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What all parents need to know about ocean safety for their kids

So your family can live that #beachlife.

beach safety

The best part of summer is living that #beachlife and this year many parents are looking forward to enjoying the beach while abiding by local health authorities' social distancing guidelines.

It's a great bonding experience for families and our kids can end up with happy memories that will last a lifetime. But even if there are no people coming close enough to make COVID-19 a concern, a day at the beach does come with its fair share of hazards including jellyfish, riptides and sunburns.

Beach injuries are more common than you might think, but the following safety tips can help reduce the risk of a hospital visit.


Life jackets for little ones

According to the Red Cross, water safety at the beach is a bit different than pool safety, as "even in shallow water, wave action can cause a loss of footing." That's why the organization recommends young children wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and the around water.

Open water, the ocean especially, can be unpredictable, so keeping little ones in their life jackets adds a layer of protection should a wave suddenly overtake your sandcastle.

Teach kids to face the water

Waves can knock kids (especially the smaller ones) over if they're not careful, but if they see them coming, they have a better chance to staying standing. Teach kids to stand with their back to the beach and face toward the ocean so waves don't surprise them.

Don't let kids bury their feet in the sand

It may seem fun to wiggle your feet down into wet, underwater sand, but those who research beach injuries say this kind of play puts kids in danger of sprains and even worse injuries, because wet sand can trap a child's foot. If they're caught off guard by a wave when they can't move, they can go down very hard.

"They are getting injured in 6 inches of water," Dr. Paul Cowan, an emergency medical specialist told Delaware Online. According to Cowan, who researches beach injury rates, kids under 16 are the most at risk for getting hurt at the beach, and while it may seem like they're safer wading than swimming, the closer they are to the shore, the higher the risks actually are.

Cowan calls the area between dry land and where the waves are breaking the "surf-zone." It is thought that in this area, a wave withdrawing back into the ocean can erode the sand beneath a persons feet. Once a wader is destabilized, another wave may knock them over. Although the water may only be knee-deep, the wader is injured when they hit the hard, sandy bottom.

That's why parents should always be supervising play and monitoring the water conditions.

Mind the jellyfish

SpongeBob Squarepants loves to chase jellyfish, but our kids shouldn't. Jellyfish stings, well, sting, as many beachgoers know. Some 800 people were stung by jellyfish along Florida beaches in just three days this month. Many public beaches have warning systems in place when jellyfish are present in high numbers. Purple flags typically denote "dangerous marine life" so if a purple flag is flying, you might want to go to the park instead of the beach.

If you don't see purple flags but still end up with a jellyfish sting on your body or your child's, seek medical attention. Lifeguards are pros at first aid for jellyfish injuries and can advise if you or your kiddo need further treatment off-beach.

Be aware of rip currents

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, everybody who goes to the beach needs to know about rip currents, as these "powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore [can] quickly pull swimmers out to sea".

Rip currents account for more than 80% of lifeguard rescues, so the NOAA recommends parents check local beach forecasts before packing the kids in the car. When you get to the beach, set up as close as possible to the lifeguards, and if you're unsure about the water's conditions, ask the lifeguard before letting the kids swim.

Don't forget sun safety

The bodies of babies and young kids can't adjust to heat as well as our own, so they're at a greater risk for heat-related illness. According to the American Pediatric Association, "babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct and indirect sunlight because of the risk of heat stroke. Particularly, avoid having a baby out between 10 a.m and 2 p.m. when the sun's rays are strongest."

If you've got a young baby, try to plan beach activities at a time when the sun's rays won't be at full power. Bringing your own shade in the form of a beach tent or umbrella can help, and so can frequent feedings of breastmilk or formula for babies and sips of water for toddlers and older kids.

Sunscreen is important for babies and older kids, the AAP notes, so apply it 15 to 30 minutes before going out, and reapply every two hours. No sunscreen is truly waterproof (even though some may claim to be) so always do a reapplication on the kids after water play.

[This post was originally published June 14, 2018. It has been updated.]

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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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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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