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Some baby gear is timeless: the rocking chair, the cradle and the swings, to name a few. They evoke movement that the baby experienced in the womb and replicate that lulling comfort of being held in a gentle fluid flow. There are also all the other baby seats, like high chairs, which turn out to be a necessity at some point or another. But how can we know what is truly helpful for a baby and his parents? Can any of these tools be detrimental to his developing body and mind?

Recently, there has been a baby boom and with it an explosion of new baby gear. Manufacturers state they’ve done their research, make safety claims and assert that their products promote development.

A developing baby’s anatomy is unique and ever-changing. A baby’s head, for example, is much bigger than his bottom. His spine is nearly straight, without the natural curves of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and tailbone curves that later create architectural cantilevers to support our bodies in vertical. Babies are also born with only one foot bone – the other twenty-five foot bones develop from cartilage with push, pull, and reach movements, like tummy time, rolling, creeping, and crawling. These movements also help baby become stronger muscularly and create the spine that enables us to be the only vertical mammal standing on just two feet!

When you consider baby’s anatomical uniqueness, you quickly realize that much of the baby equipment out there is anything but helpful. To help you figure out what gear you should get to help your baby develop, here’s a guide to the good, the bad and the questionable.

For feeding. Some manufacturers claim that their devices help a baby learn to sit. But forcing a baby into an upright position before he gets there independently from lying on the floor can be detrimental to the pelvis, spine and head, potentially causing physical misalignment. That is why reclining seats are best to fully support baby’s developing body. Reclining seats fully support baby’s developing body. Many high chairs now have a variable recline feature, which is terrific! When reclining slightly, a baby who is ready to eat solids, but not yet able to sit in vertical can be more comfortable, balanced, alert, and willing to eat. Digestion is better in this position as well.

For lounging. Floor seats that offer molded contours force baby to maintain a sitting position before he can sit on his own cause the pelvis to rock backwards. Similarly, most jumpers and walkers force a baby into a vertical position with nothing but flimsy fabric that does not adequately support their spine and head. This isn’t good for the body, and it is safest to use them only once baby is really good at creeping, a movement also known as the military crawl. This movement is a powerful strengthener for the muscles and joints and can help baby balance his big head. Creeping contributes greatly to developing the foot cartilage to bone, and also is the precursor to being able to crawl on all fours or sit which require great balance (like riding a bike!). Until then, swings and bouncer chairs that recline are great options.

For playing. One of the best all-time inventions to help parents childproof a home, give them time to do some chores, and help baby develop has been the playpen. These enclosures are portable and give baby the floor time that he needs to practice movements while playing with whatever toys or objects the parents have placed inside the playpen. There are also gates that expand to provide baby with a safe room within a room.

For babywearing. The bottom line in considering whether something is safe is to really look at the baby and consider what its developing body needs. This changes over time. For example, with using baby carriers, a newborn baby should NEVER face out because its head and spine are not being supported. When can a baby face out? When the baby is creeping. This movement develops with floor time and stages of tummy time activities and generally occurs between 6-9 months of age.

For sleeping. Choosing a crib mattress is serious business, as there are documented health risks associated with the toxins emitted from some mattresses. Research now shows that babies who breathe toxic mattress fumes have a higher incidence of SIDS. That is why finding an all natural organic mattress for your baby is imperative. And while you’re at it, get one for yourself too. This could range from an organic cotton futon to a rubber memory foam type of mattress. There are many options. We spend a great deal of time sleeping and breathing on our mattresses throughout life. They are part of our everyday life. Making sure baby has a clean health mattress is crucial.

Enjoy your babies as they develop with floor play, emulating the gentle fluid flow of the womb, engaging activities, and safe, clean baby equipment that is used with discretion and consideration.

For more on baby development, go here. There’s also a video on tummy time and beyond.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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