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5 reasons babywearing is a game-changer for new mamas

2. Get your hands back (and stop unwanted hands touching your baby)

5 reasons babywearing is a game-changer for new mamas

New parenthood. Whew. What a trip.

It's like the universe takes everything you were sure you had under control and pulls the rug out from under you. Your body has undergone an incredible change. You are full of hormones, stretched in ways you've never felt before, and bone tired. Things that used to be easy are painstakingly difficult and now take forever to recover from.

Your heart has changed even more than your body has. It's expanded, grown, evolved in ways you'll discover in the days, months, and years to come. You are fundamentally changed. And yet, you are still you.

Let me repeat that, in case you missed it. New mama (or papa), you are still you.

However you're adapting to new parenthood, whether it suits you like a perfectly cozy new sweater, or whether it's harder, takes longer, and feels like you'll never get back to the person you knew yourself to be before, you are not alone. Everyone is a new mom for the first time. And everyone feels like they have no idea what they're doing sometimes.

But, my new mama friends, I'm here to tell you about something that could potentially change your life (seriously, not exaggerating). You might think it's a fad. It is most assuredly not. In fact, it's bound to put a smile on your face and make you think, "I might actually be able to do this. Wait, I might actually be good at this!".

It's babywearing.

And it's not new. Babywearing has been around as long as babies have been, and in nearly every culture around the world.

Here are five reasons you need to try babywearing:

1. Less crying

I'll start at the top. Wearing your baby in a carrier reduces overall crying by over 40%. It's no secret that babies cry. For food, for diapers, and simply for being held. Wearing your baby not only puts them where they want to be—in your arms—it also alerts you to their cues faster, allowing you to respond to their needs before a full-on scream-fest occurs.

Having your baby upright in a carrier, particularly after feeding, also aids with gas, digestion and reduces symptoms of colic.

Then there are those dreaded hours, usually around your dinnertime, when you're exhausted after a long day, hungry, probably covered in all kinds of delightful goo. It's when your little one is winding down for the night, though it seems like quite the opposite. You've fed them, changed them, cuddled them, bounced on the exercise ball, danced to children's music, hummed, tried all the settings on your white noise machine, and they still won't. stop. crying.

Pop your baby in their carrier. Their safe place. Next to the sound of your heart. And watch them drift off into blissful sleep. Ahh, the wrap nap.

2. Get your hands back (and stop unwanted hands touching your baby)

Wearing your baby in a carrier literally gives you your hands back. This is important for new parents as well as those with older children. Because there is no child more mischievous than a toddler who knows his mama is held captive, feeding the new baby on the couch.

So make yourself some toast, text your BFF, and cuddle ALL your kids at once. Having two hands free while still holding your baby close is a game-changer.

And, speaking of hands, being in public with your baby can be nerve-wracking. Somehow, all sorts of acquaintances or strangers seem to be drawn to touch your new baby's head. Eliminate unwanted baby touching by keeping them safe in their carrier.

3. Gain independence while reducing overstimulation

As you wear your baby, they observe your face, your voice and the things you're doing. Being so close to you greatly increases the amount of interaction they have with you, which helps their brain learn all sorts of new things!

In new environments, your baby can observe from the security of someone they know and love. They are more likely to feel safely curious—wearing your baby has actually been shown to increase independence as your baby gains confidence at their own pace.

Being worn facing in, tummy to tummy, also prevents overstimulation in noisier or busier environments.

4. Combat postpartum depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety are a challenge many new mothers face postpartum. The stigma around talking about mental health is lessening, but it's still isolating, scary and something that still needs to be talked about more. While babywearing is no replacement for medical help, it has been shown to assist in lessening symptoms of PPD and PPA.

Many new parents find it an easier way to approach bonding with their new infant. Holding them without holding them, while having your hands free, can be a stepping stone in the journey of PPD/PPA.

The reasons babywearing helps aren't magic, they're practical. You can easily get out for a walk. You can shower with your new baby in a water sling. You can take some time for self-care like makeup or hair. And you can do it all with the soft rise and fall of your baby's breaths reassuring you that, yes, you can do this. Yes, you are doing this. Yes, you are enough.

5. Less gear!

Getting out of the house has never been easier thanks to babywearing. Lots of carriers allow you to pre-tie them before you leave the house, and then you can pop baby in and out as needed (if they need to go in their car seat, for example). Bring a small bag of essentials, and mama, you're DONE.

The beauty of babywearing is that you can adventure with your little one, even if that adventure is a Target run, with such a minimal amount of gear. You'll wonder why you ever lugged that massive stroller to Costco in the first place.

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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.

$159.99

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!

$29.99

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.

$29.99

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. 🙌

$9.99

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.

$14.99

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.

$24.99

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.

$8.99

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.

$7.99


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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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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