them.

As Gorton explains, "With the Nanit software you get alerts directly to your phone and you can watch your baby's activity from anywhere, in or outside of the home, giving you piece of mind and helping to eliminate unnecessary interruptions by not having to enter the room for check-ins."

4. Make a comfortable space for yourself

Baby isn't the only one who will be spending a lot of time in the nursery. By getting a comfortable rocker or glider, you will be more at ease during bedtime—which put them more at ease. (Read: sleepier!)

5. Make organization a priority

During those inevitable midnight visits, you don't want to bump and fumble around just to find more diapers. Keep everything accessible so you can navigate with your eyes shut. (Which, let's face it, they very well may be.) That way you can be in and out with minimal wake-up time for you both.

6. Select calming colors

Set the mood for a restful night with neutral, cool colors. Although it may seem like a small design detail, Gorton says this can make a significant sleep difference. "Many nurseries are decorated extravagantly with bright colors and many objects or toys, which can be extremely overstimulating for sleep," she says. Good color palettes include earth tones and blushes.

7. Tune out background noise

The last thing you want is to accidentally wake your peacefully sleeping baby with noise from another room. With the Nanit Plus Smart Monitor, you can turn on nature sounds so your baby can tune out whatever else is going on in the house.

8. Keep toys to a minimum

Having toys in the room can send mixed signals to your child. As Gorton explains, having playthings within reach of the crib is "confusing for your child as she may wake up thinking it is playtime if her room is filled with toys." Store those away from baby during sleepy time to make the nursery a clear snoozing space.

This article was sponsored by Nanit. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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