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Given my career path and my status as a mom myself, I get feeding-related questions from friends and family regularly. One of the most common questions out there is, "what bottle should I use with my little one?" These days, there are so many bottles to choose from, and you have several factors to take into consideration when choosing the right bottle for you. You may be looking for the most convenient option out there, or for a bottle that prevents colic and gas. Or are you breastfeeding and looking to transition from the breast to the bottle so daddy can get in on that baby-feeding action?

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Whatever you're looking for, it is out there for you -- you just need to find it. Lucky for you, I've done research for you and put together a list of some of the newest, greatest baby bottles you can find. Whether you want a bottle that looks and feels like your breast or a whole travel bottle system, here are 9 baby bottles you'll want to check out.

1. MAM Anti-Colic Bottle.

At $6.99, the MAM bottle is designed to prevent gas, colic and reflux. It features a vented base that regulates pressure and prevent bubbles and foam to make sure babies don’t get air in as they guzzle away. The MAM is a great option for those who want to transition away from the breast. It’s easy to clean, comes in various sizes/colors, and has the ability to alter the flow rate of the nipple. At only $6.99, this bottle is worth taking a look at! $6.99, buy here

2. Mimijumi.

 

Forget about nipple confusion. If you want the transition to be literally as seamless as possible, the Mimijumi bottle is for you. Not only does the nipple of the bottle visually mimics the color and shape of the breast, it is also similarly textured -- though some claim the nipple to be a bit oversized. This bottle also has different flow rates, allowing baby to latch and control the speed at which he or she is getting the milk. Though Mimijumi comes at a higher price ($25), it is definitely worth every penny if you've had a hard time finding a bottle that your baby accept to drink from. $25, buy here.

3. Baby Brezza.

Do you need a third nipple to give both of yours a break? Look no further, and get daddy to work! Baby Brezza mimics breastfeeding, which means it is great as a transitional bottle and your baby daddy won't have technical difficulties helping you out with the feeding sessions. Baby Brezza is also notable for its low maintenance clean-up (only has two parts to clean) and specialized technology to prevent colic. What's more it comes in a glass version, which is great for those who want to avoid plastic for the healthiest, greenest bottle-feeding experience possible. $8.99, buy here.

4. Kiinde Twist.

Mamas and papas, welcome to the travel system of baby bottles. The Twist is smart and convenient for the parent on the go -- especially the mother who chooses to pump and serve. The bottle system comes with a pumping bag that can attach directly to the bottle. That's right: with Kiinde's Twist, it’s as simple as pumping into the storage bag and placing the it onto the bottle system. What's more, the bottle frame can be used with a variety of select nipples on the market). Finally and since we're all about longevity of the products we buy, the Twist grows with your baby as it allows you to store on-the-go snacks and purees. $11.24 for bottle, $19.99 for pack of 80 bags for $19.99, buy here

5. Philips Avent Natural Bottles.

If you aren’t looking for any fancy footwork, this bottle may be for you.  A classic, the Philip Avent bottle claims to reduce colic, make transition from breast to bottle more smooth, and has various nipple flow rates. With its ergonomic shape, both mom and baby can hold it comfortably. Plus, it is easy to clean and BPA free. At only $14.99 for three bottles, why not give the Avent natural bottles a try? $14.99, buy here

6. Bare bottle.

This is a rare find and technology like no other bottle I have seen. With its syringe-like technology, this bottle acts like a breast as it doesn’t allow any air to enter the nipple system, which in effect reduces colic. The baby is also able to control the flow at which he or she is getting milk, as he has to actively suck on the bottle for the milk to actually come out. With the Bare bottle, you can even feed baby in upright position. $16.99, buy here

7. Mixie bottle.

If you have a formula-fed baby, and your baby’s cries of hunger at night stress you out, this may be the bottle for you. In the Mixie, you have your formula ready to go inside of your bottle, mix it all up and poof, your nighttime time bottle is ready in a jiffy. It's literally fresh formula, whenever and wherever. Be warned though, when you save time to prep, you may spend more time cleaning all the bottle components. But at least, baby should be milk drunk and sound asleep by then. $16.99, buy here

8. iiamo go.

To make your adventures easier, opt for the self-heating bottle, the iiamo Go. It comes with two interchangeable bottoms: a regular one and a heating system that allows you to warm baby's milk on the go, in 4 minutes! No electricity, no cord, no recharging. It's especially useful for the wanderlust family traveling the distance. $35 for a bottle, $13.99, for 5 packs of heating cartridge charge. Buy here

9. Joovy Boob.

This bottle is called "boob" for a reason: it's great to transition from breast to bottle, making the process as natural as possible, and reduces colic with its specialized CleanFlow Vent technology. Available in 5 flow rates, the nipples are molded and baked to strengthen the silicone and help prevent the nipple from collapsing while still providing constant softness -- though some parents have said that the slowest flow is too fast for their baby. $15.99 for two bottles. Buy here

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There are few kids television shows as successful as PAW Patrol. The Spin Masters series has spawned countless toys and clothing deals, a live show and now, a movie.

