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These 9 products will help you sleep better during pregnancy, mama 😴

Get ready for some much needed zzz's.

pregnancy pillow

Getting quality sleep is *so* needed, especially while you're pregnant. I mean, after all you are growing an entire new human inside your body and that is exhausting by itself. However, with a growing belly, pee breaks through the night, and all the other discomforts pregnancy brings, sometimes it's hard to catch some good zzz's.

My husband calls me an expert sleeper—I can sleep anywhere, at any time, without any problem—but even I have issues with sleep when I'm pregnant.

So here are some awesome products that will help you get some rest mama, because you deserve it:

1. A weighted blanket

If you haven't heard about these before, let me tell you they are a game changer. You need to choose the weight of them based on your pre-pregnancy weight—it's recommended to go with whichever is closest to 10% of your body weight. They also keep your body temperature at a comfortable level. Plus, you can totally machine wash it!

It takes a little bit of adjustment at first, especially if you are sharing it with your partner, but I've had fewer restless nights since getting one of these.

$42

2. An ergonomic sleep mask

I didn't understand the whole thing about sleep masks until I was a couple of days postpartum with my first baby and I just couldn't fall asleep despite being exhausted. My husband offered me his sleep mask and even though our room was pitch dark it made me finally fall asleep. Since then, I've been a fan and have one handy in the bedroom and also ready to go with me on trips (you never know what the shade situation is going to be like!) They are also great for when you head to the hospital to give birth—if you have a long labor, you might have time to get a little rest.

I like the ergonomic version better because they *really* cut off the light.

$15.99

3. A pregnancy pillow

I sleep on my belly so sleeping on my side is really hard for me during pregnancy. I start on the left side and the as soon as I fall asleep, my body flops and I'm face down on my pillow. I invested in a pregnancy pillow because it's impossible to sleep on your belly once you have a bump and laying in my normal position was giving me terrible back pain. This pillow lets me rest comfortably on my side—I hug it with one leg to sleep. You'll have to ask your partner for a little bit more space in the bed, but hey, you count for two right?

$79.99

4. A white noise machine

I didn't knew these things existed until we had to buy one for our newborn because he was not a fan of the white noise our Alexa made. Since he was sharing a room with us, I would listen to the 'shhhhh' noise all night long, but I didn't notice it was helping me sleep better as well until we moved him out of the room. Shortly after, I bought one for our room as well because it makes everything just a little more peaceful.

$44.95

5. A mini fan

Look, when you are pregnant (and during the first weeks of postpartum) you'll be HOT. Like, sweating all the time hot. My husband initially got this fan for him but I quickly stole it and made sure it's always on at night blowing some fresh air directly onto me. If you don't want to commit to a full white noise machine, this fan can also provide a soothing sound to help you to sleep.

$37.99

6. Maternity PJs

I will admit that this was not an obvious purchase for me at first. My naive first-time mom self thought I would be able to cruise through pregnancy wearing by regular pajamas. Boy, was I wrong! I highly recommend this pair because you can wear them after baby arrives for easy breastfeeding or pumping access.

$29.99

7. A buckwheat pillow

Yes, this pillow is actually made of buckwheat! The benefits of it are excellent for expecting mamas: It's cooling and it helps your head and neck to be in a more natural position, alleviating headaches and neck pain. It feels like a regular pillow and fits regular pillowcases so you can start snoozing as soon as you get it!

$109

8. An essential oil diffuser

You can set the ~mood~ in your room for better sleep with some basic essential oils, like lavender. This diffuser will make sure your entire room smells lovely and won't interfere with your sleep at all as it's super quiet. You can even use it as a night-light if you need one for your middle-of-the-night pee breaks.

$30.95

9. A nasal wash

You probably think this is a weird one to include here but hear me out: Pregnancy made me congested, congestion causes poor breathing and snoring, both of those cause bad sleep. This is a pregnancy-safe alternative for stuffed noses —whether due to a cold or just hormones—that is easy to use.

$12.95

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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