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The ABCs of Safe Sleep for Baby

Easy cheat sheet for safe sleep foundation.

The ABCs of Safe Sleep for Baby

You have the perfect nursery with all of the recommended baby items that your BFF said you HAD to have. You’ve read the books and the blogs. You’ve made the choice on how to feed your baby. Now what about sleep? Should baby sleep in the bassinet or go straight to the crib? Does baby need to be swaddled? What about a blanket? A lovey? A pacifier? So many questions, so many choices. It’s tough to know where to look for reliable answers.

No matter what you choose, your baby’s safety should be first and foremost. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a ton of helpful guidelines, and we’ve broken down the ABCs for you. Here are 6 rules to follow for baby sleep safety.

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A is for Alone. In other words, room share, don't bed share. Co-sleeping is a hot button topic. There are Facebook groups, mommy blogs and articles devoted to both sides of the debate. The AAP has firmly stated that that co-sleeping (aka bed-sharing, aka bringing your baby into your bed) is unsafe and can result in tragic consequences. You may think that putting a baby lounger or sleep positioner (like a Dock-a-Tot) on your bed will make it safe to bedshare. Not true. Those products aren’t approved for sleep by the AAP. So it's best to skip those all together and set up a bassinet in your room so baby can be close by but in their own safe sleep space. The AAP recommends keeping baby in your room for at least the first six months, ideally up to a year.

B is for back. According to the AAP and the back-to-sleep campaign that launched in the 90s, back is best. Put baby to sleep on their back Every. Single. Time. They don’t have enough head control to turn to the side if placed on their tummies. This guideline is especially important for preterm babies. Don’t worry -- your little ones have airways that prevent them from choking while on their backs.

C is for crib. This means no swing, Rock N Play, or car seat. It is so tempting, especially with reflux babies, to let them sleep for an extended period of time in one of these. The AAP strongly discourages this practice. Even though you’ve seen your BFF’s little one snoozing peacefully in a Rock n’ Play, the AAP and FDA have stated that products like these and other sleep positioners are not safe for sleep. A Mamaroo, Boppy, swing and other similar products are great tools to soothe baby but they must then be moved to a safe sleeping space.

D is for "don’t be afraid of the pacifier." There has always been debate about pacifiers and we’re sure it will continue. Whether or not to use a pacifier is a personal choice, especially if you’re breastfeeding. But there is new research showing that pacifier use at sleep times can be protective against SIDS. Don’t attach it to baby’s clothes in any way. It might take a few tries to find one your baby likes but once you discover one, buy a few!

E is for empty. Don't try to make the crib or bassinet cozy -- babies don't care about that. So keep the blanket that Aunt Linda made for stroller walks, not for use in the crib. No blankets, pillows, lovies, stuffed animals, baby loungers, bumpers or other soft, cushy items should be in baby’s crib or bassinet. Once baby is at least a year, you can introduce a small lovey like these.

F is for firm, flat sleep surface. You might like your Sleep Number setting super soft but firm and flat is what your baby needs. Look for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) seal of approval on mattresses, cribs and bassinets. If your baby has reflux, resist putting a wedge under the mattress or modifying the crib/bassinet so that it’s on an incline--per the latest AAP guidelines, this isn’t safe.

Use these simple reminders each time you put baby down. Still unsure? Go to this Facebook group where educated moderators will help you navigate the complicated world of safe sleep. Sleeping through the night will come. Give your baby the best start possible with a safe place to develop a healthy foundation for sleep.

Leigh McMahon is a certified sleep consultant with Bonne Nuit Baby. Based in Denver, Colorado, she helps babies and children learn how to be champion sleepers so their parents can stay sane and cut down on the double espressos. Learn more about us at @_bonnenuitbaby and follow her adventures of being a #boymom at @bonnenuitdenver.

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

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

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

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

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

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective 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.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

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

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

Plan Toys water play set

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.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

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.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

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

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

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

Plan Toys croquet set

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

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

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

janod toys pull along hippo toy

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

janod toys baby fox ride on

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

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Mothers wanted the president to condemn white supremacy—he didn't

What you need to know about the first presidential debate and the 'Proud Boys'.

Screenshot/CNN

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

For many American families, the impacts of systemic racism are a daily reality. This summer saw mothers and children go out and join Black Lives Matter protests in an effort to make the United States a safer place for Black children.

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Individuals across the country stood up and condemned white supremacy in 2020 and wanted the sitting President of the United States to do that Tuesday night, during the first presidential debate.

But he didn't.

When Chris Wallace of Fox News, the debate moderator, asked President Trump to condemn white supremacy, to ask militia groups to stand down and not escalate violence in cities like Kenosha and Portland, the president stated he was willing to...but when Wallace said "Then do it, sir," the president's answer was far from a clear condemnation.

First, Trump asked for a specific group to condemn, rather than simply condemning white supremacy as a whole. When the others on stage offered "white supremacy" and "Proud Boys" as the name to condemn, the President picked Proud Boys. But a condemnation didn't come.

"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump said. "But I'll tell you what, somebody's gotta do something about Antifa and the left. This is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

This followed a previous exchange in which Wallace asked President Trump why he ended a racial sensitivity training program. Trump responded that the training was racist and was teaching people to "hate our country."

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