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8 Sleep Products Every New Mom Needs

Smart gear that will help YOU sleep better.

8 Sleep Products Every New Mom Needs

Now that baby is sleeping through the night, you're tossing and turning and can't seem to get more than 4 or 5 consecutive hours of sleep (if you're lucky). Your mind is racing with to-do lists, and your hyper-alert to every little sound your little one is making. No matter what you do -- counting sheeps, reading a book, or sticking to a relaxing bedtime routine -- you can't seem to turn off your brain. Postpartum insomnia is real, mama; and it can plague you for months.

When you become a parent, you'll have to relearn one of the basic tasks of survival: how to sleep. So what can you do if no amount of yoga or meditation help you get a good night of zzz? Turns out, there are products that can help you get the best, most restful sleep. Because, well, after carrying a baby in your belly for 10 months and giving birth, you deserve it, mama! So forget about baby for a change. Here are 8 sleep pieces of gear that will help YOU fall asleep faster (and stay asleep).

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1. A good mattress. The first step to getting a good night's sleep is getting a comfortable mattress. Casper's original mattress provides everything your new mom's body needs: support to align your back, shoulders and hips (get ready to babywear for hours!); a fabric with airflow that helps prevent overheating (buh-bye night sweats caused by postpartum hormones!); and the literal sensation of sleeping on a cloud! Bed-in-a-box mattresses are a great alternative for new parents, who may be pressed for time. Order online, and get it delivered at your doorsteps (for free). Casper Mattress, starting at $595.

2. A sound machine. Your baby loves white noise -- you will too! It's a great way to drown out the sounds that usually disrupt your sleep, like trucks outside, loud neighbors or, you know, your tiniest roommate whimpering and rustling all night long. The Marpac Dohm is a simple, affordable option that mimics the sound that fans make, with two speed options to adjust to your liking. Marpac Dohm Sound Machine, $50.00.

3. An essential oil diffuser. Certain essential oils are known to induce sleep. You can add a couple of drops of lavender or chamomile oil into a diffuser like this one and turn it on 15 to 20 minutes before going to bed. The scent will permeate the room and set the environment up for restorative sleep. Campo Essential Oil Diffuser, $97.

4. A wake-up light. The light that you have in your room can make a huge impact on your sleep. Smart lights, like the Wake-Up Light or the Hue system from Philips, can help you set the perfect sleep-inducing light condition. Use a sunset simulation mode to gradually dim the light in your bedroom and to signal to your body that it's time to think about bed. You can also use a sunrise simulation to help you wake up better. Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Sunrise Simulation, $49.99.

5. A weighted blanket. Gravity blankets have been used by occupational therapists to treat patients with sensory processing disorders. But they've recently become mainstream in helping with occasional insomnia and anxiety. Weighted blankets provide deep pressure on the body, giving a snuggly feeling that calms the nervous system. This, in turn, will help you stay asleep longer. Gravity blanket, starting at $249.

6. A sleep tracker. The key to getting a better night's sleep is understanding the things that keep or wake you up. That's where sleep monitors come into play. Trackers give you data on your breathing patterns, body movements and so much more and then provide personalized feedback to help you get a better night's rest. You could either choose a wearable device, like the Fitbit Versa; a phone application, like Sleep Cycle or SleepScore; or a monitor that stays on your nightstand, like the Hello Sense sleep tracker (bonus point for being super cool looking). Fitbit Versa Watch, $189.

7. Linen bedding. Linen is known to help regulate body temperature -- whether you are hot or cold! Plus, it's extremely breathable, which means it allows for more airflow and wicks moisture away. No more waking up with damp sheets sticking to your body! And if this wasn't enough, linen gets softer with each wash. Parachute carries a line of linen bedding that we love. Parachute Linen Venice Set, starting at $419.

8. Blue light-blocking glasses. Are you looking at your phone or watching TV before bed? Well, try not to… But if you absolutely can't pass up the opportunity to watch your fave show on Netflix, try to do so with blue light-blocking lenses. The light that our screens emit can suppress the production of melatonin -- the hormone that regulates wakefulness -- and disrupt your internal circadian clock and, in turn, your sleep. Amazon blue light blocking glasses, $19.95.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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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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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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