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The Baby Bath Ritual

Household Mag’s founder reflects on the emotions of her baby’s bath.

The Baby Bath Ritual

It took awhile for Owen's umbilical cord to heal so bath time was delayed in our household. While his belly button healed, we gave him sponge baths at his changing table, and after the healing process was complete, we finally started with actual baths. Bath time, initially, wasn't his thing. Over time, it slowly changed. He became familiar with the water and saw that he was safe in his little tub.

I've noticed through bathing, more than any other activity, how much of his emotions are easily swayed by myself or his dad. If I am happy and upbeat about bathing, a smile comes across his face. And if I give in to his lack of enjoyment, he will only continue down that road.

I’ve started realizing just how much of an influence I have on Owen, and we all have on our babies. It's the part of parenting that is the most exciting… and the most terrifying. You are guiding their experiences constantly at this age. And while babies aren't necessarily retaining specific memories, you are able to begin to create a sense of comfort or familiarity associated with bath time, or eating, or sleeping, or anything. They’re all so simple, but also essential.

I know there will be a time where Owen can do without the seat in his tub, and when he outgrows our kitchen sink, but for now I'd like to hold on to this moment where he's still right there and needs my help. This moment where bath time is still something new to him. Where it’s still a place for him to explore and learn and create a sense of familiarity and comfort. This moment where he is still my little baby.

Since Owen comes to work with me and we don't get home until around 8pm, I typically give him his baths in the morning, after his breakfast and before his morning nap. This seems to tire him out a bit so that he sleeps even better when that nap rolls around. Our mornings at home have become such a special time for Owen and I. On the days I work, it's the only part of the day where it's just the two of us. It's our time to connect.

There are so many decisions to make as a parent. Products that are healthy and non-toxic for little ones like the lotions & potions line from giggle are no-brainers. The sweet rice milk scent of the bath products is natural and subtle, and the collection is plant-based and gentle so I don’t worry about Owen’s skin. I've done my research when it comes to baby products and it's honestly overwhelming. It's nice to find a brand like giggle that I can trust.

I've somehow managed to not only feed my family from a 36 square-foot kitchen, but I've developed a section of my blog dedicated to recipes, and it is also the place where we bathe Owen since our bathroom doesn't have a tub -- just a shower. We place his small plastic tub in the kitchen sink and do our thing. You would be surprised how seamless this process is for us. I'm sure over time things will change, but for now it's perfect.

Because our space is so small we certainly don't take our time when it comes to bathing. When he was first born, he hated bath time, so we learned to do it quickly. As he's gotten older and more accustomed to being in water, he has started to enjoy it much more. I never want to forget his little chunky butt and his bath time giggles.

Photography by Amy Frances Photography for Well Rounded NY.

*We are so grateful when brands support our content and community. This post was sponsored by giggle.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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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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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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