That's right mama, PAW Patrol is coming to the big screen in 2021.

The big-screen version of PAW Patrol will be made with Nickelodeon Movies and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

"We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and Nickelodeon to bring the PAW Patrol franchise, and the characters that children love, to the big screen," Spin Master Entertainment's Executive Vice President, Jennifer Dodge, announced Friday.

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"This first foray into the arena of feature film marks a significant strategic expansion for Spin Master Entertainment and our properties. This demonstrates our commitment to harnessing our own internal entertainment production teams to develop and deliver IP in a motion picture format and allows us to connect our characters to fans through shared theatrical experiences," Dodge says.

No word on the plot yet, but we're gonna bet there's a problem, 'round Aventure Bay, and Ryder and his team of pups will come and save the day.

We cannot even imagine how excited little PAW Patrol fans will be when this hits theatres in 2021. It's still too early to buy advance tickets but we would if we could!

News

In the middle of that postpartum daze, the sleepless nights, the recovery, the adjustment to a new schedule and learning the cues of a new baby, there are those moments when a new mom might think, I don't know how long I can do this.

Fortunately, right around that time, newborns smile their first real smile.

For many mothers, the experience is heart-melting and soul-lifting. It's a crumb of sustenance to help make it through the next challenges, whether that's sleep training, baby's first cold, or teething. Each time that baby smiles, the mother remembers, I can do this, and it's worth it.

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Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT a NYC-based psychotherapist and author of Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom, says she sees this in her clinical practice.

"One mother I worked with recounted her experience of her baby's first smile. At eight weeks postpartum, exhausted and overwhelmed, she remembered her baby smiling broadly at her just before a nighttime feeding," Kurtz says. "In that moment, she was overcome by tremendous joy and relief, and felt, for the first time, a real connection to her son."

So what is it about a baby's smile that can affect a mother so deeply? Can it all be attributed to those new-mom hormones? Perhaps it stems from the survival instincts that connect an infant with its mother, or the infant learning social cues. Or is there something more going on inside our brains?

In 2008, scientists in Houston, TX published their research on the topic. Their study, "What's in a Smile? Maternal Brain Responses to Infant Facial Cues", takes data from the MRI images of 26 women as they observed images of infants smiling, crying, or with a neutral expression.

The images included the mother's own infant alternated with an unknown infant of similar ethnicity and in similar clothing and position. In each image, the baby displayed a different emotion through one of three facial expressions; happy, neutral, or sad. Researchers monitored the change in the mothers' brain activity through the transitions in images from own-infant to unknown-infant, and from happy to neutral to sad and vice versa.

The results?

"When first-time mothers see their own baby's face, an extensive brain network appears to be activated, wherein affective and cognitive information may be integrated and directed toward motor/behavioral outputs," wrote the study's authors. Seeing her infant smile or cry prompts the areas of the brain that would instigate a mother to act, whether it be to comfort, care for, or caress and play with the baby.

In addition, the authors found that reward-related brain regions are activated specifically in response to happy, but not sad, baby faces. The areas of the brain that lit up in their study are the same areas that release dopamine, the "pleasure chemical." For context, other activities that elicit dopamine surges include eating chocolate, having sex, or doing drugs. So in other words, a baby's smile may be as powerful as those other feel-good experiences.

And this gooey feeling moms may get from seeing their babies smile isn't just a recreational high—it serves a purpose.

This reward system (aka dopaminergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine system) exists to motivate the mother to forge a positive connection with the baby, according to Aurélie Athan, PhD, director of the Reproductive & Maternal Psychology Laboratory (a laboratory that created the first graduate courses of their kind in these subjects).

These networks also promote a mother's ability to share her emotional state with her child, which is the root of empathy. "A mother cries when baby cries, smiles when baby smiles," Athan says.

While there's a physiological explanation underlying that warm-and-fuzzy sensation elicited by a smile, there may be other factors at play too, Kurtz says.

"In my clinical practice, I often observe a stunning exchange between a mother and her baby when the latter smiles at her. A mother who is otherwise engaged in conversation with me may be, for that moment, entirely redirected to focus on her little one," Kurtz says. "This kind of attention-capturing on the part of the baby can enable and cultivate maternal attunement—a mother's ability to more deeply connect with her infant. The quality of attunement in early childhood often sets the stage for one's relationship patterns in the future."

Whether a physiological response, a neural activation, simple instinct, or the tightening of emotional connection, the feeling generated by babies' smiles is a buoy in the choppy ocean of new parenthood.

And while the first smile may be the most magical by virtue of its surprise and the necessity of that emotional lift, the fuzzy feeling can continue well into that baby's childhood and beyond. It keeps telling parents, you've got this!

[This was originally published on Apparently]

Life

Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life
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