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Motherhood is: Wondering why I can't part with my daughter's tiny newborn clothes

Maybe I hold onto these clothes because I know I can't stop my children from growing up.

Motherhood is: Wondering why I can't part with my daughter's tiny newborn clothes

I love getting rid of things. I'm overwhelmed by clutter, stuff gives me anxiety, and when I watch Tidying Up on Netflix, I just can't relate to people who claim that so many of their belongings give them true joy. My husband often finds me tossing unwanted items because I can't be bothered with the chore of re-selling—I'd much rather just get them out of my house. In general, I have very little attachment to material objects.

So why can't I part with my daughters' tiny newborn clothes?

When I recently cleared out too-tiny onesies and pants from my second daughter's drawers, I found myself clutching an armful of clothes as I stared down the trash bag and storage bin. For the first time, while decluttering, I paused.

Our second daughter is most likely our last. When she was born, I felt a sense of completeness I had heard other moms describe but didn't personally experience with our firstborn. Every day, I kiss my baby 's tiny nose and marvel at how perfect our family feels now. A family of four—a family with two children.

So why can't I let go of those itty-bitty newborn pants with the ruffles on the butt?

To be fair, I tossed the stained onesies. I ditched the out of style items. I donated the things we never even ended up using.

But the sweet kimono-style top she wore on her first day home? The tiny bow she wore in her newborn photos? The soft pink onesie both she and her sister wore as they practiced tummy time in the living room?

The thought of parting with them nearly gutted me.

Maybe it's because when I hold these things, I'm immediately transported back to not just one, but two of my fourth trimesters, watching two wiggly babies kick their legs. I hold them to my nose and can almost smell that hypnotic newborn fragrance—I swear I can even feel that velvety new skin and tuft of silky hair.

Maybe it's because, despite all those feelings of completeness, of satisfaction with our family of four, a part of me hesitates to call it quits. I've changed my mind before—who's to say I won't rethink a third baby? (If I'm totally honest, I feel like I could be talked into it.) But I'm also totally fine if it never happens. I don't think I want another baby. But I know I don't want to say goodbye to that minuscule knit cap my daughter wore coming home from the hospital.

Maybe I hold onto these clothes because I know I can't stop my children from growing up.

I know that it will hurt a little bit every time I look back at their squishy, fresh-from-the-womb faces in photos. I know that part of me will always long for just one more day to cuddle those soft bodies, to tickle those sweet little toes. I can never have those days again. But I can hold on to those handknit booties that she outgrew after her first month.

Those little outfits will never grow up. I can run my fingers over the soft cotton to be transported back to the precious memories so firmly behind us.

I surprise myself sometimes, how attached I am to these little pieces of cloth. After all, that's all they are, right? But because they've clothed my babies, they've become so much more in my mind.

Before I had children, baby clothes were simply something to coo at in Target or gift to friends to dress up their little ones. But now, each outfit is the carrier of a memory—of my own transition from a woman to a mother.

Now, that sweater has become the sweater I wrapped my baby 's tiny body in for the first time we dared to venture out of the house—just the two of us. Those moccasins have become the shoes my baby bravely took her first shaky steps in. This dress has become the dress she excitedly wore to meet her brand-new baby sister.

So I've given my wannabe-minimalist self a pass. I've neatly folded the tiny pants and onesies (Marie Kondo would be proud!) and tucked them back in the storage box.

Because, while I'll probably never use them again, these items give me more joy than you can imagine. ✨

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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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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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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