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There are so many awesome products out there to make your family's life more streamlined. But, let's face it: finding the time to research and purchase your favorites is tough. That's why we did it for you!


Whether we're talking a two-in-one lunchbox backpack or the best way to keep all of your kids artwork together, we'll keep you in the know and ahead of the back-to-school game.

Here are 13 of our favorite innovative products to keep your crew organized and efficient this school year:

These insulated stretchy neoprene lunch totes keep food warm or cold for 4 hours. They’re available in a huge variety of fun colors and patterns, and the soft handle makes them easy to carry. Best of all, the flat bottom design keeps food upright, so lunch won’t tip over and spill everywhere.

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Yumbox is a bento-style, leakproof food container made to help kids establish healthy eating habits. With compartments for fruit, veggies, grains, protein, and dairy (and an extra treat or dip compartment), this is the ultimate kid friendly lunchbox. Throw away the baggies and expensive snack packs and trade them in for this dishwasher safe, compact, easy to open, easy to clean container and make lunch fun. And they fit perfectly inside the BUILT NY Lunch Totes.

We already love the plastic Contigo bottles, but these new vacuum insulated stainless steel ones are a step above. The innovative autospout lid opens at the press of a button to keep liquids in and germs out. Say goodbye to spills with the only leak-free insulated bottle around.

Weelicious lunches is a cookbook jam packed with healthy, fun ideas for school lunches that are sure to please both kids and mama (and probably dad, too!)

This Obersee backpack features a roomy interior and a side drink pouch. You’re kids will love the awesome prints like unicorns, robots, or tie-dye. What really sets this backpack apart is the insulated front pocket that can double as a lunch box. The padded straps make it super comfortable for little shoulders. A back to school must have.

Capture all your child’s milestones with these memory cards by Sticky Bellies. Featuring 10 customizable cards from the last day of camp to the first day of school, just grab a marker and create an instant memory.

Eliminate the time you spend running around in the morning trying to find their favorite bow. Keep hair bows and headbands in one place with this fully customizable hair accessory organizer.

Primary is a new online clothing store where you can get affordable, simple, comfortable basics for kids 0-10. With t shirts and pants in every color of the rainbow all in one place, who needs to lose time shopping for clothes? No logos, super soft pima cotton, these are more than basics, they’re staples. The collection stays consistent so you can replace your kids’ faves when they get too small.

Name labels don’t have to be standard and boring anymore since Minted joined the game. Personalize them with a picture of your child, or choose a beautiful watercolor that includes your phone number or your child’s classroom and stick them on anything that runs the risk of getting lost.

Especially useful in a shared closet, keep everyones hanging clothes organized with these adorable and practical closet dividers. No more mixing the babies rompers in with your toddlers dresses. Separate all by sizes or request seasonal dividers so you’ll never search for a sundress in a sea of sweaters at 7 a.m. again.

Artkive is the best way save all your child’s artwork without the clutter. You can categorize each piece by age or school year and the app will help you make a book of your favorite collections. Simply take a picture with your iPhone, upload it to the app, and it will store it all for you.

This art-caddy is a great way to keep all their supplies in one place. Keep scissors, glue, pencils, crayons etc in this super cute, easy to transport design that seamlessly moves projects from one room to the next, keeping everything neat and organized.

Keep kids learning even after they get home from school by making screen time count. Leo’s Pad was designed by a team of Stanford University education researchers to include a variety of fun, informative, excited games woven through a great storyline. The game follows a group of kids named for some of histories greatest scientists as it teaches your kids about space, gravity, colors, shapes, and rockets.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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