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Back to School: Baby Classes

Gary Osborne of Oliver & Adelaide gives us 5 great reasons to leave your apartment with your new baby.

Back to School: Baby Classes

Living in New York City is by far the most amazing place to be with a new baby, especially when he or she is under 12 months. Don’t feel like you have to hide out in your apartment. Grab a couple diapers and a bottle, and find a class that you can experience with your infant in tow.

There is an abundance of classes and activities to choose from in New York City. This is a great thing, but it can also be overwhelming. How can we navigate the most appropriate classes for our wee ones in that first year? Keep it stress free, and sign up for classes that can be a bonding experience between you and your new baby, and other new parents. I found it fruitless to go to classes where someone was trying to teach my infant something. Make sure the classes are focused on play and on making connections with other new parents.

Here are my top four picks for baby classes and my favorite museum to stroll while my son was an infant.

1. The New Amsterdam School Parent-Child Program

This class is my top pick, and a true gem for a new urban parent. New parents can completely relax in a serene and aesthetically calming environment while children experience gentle exploration and socialization through play. Simple toys, songs and snacks create a beautiful rhythm for 90 minutes once or twice a week. Starts at six months.

2. Dionne Kamara Dance Class for Infants

This movement class is the best secret in town -- it’s not hugely marketed like many of the commercial classes, so consider this your tip. My son was in Dionne’s class for over a year, and I gained tremendous knowledge of his stages of physical development and how to encourage him to practice fundamental patterns of movement. Dionne not only comes from a professional dance background, she is a master with children and parents. She knows her stuff when it comes to understanding the connection between the mind and body, and knows all about a child’s growth and development. Starts at eight weeks.

3. Rubin Museum

When Cabin Fever hits during the chilly months, and you just need to get out of the apartment, this will become your urban mommy and baby sanctuary. It is rarely crowded and is a peaceful and beautiful place to stroll around with your baby. The café food is delicious, and the gift shop has an incredible selection of children’s books. I became a member when my son was an infant, and it became our default go to place for an indoor retreat in the gorgeous Himalayan culture. For any age.

4. Imagine Swimming

One of the best skills you can teach your child is to swim. Drowning is the second leading cause for unintentional death for children. Swimming is also a wonderful way to bond with your baby and build a strong sense of trust between baby and parent. I started my son in this class at four months, and now at three years, he is swimming independently and loves going to the beach every weekend. I did trek down to the TriBeCa flagship location every week for two years because they have a very comfortable pool heated to 90 degrees. Bonus! This is also a nice gentle workout for the parent, which is always useful. Starts at six months.

5. City Treehouse – Music Together

It’s a good idea to expose children to live music. The Music Together program has been around for more than 25 years and is a great way to engage your child in music, sound and rhythm. While I am confident all the musically inclined teachers are great, I highly recommend seeking out the very special Erin Lee, who has a very hip children’s band called Up Past Bedtime. She played the guitar for my son’s class like a folk star and started his appreciation for song. Starts at any age.

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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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Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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