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The powerful way eye contact helps you communicate with your baby

The connection you create with your baby when you make eye contact is far stronger than we ever imagined.

The powerful way eye contact helps you communicate with your baby

Looking into your baby's eyes. It's one of the sweetest things a new parent can do—and one of the most powerful ways a parent can connect with their baby.

After all, newborns can't speak or even socially smile in those early days but, according to a study, they can certainly communicate with you via those sweet little glances. And the connection that's forged when you make eye contact with your baby is far stronger than we ever imagined.

According to researchers from the University of Cambridge and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, eye contact between a baby and adult causes both parties brain waves to fall into sync. How amazing is that?

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And it gets even better: The researchers also believe this mental sync may be the first step towards improved communication between parent and child in adulthood.

Here's how the research team came to this finding. They observed 17 8-month-old babies by utilizing EEG caps, which cover a child's head in electrodes so brain activity can be monitored. The babies then watched videos featuring adults singing nursery rhymes. Some videos featured the adults singing while looking straight at the baby, while others featured the adult looking at the baby with their head turned to a 20-degree angle or looking away from the baby entirely.

They observed this link without the videos as well. The researcher also sat with a group of babies while both adults and infants wore EEG caps to capture glimpses of their brain activities. In both cases, the brain waves between babies and adults synced up when direct eye contact was made. When eyes wandered, this connection seemed to weaken.

The idea that your brain activity and your baby's can actually mirror one another is just mind-blowing (no pun intended!). The research suggests that there's a sort of meeting halfway at work here: Babies' brains adjust to become more like the adults', and vice versa. The researchers believe this phenomenon gives us some greater insight into babies and their abilities to connect with their caregivers.

Researchers aren't quite sure what force is behind this connection, but they also believe that when eye contact is made, babies become more motivated to vocalize as well.

"When the adult and infant are looking at each other, they are signaling their availability and intention to communicate with each other," researcher Victoria Leong says in a news release. "We found that both adult and infant brains respond to a gaze signal by becoming more in sync with their partner. This mechanism could prepare parents and babies to communicate, by synchronising when to speak and when to listen, which would also make learning more effective."

This connection may pay off down the line in really amazing ways. According to ScienceNews, previous research has indicated that when groups of people's brain waves sync up, engagement can increase—and on the flip side, when people reach mutual understandings, their brain waves appear to resemble one another as well. With all that in mind, it stands to reason that this powerful baby/adult connection could pave the way for strong lifelong communication.

As mamas, we know that those still, simple moments with our babies are some of the sweetest. Just snuggling and looking into each other's eyes can feel so powerful. Even if no words are exchanged, that bond you're creating just feels overwhelmingly real. And if this research is any indication, it isn't just in our imaginations: Those sweet moments are actually bringing us and our babies closer in ways that will continue to fuel the parent/child relationship down the line.

So remember: Those times you opted to neglect the laundry or the dishes in favor of just looking at the miracle you created? Those moments were more powerful than you even realized, mama.

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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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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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Every parent can relate to these funny tweets about the presidential debate

If you've refereed siblings you can relate to Chris Wallace.

Wendi Aarons/Screenshot

The first presidential debate was painful to watch for many reasons. The sitting president of the United States failed to condemn white supremacy when asked, and while both President Trump and Joe Biden spoke nearly constantly, they didn't say much of value.

It was disappointing for stressed parents who would have rather heard more about policy and the future of America instead of watching two men interrupt and insult each other.

The candidates spent a significant amount of time talking over each other, asking the other to shut up and deflecting questions from moderator Chris Wallace, whose position was instantly relatable to any parent who has had to ask their children to stop squabbling at the dinner table.

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These viral tweets sum up the debate perfectly:

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