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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, $44.90.

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.

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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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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