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I am just one year new to motherhood, so a lot of things have come as a surprise to me. One of those things is how much love I could ever feel for my daughter.

I had heard about it before, but it wasn't until I experienced it myself that I learned about this new love I hadn't ever felt like the love I have for my child.

I was also surprised at how much she would need from me, and how I, one way or another, without any past experience just figured it out.

I am surprised at how much she grows and learns, as do I, every day.

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But my biggest surprise came at sleep time. I wasn't sure before I became a mom, if I'd choose to co-sleep or crib-sleep. I wasn't too worried about it, until she was born and I quickly realized, for my own sake, I needed to teach her to sleep on her own.

I couldn't believe just how tired I was after having a baby. Everyone warned me about this before she was born, advising me to enjoy my sleep now. And I won't lie— I followed their advice. I took every moment I could to tell myself, “I'm pregnant, I'm going to take a nap."

However, what I failed to realize is that I couldn't save up on sleep for later.

In fact, none of that precious sleep carried over after my daughter was born. And even after all my pregnancy sleep, I was still tired.

In my desperate need for sleep I tried to have my daughter nap in bed with me, but when she was younger if I even moved a little she'd wake up. And when she was a little older she would move so much I would end up with kicks and slaps on my face every time she turned, and I could never get the rest I needed.

That's when I knew that the sooner I could get my daughter to sleep longer stretches in her crib, the better it'd be for me.

I started thinking women who chose to co-sleep were supernatural or crazy. That was until one night while I was researching about baby sleep I found a comment from a mother defending her reasoning for co-sleeping with her sons.

She wrote, “A lot of people judge me for choosing to co-sleep with my sons. What people don't understand is that I'm a full-time, working, single mom that leaves the house as my children are waking up, and come back from work when they are going down to sleep. It's only at night time that I get to cuddle and love on my children through the weekdays, and I wouldn't change it for the world."

In that moment, my heart softened to her words. I understand what it is like to miss your child and desperately need time with your babies. I understood, that like me, parents make these choices on sleeping because of their unique needs. Mine was that I desperately needed uninterrupted sleep.

I spend most of my days with my daughter playing, entertaining, loving, correcting, feeding and all the things that comes with staying home with my baby. By night time, I needed a baby break. I am exhausted.

I want my daughter to fall asleep easily and get the sleep she needs because it is good for both of us. I also need that time to recharge so I can come in the next morning and have the energy I need to fully be with her.

By bedtime, after we go through her nightly routine, I'm no longer in the mood for fun or games. I need her to get some rest so I can too. I have to admit that at times I do feel strict. Sometimes I wonder if too strict.

After I put my daughter to sleep sometimes she perks right up and lifts her little arms towards me to hold her. And don't get me wrong I so want to fall for her cute little facial expressions, but I know that the minute I give in I will become frustrated and exhausted.

So I gently place her back down and walk out the room. In the first few months of trying this she'd wake back up and play and talk to herself and then cry, so I would come back in and give her back her pacifier back and blanket and place her back down. I repeated this routine for several days without giving in to the temptation to play with her or to bring her in my bed.

At first it was exhausting, but after a few weeks she now knows that I'm not up for games and it's time for bed.

She does have those nights when it's more difficult to put her to sleep than others. And she changes things on me every time she discovers something new, like pulling herself up or when she learned to go from laying to sitting. Now she even tries to hold herself on the rail and walk around the crib.

And I have to learn new ways to put her to sleep every night, but with consistency and extreme will power to not put her in my bed, I have had the rest I need to get my work done, to spend my days with her and to rest when it's necessary.

Throughout my short motherhood journey I have found that at times there's no right answer. We all, as mothers, deal with our own unique situations and make our own decisions, even when it comes to something that may seem so insignificant as sleep.

But as small as it may seem, being firm when it comes to my daughter's sleeping habits has given me restful nights of sleep I desperately need. And that helps me be a more engaged and patient mama during the day.

It's not easy to make these small yet difficult choices as a mother, but when I see her little face light up as I enter her room every morning, it makes it oh, so worth it.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 30, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

SHOP

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

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If you're looking to stock up on some adorable fall (or maybe even next summer) outfits, you're in luck because Maisonette is currently having a huge sale of up to 50% off on really really cute clothes, baby to toddler sizes.

