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Dear sensitive mama—your empathy is what makes you so strong

You feel everything so deeply, so it's hard not to notice. You wear your heart on your sleeve about almost everything.

Dear sensitive mama—your empathy is what makes you so strong

Hello sensitive mama,

I see you feeling weak and misunderstood on a tough day on the mommy grind. You feel everything so deeply, so it's hard not to notice. You wear your heart on your sleeve about almost everything.

You take on everyone's emotions and experiences and make them your own—every unfairness in the world is yours to fix. It's hard not to see that melancholy look you get when your daughter falls, scraping her knee, crying sad crocodile tears down her cheeks. I see you running over to make her feel better, consoling her by offering your hand and some comfort.

You give everyone your full heart. You are so generous with yourself. You really care about others in a completely genuine way.

You often forget about yourself because you are always so busy tending to everyone else's needs.

The baby needs a diaper change—you got it.

The toddler is having a meltdown—you got it.

The toddler spilled oatmeal all over the kitchen floor—you got it.

You got it. You got it. You got it.

Self-care is the last thing on your to-do list. A shower is often a quick rinse. You stay up at night thinking about everything and anything—what you need to do tomorrow if the baby will finally crawl, and how your little is going to adjust to separating.

Because separating! I won't even get you started on that. You have actual nightmares about that because you know no one is going to take better care of your child than you.

And what if another child is mean and you aren't there to make it better? You think about these things constantly because, to be honest, the world scares you.

Yes, this tough world has broken your sensitive heart at times and you don't want your kids to ever experience that kind of pain— the kind that has made you feel hopeless, that has made you question everything. That is, until you had children. Then they became your hope—your everything.

You let others' pain flow through you—so when your child feels sad, well... that takes you to another level. It's like an electric current shooting through your body—you MUST make her feel better or BOOM!—you will combust.

It's hard not to notice how your whole face contours, a crinkly crease developing in your forehead with worry when she cries. It's hard not to see the fire in your eyes looking at the path you must fight in her honor when you need to protect her.

You can handle the most because you feel the most. That experience gives you insight into others' pain. This incomparable empathy not only extends to your own children, but to other moms as well.

I see you reading all of the mamas in a classroom trying to make everyone feel welcomed. You don't want anyone to feel left out. I see you listening so intently as other mamas tell you their problems. Your eye-contact is strong, locked in, and you are engaged so deeply in conversation. You care for them and it's evident. Your whole soul is listening.

It's easy to become broken in an uncertain world when you are a sensitive soul. I have been there—through betrayals, rejection, and criticism that hurt me to the core. A lot of the time these sentiments were from myself—my inner critique—who was the meanest of them all.

But by working through it diligently, I was able to heal and accept myself in all my imperfections. By doing so, I've grown into the strongest kind of mama bear there is—a beautifully flawed, compassionate, understanding one.

You are strong because you take on a lot and don't cower away.

You are strong because you let yourself feel fully.

This makes you fearless.

You are:

A mom that will never judge her children, teaching her kids to do the same to others.

A mom who will transform her children's lives, teaching her kids to do the same to others.

A mom who will spread kindness all around, teaching her kids to do the same to others.

So sensitive mama bear, your cubs are in good hands, because you don't realize how much strength you have. To feel and to love as deeply as you do is a gift. Keep on giving that gift to your children every single day. It's an amazing accomplishment.

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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.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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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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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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