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Why Knock-off Baby Gear is Dangerous

5 reasons you should steer clear of those non-brand names.

Why Knock-off Baby Gear is Dangerous
*We’ve partnered with Crane to help you avoid baby gear knockoffs. There are some things you can totally go generic on. Your cereal. A bag of chips. Maybe even your nail polish if you get lucky. But when it comes to gear for your baby -- items you need to trust, things you want to last -- there are so many reasons to stick with the real deal. From quality to safety, you can actually lose so much when you pass up a name brand. Your baby gear is NOT the place to take that gamble. To help explain why, we partnered with Crane, whose innovative Drop humidifier is often imitated but never quite duplicated. Here are 5 reasons to avoid knock-off baby gear. 1. You want your baby gear to be safe. You get what you pay for when you buy a knockoff. Real brands go beyond the basics and think through every safety angle since they’ve got a reputation to uphold. Crane, for example, includes an automatic shut off on their humidifiers when the tank is empty to help eliminate the risk of a fire hazard…or worse. Keep an eye out for corner-cutting on look-alikes. 2. You need a warranty you can trust. If something breaks on an item from a trusted baby brand, chances are your manufacturer’s warranty will get you a replacement…and possibly even a new product altogether. If something breaks on your knockoff gear? Well there’s no guarantee you can do anything about it. Don’t bet on a brand that sees your baby as a dollar sign. They might not be around when the going gets tough. 3. Customer service is clutch. Major baby gear brands like Crane have incredible in-house customer care; you can call or email and ask questions about any of their products, and reliable team members will help you out -- from troubleshooting to picking the right essential oil diffuser for your home. Good luck getting anyone on the line for that knockoff diffuser you just ordered from China. 4. We’re all about accountability. We’ve all ordered the cutest little romper on Amazon because it was only $7, but then it arrived three months later and the fabric was all scratchy, and do you know how much it costs to send a romper to Bangladesh? Trusted baby brands know they can’t pull that BS because bad reviews will destroy their brand credibility -- and their business. 5. And then there’s that performance thing. There’s a reason people pay up for brand names. Their products work! Established companies invest in product development and are introducing innovative updates all the time -- Crane’s humidifiers use clean control antimicrobial material in the base to help reduce mold and bacteria growth up to 99.96% -- and they don’t even require a filter! Knock offs are all about copying the look, without the substance.

Crane Drop Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, $54.99

Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Soothing Aroma Diffuser, $49.99

Crane Adorable Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier - Fox, $49.99

I'm a mom of three under 3 so a lot of my time the last couple of years has been spent feeding babies. I started this journey of motherhood convinced that I was going to feed my babies from my chest, but they all had different plans and I had to learn to quickly adapt. So I became an exclusive pumper to provide my babies with as much of my breast milk I could give them.

In these last three years, I've tested almost every single breast pump in the market. I needed to know what pump was best for my needs as a working mom, someone who travels a lot and juggles many kids. I've pumped at home, in the car, on airplanes, at restaurants; whatever place you can think of, I've pumped there.

Yet somehow, I had never used a Medela pump, (mostly because I didn't want an open-system pump, especially after having twins since it meant an extra step and item to clean) except for during my brief hospital stays while recovering from C-sections. After both of my births, my milk took a long time to come in so the nurses suggested I pump to see if I could get some colostrum to feed my babies and help things happen a little faster.

So when I was given the chance to test Medela's new Pump In Style with MaxFlow breast pump, I was super excited—after all, it's a brand moms love, trust and rely on.

Spoiler: I was obsessed. Here's some of my favorite features:

It's super compact.

I was pleasantly surprised when I first opened the box and found a super compact and light pump. Unlike the pluggable pump I used the first time around with my son, this one was small enough to fit in my pumping caddy without the risk of falling out. It comes with a small fabric tab that makes it easy to carry around when needed.

It's super powerful without being uncomfortable.

As soon as I started my first pumping session, I realized that its compact size didn't mean it lacked power. It is mighty. In a few minutes, my pumping bottles were full of milk and needed to be replaced by new ones. But what is more important to me, is that my nipples were so comfortable, which meant I could pump for the 30 minutes the session lasts without any discomfort. I especially liked that the rim of the breast shields is soft, which meant my boobs were also super comfortable while I pumped, and even allowed me to massage closer to the pump to make sure all my milk was coming out. These breast shields are unique to the Medela pump—the oval shaped shields features an 105 degree angle that better fits the breast, allowing milk to flow more freely.

It's a closed system.

The tubes never come into contact with milk, which makes cleaning so much easier since I focus on the bottles and flanges only. It's also so easy to set up the first time, I didn't even need to read the instructions because it's all pretty straightforward and intuitive. Also, the tubes don't tangle; they stay connected to both the bottles and the pump, so there's no readjusting needed to be done mid-session.

It can be used on the go.

This is something that I look for in all my pumps, the ability to move around, because I'm always multitasking. This pump comes with a battery pack that allows you to do just that. It also comes with a bag and ice packs for you to store everything you need while you are out and about with or without your little one.

It increased my milk supply.

I started testing this pump when I was ready to drop a pump a day to have some more free time to do other things around the house. I had been afraid of dropping a session because I didn't want to see a decrease in milk production by doing so. This pump allowed me to maintain the same amount of ounces pumped with one less session, which is literally everything I wanted. This can be credited to the MaxFlow Technology, the first-of-its-kind in the market, the way it works is that it generates a vacuum with micro-vibrations to get more milk, faster, making the process of emptying my breasts much more optimized.

After using it for weeks, I now get why so many moms trust and love Medela pumps. This pump was designed with the pumping mom in mind, and that's why I'm excited to make it my top pump in my roster.

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

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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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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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