There are a bunch of dresses, shorts and swim suits that are limited to warm weather, but also plenty of sweat pants, polo shirts and hoodies that can be worn year round.

Here are 10 of our favorites:

1. Short-sleeve onesie in multi doodle print

This super cute and mega soft onesie is 40% off! It comes with snaps and layered neck for easy dressing and undressing, and the print is perfect for any gender and style.

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2. Pink light up sneakers 

These neon pink sneakers are adorable even before you turn on the lights on their sole. They come with three settings and are USB rechargeable. They are currently 40% off.

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3. Blue gingham dress

The dress features a peter pan collar and comes with matching bloomers making the entire outfit so so cute. Currently 50% off.

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4. Short sleeve button down in abstract shapes print

This shirt is the perfect match for pants, skirts or jumpsuits and it's easy to match with any color. Currently at 50% off.

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5. Overall dress in pink stripes

These are a brand trademark and come with adorable bloomers for you little one to wear under the dress. Currently at 20% off.

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6. Sweat suit bundle in blue doodle print

This bundle is perfect for Fall days playing outside. It can be worn all together or mixed and match with neutral pieces. Currently at 40% off.

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7. Waist dress in red plaid

If you are planning ahead for the holidays this dress is a great find! Currently at 50% off.

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8. Romper in light chambray 

Babies and rompers are the perfect combo, and this one with the extra ruffles just makes everyone look extremely cute. Currently at 50% off.

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9. Shirt with all the animal friends 

Celebrate all the animals that children love (and maybe even practice the sounds they make) with this adorable t-shirt. Currently at 40% off.

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10. Cool sneakers for mom or dad

These super cool vans come in adult sizes so mom or dad (or both!) can match their little ones. Currently 25% off.

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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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Getting kids back into a school year sleep routine is hard work. There were so many reasons for kids to stay up over the summer, like fireworks, campfires and the fact that the sun itself has been staying up so late.

Incrementally later bedtimes happen slowly over the summer, and at this time of year, parents are looking to reset the clock fast. But when you're six years old and you've spent the last couple months basically living a life of Saturdays, it might take some convincing to get you under the covers early.

Enter the Disney Bedtime Hotline. From September 16 to 30 parents in the United States and Canada can call 1-877-7-MICKEY at bedtime and a Disney, Pixar, Marvel or Star Wars character will tell your kids to go to bed.

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Mickey, Spider-Man, Yoda, Elsa, Princess Jasmine, Woody and other beloved characters are on the line, waiting to tell kids a little story before bed .

The Disney bedtime hotline may sound silly, but getting kids back into a bedtime routine (especially when they've grown used to staying up as late as the summer sun) is serious business.

According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, school-age kids need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night, and when summer ends, kids no longer have the option of sleeping in a bit on weekdays. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine goes even further, recommending between 9 and 12 hours of sleep for kids 6 to 12 years old. Kids 3 to 5 years old should sleep 10 to 13 hour (including naps).

"Among three to five-year-olds, lack of sleep is associated with memory consolidation and language development difficulties, and with a lesser quality of life," said Wendy Hall, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine panel that made those recommendations explained after their release.

"Children aged five to 12 years who get less than nine hours of sleep have significantly increased odds of obesity," Hall, a sleep specialist and nursing professor at the University of British Columbia continued.

"Sleep routines are critical for kids of all ages. Reading a book, telling a story, singing a song, or getting into a toothbrush routine help kids settle into sleep better," she explained. "Banning electronic devices from the bedroom also helps."

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a five-year-old who starts school at 8:00am (and needs an hour or so to get ready, eat and commute) should be going to bed at 8 or 9:00pm.

If your child's school starts early, or they have a long bus or car ride to get to school, you may have to call Mickey even earlier.

Thanks for the help, Disney.

[A version of this post was originally published August 13, 2018. It has been updated.]

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Legendary journalist Cokie Roberts died this week due to complications from breast cancer, NPR reports. She was 75 years old.

Roberts made a huge impact on America and will not be forgotten. The Emmy Award-winning broadcaster made her mark in journalism at a time when it was difficult for women to be taken seriously in the space. She was a pioneer who remembered the pioneering women who came before her.

