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Sleep Some More

NYC's Dream Team Baby helps bring truth to the many sleep myths you'll come across as a new and very tired parent.

Sleep Some More

Parents love to commune over sleep. It's the holy grail of parenthood. Discussed everywhere, sleep deprivation is all consuming, as can be the desire to "fix" it. As you can imagine, there's a lot of information out there on sleep, but so much of it is conflicting. And when you're tired, it's hard to carry on a conversation or measure formula, much less weed through sleep theories. So exhausted parents often resort to gathering tricks here and there. But while one trick -- like sleeping in a swing -- may work for one baby, it’s not going to work for the vast majority. And it may not necessarily be safe, or be good for sleep patterns in the long run. We worked with one mom who was literally sleeping in her toddler's crib with her. A grown woman in a crib. It may have worked for awhile, but clearly that was not a long-term fix to her child's sleep issues.

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Here are 6 sleep myths unveiled. Consider it a gift from us to you.

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"You can sleep train your baby at 6 weeks." False. Six weeks of age is too young to begin a sleep-teaching program or to follow a strict sleep schedule. There's a wide range of what's normal at this age, and most infants still need care around the clock for feeding and soothing. When babies are this young, it's also difficult to distinguish between cries (hunger, pain, tired, frustrated). While a small number of children do start sleeping through the night on their own at six weeks, most aren't able to do so until after four months of age. We recommend waiting until that point before sleep training.

"You can mess up your baby's sleep habits by letting them sleep on you." True and False. You really can't make sleep mistakes the first few months of your baby's life (aside from not following safe sleeping practices). If your newborn cries hysterically from 4 - 7 p.m. unless he’s sleeping on you, hold away. If you can do it safely and it soothes him, there’s nothing that needs to be fixed urgently. However, around four months of age, children are better at self-soothing and cognitively advanced enough to learn more independent sleep skills. So, letting a five-month-old sleep on you, or rocking her to sleep for each nap, can start to form longer lasting negative sleep associations. Children may start to believe they "need" you to fall asleep. Four to six months is a great time to work on phasing out some of these unwanted sleep patterns.

"You should never let your baby sleep overnight in a swing." True. Some supervised swing naps are okay during the day, but it's not safe to let your baby sleep in a swing for extended periods of time -- particularly if he or she is unsupervised. The American Academy of Pediatrics also discourages prolonged swing-sleeping as a baby's body and neck position may increase the risk of SIDS. If swinging is the only sleep trick you have up your sleeve, you can use it to help your child wind down. Just try to transfer him to a safe sleeping space before kinking out. Also experiment with other soothing techniques like a tight swaddle and white noise.

"Never wake a sleeping baby." False. The first few months with a newborn are a transition time for everyone, so don't try to be too rigid or anxious about sleep. Surrender and follow your baby's sleep rhythms the first few months. Make all nighttime interactions very boring while ensuring your daytime is spirited and engaging. This contrast will help your child ease into normal sleep/wake patterns. However, once a child is on a sleep schedule (around the four-month mark), try to stick to those nap times. That could mean waking a baby if a nap goes on too long, like an afternoon nap that is inching up on bedtime.

"You should give your baby a dream feed to make him sleep through the night." False. Dream feeds, essentially "topping off" a baby around 10 or 11 p.m. without fully waking a baby, is not a sleep slam-dunk. In fact, this trick can be counterproductive for children with gastrointestinal sensitives. Feeding fires up the digestive system, which can exacerbate reflux and other painful digestive issues. However, as it pertains to sleep the first few months, we always say if it isn't broken, don't fix it. If dream feeds are extending your child's nighttime sleep (and therefore improving YOUR nighttime sleep), go for it. But remember, after four months of age it's possible to move all of your child's feedings to the daytime, eliminating nighttime eating entirely.

"Keep your baby up all day. He'll sleep better at night." False. When children become overtired their bodies go into overdrive and produce a stress hormone called cortisol. The affect is similar to giving your baby a shot of espresso. Overtired babies can be hyperactive and often have a harder time settling down into deeper stages of sleep. Children sleep best when they have a predictable daytime napping schedule and a consistent bedtime, ideally somewhere between 6 - 8 p.m.

Visit Dream Team Baby here.

Photography by Kristy May Photography. And yes! That's Jessica's beautiful Elsie.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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