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The incomparable magic of my baby's first giggle

Observing him has taught me a lot about human nature. Namely, how did he learn how to make this sound?

The incomparable magic of my baby's first giggle

My son entered the world with the same attitude of every other baby: red-faced belligerence at the audacity of being pulled from the safe nest that created him. In the hours, days and weeks that followed, his outlook on life didn't get much happier. My newborn either screamed for food or slept for hours. The rare moments in between were given a skeptical, curious glare that I know he inherited from me. I didn't get a single picture of him smiling until he was nearly 5 months old.

Despite my Instagram feed giving the appearance of an infant with the attitude of a teenager, the reality is that my son is actually a pretty happy baby. After the shellshock from his trip through the birth canal finally wore off, he smiled plenty—provided there was no camera in sight. And then, one surprising day, he suddenly began to giggle as I changed his diaper.

My heart stopped and then I, too, began to giggle. Because when a baby laughs, it is a biological impossibility not to join.

Since that first time, he has grinned and laughed at every small detail he finds pleasant. Kiss his cheek? Laugh. Play peek-a-boo? Laugh. Pick him up off the floor? Laugh.

Observing him has taught me a lot about human nature. Namely, how did he learn how to make this sound?

I have taught my son all of his limited abilities. I taught him how to hold a bottle. I taught him where to place his arms and legs so he could crawl (we're still working on that one.) My attentiveness and response to his various cries have reinforced how to communicate. And his issues with nipple confusion and reluctance to nurse taught me that even things we assume are instinctive products of nature are not necessarily so.

My baby didn't even know how to eat to stay alive…but he knew how to laugh.

Becoming a mom has taught me a lot. But this has been my most important lesson. As we grow, the stress of the world tends to dampen our instinctive joy. We are quicker to anger, disappointment, defeat and anxiety.

How do we return to childlike reactions? How do we have honest frustration, but with an equal amount of honest delight?

Now that he's 8 months old, my son is becoming more judicious and intentional in his actions. I'm teaching him things that are more detail-driven. How to tip the bottle at a higher angle to get the last drops of milk. How to use his fingers to hold objects without having to wrap his entire arm around them. How to keep his balance so he doesn't topple over when sitting up.

He hasn't really understood any of these things yet, but we're getting there. It doesn't matter how long it takes; I'm happy to keep working on them as long as he needs it. Teaching him the basic functions he'll need to live is part of what makes me the mom.

The responsibility of raising a little human can be intimidating, but truthfully, I'm not worried about it anymore. As hard as I have worked these last months, I know I cannot take credit for everything about my son. Inside of him is a unique personality growing all on its own merit. And I am so proud that he is brave enough and curious enough to follow his gut.

Yes, I had to teach him how to nurse. And how to clap his tiny hands. And a whole lot of other small but vital skills. But I didn't teach him how to hold his head up, grip my finger, roll onto his stomach or use our couch to pull his wobbly knees into a standing position. And I did not teach him how to laugh.

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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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