As a historian and prolific writer who authored several bestselling works on the role of American women in U.S. history, including "Capital Dames," "Founding Mothers" and "Ladies of Liberty", Roberts was dedicated to reminding the public of the crucial role of American women in U.S. history.

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Back in 2015, Roberts talked to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about what modern mothers should know about the amazing women who preceded them.

This is what she wanted us to know.

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Before becoming a mother, I had a film reel running in my head of the type of mom I would be. I would nurse. I would make organic baby food. I would set strict and loving boundaries: no screens before two, no co-sleeping, binky gone after the first birthday. I laugh as I type this up.

Our son is 14 months old now and he eats store-bought squeeze packs and goldfish crackers, he sleeps in our bed almost every night, he occasionally watches a show when I am overwhelmed and his binky is his best friend.

The mom I thought I would be in my head is not exactly the mom I am when the realities of life set in.

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When it came to breastfeeding, this was something I assumed I would just do. I knew it would initially be something I would have to figure out and learn in the hospital, but after that I thought it would be natural and comfortable. I was not overly concerned. I didn't even take a breastfeeding class. I heard stories of the initial challenges and pains early breastfeeding brought on, but I wrongly assumed that proper latching and sore nipples would be my biggest obstacles to overcome.

I was absolutely unprepared for the anxiety that breastfeeding brought on.

To say I struggled with nursing my son is an understatement. It was a battle I faced every couple of hours. There were tears and frustrations on both of our ends. I blamed it on a lot of external things: tongue tie, nipple shape, extra milk supply. It was so easy for me to externally justify why this breastfeeding thing was so challenging for me.

While some of these reasons may have been true, there was a bigger issue: my own head. Especially when it came to nursing in public, it almost always ended in disaster. My heart rate would increase, my mind began to tell me all types of lies and he would become frantic. My great challenges when it came to nursing went far beyond latching issues. Even an experienced lactation consultant cannot fully diagnose an issue when it has to do with your internal fears and deep insecurities.

This is something that not enough people talk about. I felt extremely alone and isolated in my anxiety with nursing in public.

I frantically Googled all day long in hopes of finding more women that also struggled with feeling uncomfortable feeding their babies in public. But most of my research made me feel like there was something wrong with me. So much of what I read revolved around embracing nursing in public, not even worrying about using a cover, and the pride other moms had in the ability to nurse wherever.

I read these articles and my heart longed to be like them, but I was stuck still feeling incredibly shy when it came to nursing in front of anyone except my husband. What was wrong with me? This is a totally natural thing. All those other moms seem to nurse out in public with such grace and confidence. Why can't I be like them? Why do I have to get so awkward, insecure and unsure? These were my constant thoughts in the early days of nursing.

Breastfeeding, for me, was much more than just learning the basics of how to correctly feed my sweet baby. It was a lesson in confidence. Even more, it was a lesson in embracing the fact that I do things differently. I am a slow learner. It takes me a while to warm up. I need time. I am shy, modest and slightly insecure. I so wish I could go back and fill those early months with more grace and patience. I wish I could tell myself it would be okay and that I would get there.

I did get there, eventually. I went from needing to find a hiding place each time my baby became hungry to nursing with confidence wherever we were: the park, the beach, an airplane. Part of this growth came from my son's own development, but a large part of overcoming the deep anxiety I once had was learning to be confident as a mom.

It took me a while to fully feel like I was made to be a mom. I had so much self-doubt and insecurity, which ultimately got in the way of something as natural as feeding my baby. I felt like everyone's eyes were on me when I attempted to nurse in public. I made up so many lies about what they thought about me. It's sad to admit, but when I breastfed in public, I was more concerned with how others perceived me than just focusing on my baby.

As I gained confidence in motherhood, my care in how others perceived me slowly lessened. My focus was finally on where it needed to be: my baby.

Gaining the confidence to nurse in public definitely did not happen overnight. It was a long and slow process. There was not one thing that suddenly granted me with courage. It was many little wins that overtime allowed me to be the mother I pictured I would be. The one that nursed her baby with grace and confidence wherever she may be.

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