The good side of social media: Posting a photo a day can make you happier

You know the old adage: A picture is worth a 1,000 words. But did you know it's also worth a boost in personal happiness? That's according to new research that suggests taking and posting a photo each day to social media can improve your well-being.

A new study published in the journal Health found that people who share a photo a day, such as the millions of Instagram users taking part in the #365 challenge, experience overall better moods. So all those #momlife pics you're snapping with your kids could be boosting your mood.

Researchers from Lancaster University and the University of Sheffield discovered that taking and posting a daily photo provided social media users with a means for self-care, interaction with a like-minded community, and an opportunity to remember good times. It also gave users the chance to explore and become aware of the world around them, according to the study.


"My job was a very highly stressful role," one person surveyed says. "There were some days when I'd almost not stopped to breathe, you know what I mean… And just the thought, 'Oh wait a moment, no. I'll stop and take a photograph of this insect sitting on my computer or something. Just taking a moment is very salutary, I think."

For mamas who've spent the day chasing toddlers, loading laundry, and dealing with all the other chaos of the day-to-day parenting, taking a moment to capture one of the more beautiful moments of parenting is worth it—actually, it might not even have to be a beautiful pic to have mood-boosting power. Another respondent adds, "It could be a rubbish photograph but if somebody commented on it, it made it worthwhile."

But social media does have its downsides, too. Previous research has shown that using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other similar platforms can also have a negative impact on your well-being, self-esteem, confidence and sense of self, especially for people who compare their lives to those of others.

For example, an American Journal of Preventive Medicine study published in July found that millennials who use social media often are twice as likely to report feeling socially isolated, and another published in 2012 by the Gothenburg Research Institute, discovered that women, in particular, who use Facebook tended to feel less confident and happy. Research published in PLOS One a year later showed that the more time people spent scrolling through Facebook, the worse they felt later on.

Still, it's worth noting that the Lancaster University study isn't the only one to suggest social media has its benefits. A pair of marketing researchers asserted in a 2012 paper that online platforms can give people a place to express their feelings, receive support and recover from pain and trauma.

In the end, social media is a gift and a curse. As the Lancaster University study shows, platforms like Instagram can help mamas feel connected and closer to other people when they're stuck inside of the house, cleaning up vomit stains and spilled bottles of milk. At the same time, when you're endlessly scrolling through posts late at night, or comparing yourself to other users who have vastly different lives than your own, social media can spoil your mood—and your self-esteem.

Mamas, when using social media, remember to be mindful of the pitfalls and, instead, celebrate the positive aspects it brings to your lives. How can you do that? By focusing on making content rather than being consumed by it. After all, there's nothing better than unleashing your creativity—even if it's just taking a photo of a clear blue sky or your baby's cute little shoes—and having that to look back on.

As one study participant put it: "[If] I'm ever feeling down or something, it's nice to be able to scroll back and see good memories."

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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.


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!


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.


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. 🙌


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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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Parents knowingly sent COVID-positive kids to school—and that's a sign society is failing families

Parents shouldn't feel as though they have no other choice.

Parents across the nation are adjusting to school being back in session during a pandemic. From converting dining rooms into virtual classrooms to totally derailing their careers, parents are finding ways to make it through this unprecedented crisis.

It turns out that there is yet another challenge to overcome: parents knowingly sending their COVID-19 positive children to school. Yes, it happened in Wisconsin this week.

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