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Morning Musings with Danielle Colding

We partnered with Skip Hop to show you how a few smart pieces of gear can make a big impact on your day with baby.

There’s nothing like a new baby to change up your morning routine. What may have once been a quiet, seamless string of events that took you from bed to breakfast to outward-bound has now become an intricate puzzle of feeding, cleaning and getting ready for the day. It’s chaotic. And messy. Yet mind-blowingly beautiful. Even when it doesn’t feel that way.

New mama and interior designer Danielle Colding knows this feeling well. She’s balancing a 4-month-old baby girl with intricate design projects ranging from an upstate New York residence to a Brooklyn apartment building lobby, a brownstone gut renovation to a pretty powder room redux.

This small business owner’s mornings have changed since her daughter arrived -- instead of rushing off to an office, she’s been home with the baby, fitting in work during naps, playtime and after baby’s down for the night at 7:30pm. “I now have to fit in work when the baby is napping or playing on her own,” she says. “But creatively, I feel inspired to create in a different way. I want to make the world a more beautiful place for her.”

Danielle recently invited us into her Bed-Stuy home to meet little Anais, and shows us how she makes it up and out of the house each day.

5:30-6am: Anais wakes up. I pull her into bed with me and she nurses while I dose. After nursing, she usually lays next to me chatting, playing, and rolling around. We cuddle and talk and—more often than not—wind up falling to sleep again together.

Morning has become the most incredible time of day for me. She wakes up happy EVERY SINGLE DAY. She smiles and chats the morning away, and it is truly a thing of beauty to behold. It's incredible to witness someone who meets each day with such unbound optimism. Waking up with her has put everything in perspective in a whole new way. The small stuff just doesn't seem that important, and the big stuff seems somehow manageable.

9am: We officially wake up and nurse again. Then we get out of my bed and do our rounds of opening the shutters and shades and saying "Bonjour" to the world. We then go into the nursery where I dress her. Then Anais either plays in her Skip Hop bouncer — catching that flower is her main obsession — or on her playmat. She is able to play alone during this time so I can actually get washed-up and ready myself.

My mornings have had to slow way down. It used to be that I would jump right into work. Now, we have a routine. We spend time together. I try not to be distracted by my phone when I'm with her. So in a very real way, I start my work day much later. The plus is that when I work, I am very focused because I know the time that I have is limited. And in truth, I can't wait to get back to spending time with my daughter.

9:30am: We go downstairs. I put her in her Skip Hop activity table during kitchen time, so that I can get myself a smoothie or some yogurt and granola. We listen to music together during this time, while she plays and jumps and talks, and I go about starting my day.

The “mommy brain” thing is absolutely true. I used to remember everything. Now I must write things down because thoughts go in and out of my head more rapidly. It’s required an adjustment, for sure.

11am: She goes down for a nap and I am able to start the process of working in earnest. When she wakes up, we start the whole process again. Eat, activity, sleep and mama works.

I know our routine will eventually evolve out of necessity. We will soon have real schedules to contend with. So, our time chatting in bed will have to be cut short. The thing I don't want to ever change is that we carve out time just to be together. I want to take that with us and greet every day as she does with an exuberant smile.

Our morning chats are my very favorite part of the morning. To see how her mind works. To experience how alert she is and how connected we are. I hope that never changes. She is such a communicator. I will never forget this time. Never.

Find out more about Skip Hop’s new Uplift Baby Bouncer, activity center and Highline diaper bag (pictured above), over on www.skiphop.com.

Photography by Jonica Moore Studio for Well Rounded NY.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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