How to be a happy parent: (Hint – be proud of what you've already achieved!)

We love parenthood, and we love our kids, but let's face it: Parenthood is hard.

How to be a happy parent: (Hint – be proud of what you've already achieved!)

We all want to be good parents. But when the kids are screaming, the to-do items are piling up, and your kid begs (again!) to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPad, it's hard to be the calm, nurturing influence we want to be. (We speak from experience.) But help is here! Our friends at Happify have scanned the best research about how to be happy in the midst of parenthood. Read on and get happy...

We love parenthood, and we love our kids, but let's face it: Parenthood is hard.

While recent studies about parents' happiness levels have produced mixed results, one thing's certain: It takes some work to be able to say, "I enjoy parenting, I really do!” without crossing your fingers.


So, what are the secrets of happy parents? Regardless of whether you have a screaming toddler or an eye-rolling teen, scientists and researchers in the field of positive psychology have found strategies that can help you appreciate your role as a parent, and improve your relationships with your children—starting now:

Happy Parents Celebrate Their Achievements

As parents, we think there’s always more we could do, more time we should devote, more love we are capable of giving—and so we feel we're constantly coming up short. But this kind of thinking is unhelpful, at best. Come up with some of your children’s main needs and think about what you have done to satisfy them. Or reflect on decisions you've made that have resulted in better outcomes for your kids. Whenever you're feeling like you're not dong enough, think back to these achievements.

Happy Parents Schedule Play Time—For Themselves

As a study led by Princeton researcher Alan Krueger found, of all the things we do, we're at our happiest when we're engaged in leisure activities. Remember, your emotions will rub off on your kids – not to mention everyone else around you, so if you're crabby and overstressed, think of how that will affect the way you interact with your family. It's key to schedule some "me" time each day (or at least most days!), where you can devote time to something that makes you happy, whether that's reading a suspense novel, jogging, or gardening. If we spent even half the time scheduling our own play time as we do our child’s, we’d all be happier.

Happy Parents Don't Hold Grudges

Maybe your daughter lost the cell phone you just bought her last month, or your kindergartener scribbled all over the wall for the first time in years. Sure, you should discipline your kids appropriately—but you should also forgive them, and let go of any grudges. Researchers have found that forgiving people are less anxious, less depressed and less hostile than people who hold grudges. They also have higher levels of well-being, positive emotion, and are more satisfied with their lives in general. So do yourself – and your kids – a favor, and practice forgiveness.

Learn How to Be a Happier Parent Through Science-Based Activities on Happify

For more strategies on how to be a happy parent, plus personalized activities, games, and quizzes that will teach you how to apply these skills to your daily life, sign up for Happify's free Parenting track. You'll learn how to appreciate the smaller joys of parenting, feel more at peace with your role as a parent, and improve relationships with your kids, while developing your own happiness skills at the same time.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

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

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