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Made in the shade: 9 easy beach tents your whole family will love ⛱

It's beach season, mamas! ⛱️🌊 Hooray for sand under your toes, crashing waves, hunting for shells, and of course a juicy beach read.

Nothing ruins a good beach day like a sunburn, though. And when you're taking little ones to the beach, you'll need to use lots of sunscreen and be extra careful to keep them protected from the sun whenever possible with a cool, shady spot to relax. But type "best beach tent" into Amazon and you get...19 pages of results 🤦♀️ And don't even get us started about how complicated setup can be. (RIP beach tent of 2016 that my husband threw straight across the sand and nearly got us divorced...)

So what's a shade-seeking mama to do?

We've done the research so you don't have to and picked the nine best beach tents that are lightweight, provide great shade, and, best of all, easy to set up. (We promise!)


1. Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent

With over 2,700 reviews on Amazon and a nearly 5-star rating, this beach tent is the best of the best. It's the fastest + easiest option that we've come across to set up and take down. Its roomy interior offers fantastic UPF 50+ sun protection, and it weights only 4.5 lbs and folds down to a convenient carrying size. It even comes with a carrying case, sand pockets + stakes for extra stabilization, and a one-year warranty.

$69.99

2. Monobeach Baby Beach Tent + Pool

This baby beach tent comes with its very own built-in pool—need we say more?! It pops up automatically, making setup a breeze, and provides great sun protection for your little one with the added bonus of her very own place to cool down and splash. It comes in a 21" transport bag and works best for children under 3 years old.

$33.99

3. iCorer Automatic Pop Up Beach Tent

This self-expanding tent is perfect for setting up a shady spot for little ones to play + relax. It's only 2.2 lbs and folds down easily, so it's perfect to stash in your beach bag before you head out for the day. It folds back up quickly, as well, so you won't have to worry about fumbling with it while you're trying to get your family home for the day.

$30.99

4. Sport-Brella X-Large Umbrella

If you're looking a tent and a beach umbrella all in one, this XL option is the way to go. It features a 9-foot UPF 50+ canopy that's supported by steel ribs and wind gust relief vents, so it's sure to withstand gusty days on the beach. We also love the extra details like oversized storage pockets and side flaps for full sun protection. It does weigh a bit more than the beach tents on our list, but at 11 lbs., we didn't find it to be a challenge to carry.

$48.99

5. Arcshell Premium Extra Large Pop Up Beach Tent

Looking for a beach tent that will fit the whole fam? It only weights 6.5 lbs., but this huge tent will provide all the shade you need for a cool day at the beach. It can handle winds up to 25 MPH and takes about 60 seconds to put up—there are even color coded indicators to help guide you.

$59.99

6. Schylling UV Play Shade

We love this extremely portable, easy set-up play tent for a cool spot for babies + toddlers to catch some shade. It fits easily into the included travel bag, and its pop up design makes setup quick + easy as well. It even comes with tie down pegs and sand pockets for those windy beach days.

$47.00

7. Alvantor Beach Tent

The clean, simple design and extra-large mesh window make this beach tent one of our faves. (The fact that it weighs only 2.5 lbs helps, too!) We love the simple setup and take down, portable travel bag, and great sun protection.

$42.99

8. Lightspeed Outdoors Sun Shelter with Clip-Up Privacy Feature

Operated by an easy-to-use side-pull hub system, this is one of the best beach tents we've tried in terms of setup. It features three windows for awesome ventilation, and an overhang canopy that creates a "porch" for even more shaded area. You can even clip up the front porch for privacy, making it the perfect spot for breastfeeding or your little one's nap.

$79.99

9. Zomake Pop Up Tent

Last but certainly not least, this four-person pop-up tent makes a great beach shelter and can even be used for camping in clear weather. It features easy setup, two doors + two windows for ventilation, and folds down to an easy-carry 31" diameter ring weighing in at only 5 lbs.

$62.99

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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