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5 Reasons to Put Baby Down

How to give yourself a baby-holding break.

5 Reasons to Put Baby Down

*We’ve partnered with Skip Hop to help give you a hand with your baby this holiday season.

The holiday season is in full swing, and we bet you’ve got your hands full...literally, with your baby. Between visitors, parties and holiday socializing, it can be overwhelming to put your baby down, especially if you have some attachment parenting tendencies. I kind of fell into attachment parenting myself—I loved the idea of keeping my daughter close all the time and the concept of the “fourth trimester” made a lot of sense to me. But I’m your classic Type-A person who wants to do everything exactly right… so I didn’t put my daughter down. Ever. For like, a year. And especially not during the holidays.

Let’s face it: there are times when mama needs a break. You can’t hold your baby ALL the time. What no one’s willing to tell you is that they get sick of us sometimes too. Here are five ways that parent and baby will benefit from a little time apart.

1. They do have other family, you know.

Your family members may have traveled far to see you this holiday season, and they’re itching for the chance to play with your little one. Putting them down doesn’t mean leaving them without someone to lavish them with lots of love and attention. Besides, which is better: hanging out with Grandma, or hanging out with an unshowered, angry woman that’s been up cleaning the house since 3 a.m.?

2. You might be able to cook with one arm, but it’s not safe.

Every parent develops the miraculous ability to cook, work and change diapers with just one hand, but it’s definitely not the fastest or the easiest way to get a meal on the table. It’s also not that safe—I burn myself enough cooking with both hands, and even in a carrier it’s not exactly easy to prep your holiday dinner while peering over someone’s head. Even worse, you might spill your wine.

3. They’ll develop skills sooner.

I remember being concerned that my daughter was taking forever to learn to crawl, but I soon realized that had less to do with her development and more to do with the fact that I never put her on the floor. Nowadays there’s a whole range of toys dedicated to helping baby develop their fine and gross motor skills. If you’re worried about baby getting themselves into trouble, a stationary play station like the Skip*Hop Explore & More Activity Center is perfect. Designed in collaboration with a pediatrician, the table (and toys) support playing and learning, with details like a Discovery Window that teaches cause and effect by letting baby see their feet while they play. The Activity Center converts to keep up with your little one’s developing skills, keeping them safe and entertained while you do what you’ve gotta do.

4. They’ll make friends.

I got to witness the cutest moment when my daughter, newly up and moving on two feet, got to play with another toddler. They chased each other around the room, banged on the air conditioning unit, played hide-and-seek (yes, really!) and hid under tables. I’ve never seen her have so much fun, and afterwards, she slept so hard. Total win. And there’s better time for your baby to make baby friends than at a holiday party.

5. That’s the whole point of attachment parenting.

Contrary to popular practice, attachment parenting is not about wearing your child until they’re thirty. The goal of attachment parenting is to promote secure attachment between parent and child by teaching them that they can always count on you to take care of their needs. The ultimate sign of a secure attachment, according to Mary Ainsworth, the psychologist credited with developing attachment theory, is when the child feels comfortable exploring on their own, checking in with their parent occasionally for reassurance. So put your baby down every once in awhile, and let them enjoy their independence. It’s a sign that you’re doing something right—and don’t worry, they’ll always come back.

Want the cool Skip Hop Explore & More Activity Center pictured here? Headover to SkipHop.com and save up to 30% thru Sunday, December 11, PLUS receive a FREE gift with your purchase over $40.

*This post was sponsored by Skip Hop. Photography by Jonica Moore Studios for Well Rounded.

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    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

    With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

    According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

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    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

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    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

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    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

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    Mini golf set

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    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

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    Vintage scooter balance bike

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    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

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    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

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    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

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    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

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    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

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    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

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    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

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