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I’ve had 3 babies in 3 years and these 8 products made life so much easier

Trust me, you're gonna want to buy these.

best products for kids and babies

I spend a lot of time looking at new baby products—researching, finding alternatives, learning about brands—not just for work as a Shop Editor, but also for fun. As a mom of three under 3, I want to know everything there is to know about whatever I buy for my kids.

When I find something I love, I recommend it to anyone who will listen. I'm committed to making parent's lives everywhere easier, more stylish, and overall happier. I also feel like everything around us has evolved so much, so I'm all for new technology in baby gear mixed with the old school knowledge of all the moms that came before me.

The Motherly Shop is also on a mission to make mamas' lives easier. It's stocked with tried-and-true products you need and want. Here are some of my favorites:


Dohm sound machine

YOGASLEEP  Dohm Connect Sound Machine

This sound machine is a cult classic for a reason: it works. We have four of them and take them everywhere we go because without it our children (and sometimes even ourselves) can't sleep deeply enough.

I love it because the sound is a natural fan, not an electronically created sound of something else. It's soothing and constant. The downside is that it's not battery operated, so you need a backup when the power is down.

$70

Baby Tula carrier

BABY TULA  Explore Carrier

I wasn't planning on babywearing when I had my first, but when I discovered the freedom of naps on the go, it totally became our thing. I wore him up until I got pregnant with my twins and only stopped for medical reasons. Now that they're here, I'm back to babywearing all the time. It's proved to be absolutely necessary because they both suffered from reflux and holding them upright was the only thing that seemed to help them.

The Baby Tula carrier can be used for newborn up to 3 years, and it allows me to wear them on my front or back, as well as inward and outward-facing. It's also easy to adjust, which makes passing it back and forth with my husband no problem.

$179

MontiKids activity gym

MONTIKIDS  Montessori Activity Gym

This MontiKids activity gym is a family favorite. I've tried every single activity gym you can imagine—the ones with light-up toys, the ones you can fold and throw under a couch, the ones with all the bells and whistles, the ones that promise to keep your babies entertained for hours—and honestly this is the only one both my kids and I loved.

It's simple, it's Montessori, and most importantly, my babies love it. It comes with a ton of toys, online Montessori instruction and is designed to evolve as your baby develops new skills. Plus, you can turn it into a teepee once they are not babies anymore. The sleek design won't clash with your furniture or scream BABY at you.

$297

Slumberkins Hammerhead

SLUMBERKINS  Hammerhead Snuggler

These snuggly friends are not only super soft and cute, but they all come with a book and a message behind it. It has helped my toddler express his feelings (especially now that things have changed drastically in his life) while also being a comforting friend at bed time. I love, love, love all their characters. Best of all, they are machine washable so it makes cleaning them a cinch.

$44

Lovevery block set 

LOVEVERY  The Block Set

This block set is an amazing way to let your kid's imagination run wild, while also being cute and practical. The set is intended for kids 18 months to 4 years old and it can be anything they want it to be. They can build towers, houses for the little people that come with it, turn the box into a car and take the whole set for a spin around the house.

We are huge fans of this brand at home because all their toys have kept our children engaged while helping them develop the skills they need to reach their next milestone.

$90

Yumi food

YUMI  Intro to Solids Deluxe Kit

I don't know how to cook, so this meal service has been truly a lifesaver for my children (seriously, no one wants to eat anything I attempt to put together). Regardless of your culinary skills, YUMI is an excellent option for those kids already experimenting with solids because every little tub is packed with the nutrients they need, giving you peace of mind that they are getting the best food ever.

$249

Mushie silicone bibs

MUSHIE  Silicone Baby Bib

Ready to hold any messes, these Mushie silicone bibs are both ready for any messy eater while also looking pretty darn cute. Made of BPA-free food grade silicone, the deep pocket catches whatever misses their mouths and when mealtime is over, you can toss them in the dishwasher.

$13

"I am enough" bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

I love the powerful message of this bracelet so much that I wrote an entire essay about it. Simple, sleek and elegant, this bracelet is my new staple. I never take it off (not even to shower or bathe the kids) and it constantly reminds me that I am doing just fine.

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

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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The one thing your family needs to practice gratitude

And a tradition you'll want to keep for years.

Gracious Gobbler

I think I can speak for well, basically everyone on planet earth when I say things have been a bit stressful lately. Juggling virtual school, work and the weight of worry about all the things, it's increasingly difficult to take even a moment to be grateful and positive these days. It's far easier to fall into a grump cycle, nagging my kids for all the things they didn't do (after being asked nine times), snapping at their bickering and never really acknowledging the good stuff.

But the truth is, gratitude and appreciation is the kind of medicine we need now more than ever—and not just because the season is upon us. For one thing, practicing gratitude is a scientifically proven way to boost our happiness, health and relationships. More importantly, we need to ensure we're cultivating it in our children even when things are challenging. Especially when things are challenging.

I'm ready to crank the thankfulness up a few dozen notches and reboot our family's gratitude game so we can usher out 2020 on a fresh note. So, I've called in some reinforcements.

Enter: the Gracious Gobbler.

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In a recent survey shared in the Reproductive Health journal, one out of six women in the United States reported being mistreated while in labor, where mistreatment included, "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help."

One out of six.

To make these numbers even more sickening, mistreatment was more common among women of color, women with partners of color, women with lower socioeconomic status, and women under the age of 30.

(And yet people still question the validity of stating that black mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.)

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Rarely at a loss for words, I find myself almost unable to speak.

I am a midwife, and I am disgusted.

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