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Jenna Bush Hagar's touching letter to her grandmother has us in tears 😭

For many families, grandmothers are the planet everyone else revolves around. They're the ones who bring us together, the ones who hold our family history and show us how the impact of motherhood extends far beyond the babies in our arms.


Losing a grandmother can be incredibly hard, as mom-of-two Jenna Bush Hager recently experienced when her own grandmother, Barbara Bush, passed away at 92 years old.

The Today correspondent penned a letter to her late grandmother, which she read on air while updating America on how former President George H.W. Bush is dealing with the loss of his wife of 73 years.

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"You are our family's rock, the glue that held us together," she read, a statement so many grieving granddaughters can relate to. "We called you the enforcer. It was because you were a force and you wrote the rules. Your rules were simple: treat everyone equally, don't look down on anyone, use your voices for good, read all the great books."

Bush Hager recalls a moment that many of us have had with our own grandmothers: A scolding that changed how she saw the world, and how she moves within in.

"I will never forget when Barbara and I as 7-year-olds snuck to the [White House] bowling alley and ordered presidential peanut butter sandwiches. We couldn't wait for someone to deliver what was sure to be the fanciest sandwich of our lives when you opened the door, scolding us, telling us under no circumstances could we order food in the White House again, this was not a hotel. You taught us humility and grace."

Recalling more recent moments with the woman she called 'Ganny,' Bush Hager describes a matriarch who loved spending time with all 17 of her raucous grandchildren, even when they jumped over her in the swimming pool or created a soapy mess in the hot tub.

For Bush Hager, letters like the one she read on television are an important part of her grandmother's legacy. She plans to pass down the love letters her grandmother exchanged with former President George H.W. Bush to her own daughters, so that they can someday understand the love the planted the roots their family grew from.

A different kind of love letter, a recent email between grandmother and granddaughter, is also an important part of the story Bush Hager will pass on. "The subject line read: YOU. In the body of the email you wrote: 'I am watching you. I love you. Ganny.' Well, Ganny we have spent our lives watching you. Your words inspired us, your actions an example to follow."

The world will remember Barbara Bush as a First Lady, an advocate for literacy and those living with HIV, and an icon, but to her granddaughter, she was just Ganny.

For those who have lost their own Ganny, Nana, Granny or Grandma, Bush Hager's letter highlights an essential truth: We may be mothers ourselves now, but we will always be your granddaughters. And we will always remember you.

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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.

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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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

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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

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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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