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Creating your baby's first bedroom can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. From gear and furniture to a theme (or not), this is one area where you can direct all of the nervous energy that comes with being pregnant into something tangible.

The Montessori approach views the baby's first room as not only a fun space to personalize, but also an important environment that can help shape your baby's first experiences in the world.

Babies take in and absorb everything around them, so it naturally follows that the space where they spend the most time will influence how they see the world. Montessori-style nurseries all have certain things in common. They focus on simplicity, natural elements and encouraging independent exploration. Still there is room for so much creativity and you can definitely tailor your Montessori baby space to fit your home and budget.

Here are some elements that are usually included in a Montessori baby space to get you started:

1. Use visual simplicity

Montessori baby spaces are calming, peaceful environments. They often have a fairly neutral color palette, emphasize natural light when possible, and use natural materials, such as wood and fabric, whenever possible.

You will usually find a few carefully selected pictures hung low on the walls where the baby will be able to see them. These might be black and white images for newborns. Later the images are often from nature or pictures of people.

Even small Montessori baby spaces have plenty of empty space, free of clutter. This is both so the baby has room to move around and explore, and to minimize visual distraction when a baby is first experiencing focused concentration.

Montessori baby spaces often include live plants or animals, such as a small fish tank, as well.

When thinking of the aesthetic of the room, it is helpful to lay on the floor and consider how things will look from the baby's perspective. You can have the most beautiful picture hung, but if it's way up high at adult level, your baby may never notice it.

2. Add a movement + play area

Most nurseries have a play area for the baby, but a Montessori play space looks a little bit different. Montessori rooms always use child-sized furniture. A baby's room would have a very low shelf so that a mobile baby could choose, and put away, his own toys.

Montessori nurseries also have far fewer toys than other baby environments. For a very young baby, there might be a shelf with four or five different items on it, each with a designated spot on the shelf.

This allows the baby to really see their options and choose one thing on which to focus his attention. It also supports babies' growing sense of order as they learn that they can always find a favorite toy in its designated spot.

You can rotate the toys as you notice your baby getting tired of something or if you think they are ready for a greater challenge.

Other common elements in a Montessori baby play space are a mirror and mobiles.

A mirror is often hung horizontally, low on the wall of a baby's room. This allows baby to see themselves, and the room, as they lie next to it. If you have safety concerns, you can use a shatter-proof acrylic mirror. Their own reflection is often one of the very first things a baby will concentrate on independently.

There is also a specific progression of Montessori mobiles designed to appeal to an infant's growing interest and abilities. It starts with a very simple black and white mobile, and progresses to one that beautifully displays different shades of the same color. Tactile mobiles, where the baby can reach for and grasp a bell or ring secured to a piece of elastic, come next.

Each element of the baby's play area is designed to promote a relaxed state of concentration where the baby can independently explore his environment.

3. Create a comfortable sleeping area

The Montessori sleeping area is perhaps the most different from a standard modern nursery. Many Montessori families use a floor bed instead of a crib. This can be as simple as a low mattress on the floor, although you can also purchase a floor bed.

The floor bed allows newborns to visually explore their room without crib bars in the way. It allows older, mobile babies the choice of getting into and out of bed on their own. Independence is a huge part of Montessori, and this includes sleep.

Sleep is such a personal topic and different things work for different families. A floor bed may be something you're comfortable trying, but if it doesn't work for you, that's okay, too—you can still incorporate Montessori into other elements of your child's environment.

4. Consider safety for exploration

Montessori baby spaces are completely baby proofed from the start. This is especially important if you are using a floor bed, but even if you're not, it's great to have a space where your baby can play and explore without constantly being told "no."

Having a completely baby proofed nursery also gives you the freedom and confidence to encourage your baby to play independently sometimes, even if you need to leave the room. Because of their simplicity, baby proofing Montessori nurseries is usually fairly simple. It may help to hang a high shelf on the wall for any adult items you need in the room.

Montessori is much more about an approach to children than it is about any one material. No two Montessori nurseries will look alike, as they should be customized to meet both your family's and your baby's needs.

You can start with one aspect of a Montessori environment and experiment to see if it works for your family. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

Using these Montessori principles as a starting point for designing your baby's room can help you create a space that is not only beautiful, but will encourage independence and confidence in your baby from the start.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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