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The Best Travel Cribs of 2017

The lightest, fastest-folding, most portable travel cribs of the year.

The Best Travel Cribs of 2017

Whether it’s for indoor play, outdoor adventuring or just a safe space to place your sleeping babe, travel cribs have a multitude of purposes. Each travel crib on the market offers something a little different, so we’ve broken it down to help you find the travel crib that’s perfect for your family. Here are eight of the most popular travel cribs out there: The Lightest — Phil & Ted’s Traveller If it’s a lightweight travel crib you’re looking for, no other crib compares to the Phil & Ted’s Traveller. At only 6 lbs., this crib brings portability to a whole new level. Not only light, it’s also super compact. A zipped side wall can be opened during playtime and closed back up when it’s time for baby to rest. The set up takes a quite a bit longer than many of the other travel cribs on our list, but that aside, it’s perfect for jet setting families. The Easiest — 4MOM Breeze Go The latest generation of the 4Moms travel crib is everything you’d expect from this innovative brand. A simplified version of the classic Breeze playard, the Breeze Go makes traveling easy with the same effortless one-push open, one-pull close technology. You literally need one hand to set it up! But unlike its predecessor, the GO does not include a bassinet, which makes it more compact and portable -- perfect to tote around your home and to take along on road trips or at grandma's house. The Multitasking — Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Jetsetter Graco's Pack n’ Play cribs are known for having all the bells and whistles and the Playard Jetsetter is no exception. An easy fold, lighter frame and convenient travel bag that can be worn as a backpack are just the start of what you get with this multitasking travel crib. The Pack n’ Play Playard Jetsetter also includes a bassinet with built-in vibration and a mesh domed canopy, perfect for outdoor napping. And as if that wasn’t enough, this crib also comes with a portable changing pad that quickly snaps off for convenient diaper changes anywhere. The Smallest, Fastest Fold — Nuna Sena Mini The Nuna Sena Mini has the smallest footprint of the traditional travel cribs on the current market. This crib is brimming with innovative features including a one-handed fold that also collapses the included bassinet. It’s a fully breathable crib made with advanced air design which means even the mattress is made from all mesh material. Another unique feature is the included organic mattress sheet, so there’s no need for any additional purchases. Stylish — Babybjorn Travel Crib Light The sleekest of the group is the Travel Crib Light from BabyBjorn. The streamlined design makes it easy on the eyes, but this crib is so much more than it’s aesthetics. The Travel Crib Light is equipped with a simple open and fold mechanism and weighs in at only 13 pounds (including the carrying case). Mesh walls provide a breathable space for baby to sleep and play while also allowing you to keep an eye on your little one. Effortless setup and break down makes this travel crib perfect for playtime at home or on the go. Non-Toxic and Green — Guava Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib Guava Family’s Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib truly lives up to its name. Similar to some of the other cribs in our roundup, it’s lightweight, folds with ease and packs into a backpack style carrier--all the features ideal for travel. But what sets the Lotus apart from the rest is its eco-friendly design. The only travel crib to be certified to the Greenguard Gold standard, it is free of flame retardants, PVC, phthalates, lead, and more. Additionally, it’s completely breathable, making it one of the safest places for your baby to snooze while on the go. Older Kids - KidCo PeaPod Plus Most travel cribs only accommodate children up to three years old, but if you’re looking for a larger solution you’re in luck. The PeaPod Plus from KidCo is suitable for children one to five years old. More of a tent design than a crib, it provides a safe and comfortable sleeping environment for children who have outgrown a traditional travel crib. Using the PeaPod is effortless. There’s no set up--it simply pops open into place, weighs just under 4 pounds and has a small, circular fold, making it an ultra-portable solution for most families.

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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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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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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