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7 mindful ways to connect with your baby before birth

We’ve put together a few ideas to help you mindfully connect with your bundle-to-be.

7 mindful ways to connect with your baby before birth

Even when you're doing everything you can to keep your baby safe and growing, it's easy to feel a little disconnected. Beyond the kicks and an ultrasound photo, it's hard to really wrap your mind around the fact that there is a little baby in there!


We've put together a few ideas to help you mindfully connect with your baby.

Journal.

Take a few minutes every day or week to write down a few memories to share with the baby later—write about events that happened that week, how you're feeling or preparations you've made for the baby's arrival. You can also write your baby little letters.

And don't forget to include photos of your growing belly! ?

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Read to him.

Your baby can start to hear sounds around the 18th week of your pregnancy, so he'll love listening to the soothing sound of your voice reading him a story. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading to your baby every day—how fun would it be to start now?

Here are some of our favorites.

Meditate, pray or connect with quiet time.

Take a few moments every day to take solace from the world and be alone with your baby. Prenatal meditation has wonderful health benefits for you, and has even been found to influence babies' behavior after they are born!

If you need some help getting started on meditating, our birth class includes a variety of relaxation guides for you.

If you'd like, you can also spend time praying for your baby. For religious mamas, this act can cultivate a deep sense of meaning both to baby and a higher power.

If meditation or prayer isn't your thing, just spend some intentional time in silence every day imagining and sending loving vibes to baby.

Aim for 15 minutes a day spent without distractions—no phone, no TV, just you, hands on your belly, connecting with your little one and envisioning life with your baby.

Listen to music or sing.

Music has long been used to relieve stress and provide comfort, so why not incorporate it into your baby's (and your) life now?

You can sing to her (remember, she can hear you) or dance with her to your favorite tune. It takes a few times to get past feeling awkward singing to your belly, but remember that she thinks your voice is the most beautiful thing she's ever heard.

I sang to my belly daily, and that same song is now our nighttime lullaby.

Get crafty.

Whether you're an expert knitter or fumble with a glue stick, find a way to express your creativity and make some art! Artistic expression can be very soothing, and how sweet would it be to make something for your baby? Make a scrapbook, decorate a onesie or maybe paint something to go in the baby's room.

Head over to Pinterest for a little inspiration—but don't worry about the final outcome too much. Your baby will think it's a masterpiece no matter what.

Treat yourself.

Do something really nice for yourself and your baby. When you feel good, she feels good! Get a prenatal massage, take an indulgently long nap, or just get in bed with a good book. And do it with zero guilt. Research finds that relaxing during your pregnancy improves your overall health. Enjoy the Zen, mama!

Appreciate your own amazingness.

Your baby thinks you are the greatest thing ever (he's right). Spend some time loving yourself as much as your baby loves you. Appreciate all the things your body is doing to grow your baby. Admire your gorgeous, glowing reflection in the mirror. Those confident self-love vibes will transfer to your baby, and you'll both benefit from the good feels.

Having a hard time getting started on this one? Check out our guide here!

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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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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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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