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5 expert tips to create a stylish baby room—from Ali Fedokowsky's interior designer

Designer Veronica Valencia wants to let you in on some industry secrets.

5 expert tips to create a stylish baby room—from Ali Fedokowsky's interior designer

When you're planning a nursery for your baby, you want to put as much love into it as possible, but if you're not a designer, figuring out what you love (and how to get that look without breaking your budget) can be tough, especially if this is your first time designing a space for a baby.

Veronica Valencia is about to become a first-time mama, but the nursery she's created for her little one is hardly her first. She's a renowned interior designer and creative director, Tiny Love's Design Expert, and the design eye behind coveted homes like Ali Fedotowsky's.

Here are her tips to make sure your baby's room will be amazing—whether your budget is DIY or designer.

1. Figure out your budget and what matters most

"Beautiful nurseries can be designed at many price points, but a budget can help prioritize what's most important, where to splurge or scale back. For every client or DIY parent, that's different, but I like to mix and match high-low products that are beautiful and functional," Valencia tells Motherly.

She suggests that if parents have their hearts set on an expensive item, like the Abigail 3-in-1 Convertible crib Valencia loves, then they should select affordable accent pieces. She's done this in spaces, sprinkling in a mobile from Tiny Love and other inexpensive touches when the bulk of a budget is being spent on a "splurge" item, like a fancy crib.

2. Create a mood board

When you've set your budget and nailed down any big splurge items, Valencia recommends sitting down and making a mood board.

"It's important to understand the vision for the space – so don't only decide the color, concept or style, but also ask yourself what special moments and milestones you envision in this space. That way, you can determine the must-have items and find pieces with sentimental value too," she tells Motherly.

3. Clean, light and white is on trend

In the past, nurseries were often painted childish hues of pink or blue and could look out of sync with the rest of the home. Today, the trend is simple sophistication. If your dream nursery looks a lot like the room Valencia designed for Ali Fedotowsky's children, you're not alone. According to Valencia, simple, sophisticated nurseries are the big trend right now, one she has totally gotten behind.

"I feel all nurseries should feel serene and as stress-free as possible, and keeping them simple is the best way to achieve this," she explains. "All of the colorful toys will naturally bring in some character. For a majority of all of the nurseries we did this year, we kept the rooms white and created an accent wall with either wallpaper or paint. It's a small element that creates a big impact with loads of personality."

It's also really easy to create a gender-neutral space this way. Valencia doesn't yet know if she's having a boy or a girl, so she's working with a palette of white and light wood in her own home. That kind of design means it's easy to accessorize for a second or third child down the line, and, in Valencia's case, it allows her to personalize the room after the birth by creating "a beautiful base that we can work in sentimental pieces once we meet our little one."

4. Design sitting areas for more than one adult

According to Valencia, a common mistake parents make in nursery design is neglecting extra seating.

"Everyone covers off on the glider, but in that first year, you'll spend a lot of time in the nursery with your partner and all the family that flocks around your new arrival," she says. "Make it comfortable for two, this way parents or grandparents have a place to sit when they come to visit. If your nursery isn't large, an extra pouf and overscale floor cushions are a perfect solution."

5. Avoid perfectionism

For some parents, planning a nursery can become overwhelming. We want everything to be perfect, but Valencia suggests giving up on the idea of perfection early in the design process.

"I don't think parenting is about what's perfect, I think it's about what's possible. The possibility of this great love that will forever expand your heart," she explains.

A nursery doesn't have to be perfect, or filled with expensive items, to be filled with love.

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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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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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