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Ah, the 4 month sleep regression...unlike, say, your baby’s first solid food or her first steps, the 4 month sleep regression isn’t a milestone that many parents typically look forward to. Whether you’re currently in the midst of the madness or just anticipating what might be ahead, odds are you have some questions—and some worries—about this much talked-about sleep (or lack thereof) phase.


But guess what, mama? The news is good! According to experts, sleep regressions aren’t really a thing; they’re more like transitions. And they’re actually a good thing—they mean your baby is growing, changing, developing, + finding new ways to interact with the world around them.

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But I know what you’re thinking—ok but I’m reaaaally exhausted so please stop telling me about how the 4 month sleep regression isn’t a thing and please tell me what I can DO about it. Got it, mama; we hear you loud and clear ?.

We’ve got a plan and the products you need to battle the beast that is the 4 month sleep regression. Let’s dive right in.

Create an ideal sleeping environment

One of the most important things you can do for your little one during this time of transition is to create an environment that encourages sleep. Here’s how:

1. Use a sound machine

White noise is a sound that calms and comforts most babies. It not only mimics the sound of blood flow in utero—a noise that your baby had become very accustomed to over nine months—but it also helps to block out any household or outdoor noises that may be distracting baby from sleep.

The Dohm is far and away our favorite white noise machine for a few key reasons. Unlike lots of sound machines that use a digital recording, the Dohm has a built-in fan that creates the sound of rushing air, essentially creating “all natural” white noise without the hassle of a fan.

It features two speeds, and easily twists to completely customize the tone and volume of the white noise you’re creating. Just be sure to keep it a safe distance from baby’s developing ears and keep the volume at a sensible level.

Marpac Dohm Sound Machine
$49.93, Amazon

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2+ 3. Keep it dark


You may love waking up to gentle sunlight streaming through your windows every morning, but if you want your baby asleep before the sun goes down and awake after it comes up, blackout shades are here to save the day. Sometimes even the smallest sliver of light will throw off baby’s sleeping and waking patterns.

To ensure the longest, most consistent stretches of sleep, we swear by blackout shades. If you’re not yet sold on the idea and want to give it a test run before committing, these temporary room darkening shades are the perfect option.

Simply cut to size and use the built-in adhesive to install. They may not look the prettiest, but they’ll get the job done!

Achim Home Furnishings 1-2-3 Vinyl Room Darkening Temporary Shade
$12.25, Amazon

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And when you’re ready to commit, we ?these on trend buffalo check curtains. They come in three great colors to add just the right amount of personality to any nursery, and do a great job of blocking the light.

Buffalo Check Blackout Curtain
$59.00 and up, depending on size, Land of Nod

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Establish a bedtime routine

Children love routines—and they thrive on them. Bedtime is one of the most important routines of all. Creating a consistent, predictable bedtime routine can help your little develop healthy sleep habits and sleep better + longer. (Um, yes please.) Here’s what you need to make it happen:

4. Make bath time=calm time

A bath is a great way to kick off a bedtime routine for your little one, and making it as relaxing as possible is the perfect precursor to ease baby into sleep. California Baby is one of our favorite safe + natural baby brands.

This calming shampoo is infused with an essential oil blend to soothe with the scent of lavender. It’s sulfate-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free, dye-free and has no fragrance added, so it’s perfect for sensitive new skin.

California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash
$19.89, Target

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5. Try a massage

Infant massage has been proven to help baby relax and sleep, according to studies. Fight the 4-month sleep regression one baby back rub at a time by adding a little massage time to your bedtime routine.

This hypoallergenic, non-greasy lotion is great for all skin types and is made of lavender essential oil, chamomile, calendula and aloe, as well as organic olive and shea oil. It’s perfect for a post-bath massage and will leave baby’s skin soft and moisturized.

The Honest Company Ultra Calming Face & Body Lotion
$9.99, Nordstrom

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6. Keep baby comfy

Even as an adult, you know it can be tough to get a good night’s sleep if you’re too hot, too cold, or wearing something uncomfortable. To make sure your baby stays comfy throughout the night, we love this footie from one of our favorite baby basic brands, Primary.

The 100% cotton is super soft, the fit is snug-but-not-tight, the zipper means easy on and off for diaper changes, and the color selection is spot on. What’s not to love?

The Zip Footie
$18, $17 for 3+, Primary.com

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7. Keep baby snug


If your baby is not yet rolling, then a safe, snug swaddle in your 4-month sleep regression arsenal is a must. Swaddles make baby feel safe + secure, and stop the startle reflex, which is a big cause of night wakings in infants.

We’ve tested a lot of swaddles in our day, and recently landed on the SleePea as our absolute fave. It has so many features to love, but first and most importantly—it’s super easy to use while still being snug and secure.

It also features quiet velcro so baby won’t wake during diaper changes, a dual zipper, breathable material, and is hip safe to give plenty of room for baby’s joints.

SleePea Sack
$23.95, Amazon

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8. Make some magic

If swaddling isn’t doing the trick but baby still needs a little help with her startle reflex, the Magic Sleepsuit may be worth a try. It’s a swaddle transition product that provides your little one with a cozy, secure feeling and also helps to lessen the startle reflex. (We’ll add that it also makes your little one look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, another fun bonus.)

It’s important to note that it’s designed for BACK SLEEPING ONLY, so once your little one becomes a proficient roller, it’s time to ditch it. It’s also fairly heavy + warm, so we recommend dressing your little one in short sleeve, lightweight clothing underneath.

Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit
$39.95, Amazon

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9. Try a wearable blanket

Once baby is rolling independently and it’s no longer safe to swaddle, incorporating a sleep sack into your little one’s bedtime routine is one more way to signal that it’s time for sleep, not play. There are so many sleep sacks on the market, but one of our favorites is this basic option from Halo.

Available in a huge range of sizes and colors, these sleep sacks are affordable, wash and wear well, come in fleece and cotton options, and offer the perfect combo of warmth + freedom of motion. They’re the perfect solution for keeping baby warm throughout the night until it’s safe to use loose blankets.

HALO SleepSack Wearable Blanket
$17.95, Amazon

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Stimulate—but don’t over stimulate

Although you’re probably already seeing patterns start to emerge, four months is the perfect time to start thinking about a schedule for your little one. Stimulating—but not over stimulating—baby during the day and managing awake time by encouraging frequent naps can all contribute to night sleep.

We love simple, sensory-stimulating toys and products during this time.

10. Encourage play time

The simple, beautiful play gym will catch baby’s eye—and yours—and is the perfect way to stimulate your little one’s senses without too many bells and whistles. This play gym is stylish + modern, crafted from natural wood, and height adjustable so it grows along with baby.

The hanging toys detach and make perfect on-the-go companions, and the hardwood teethers are made from untreated wood and finished with vegetable seed wax so they’re completely safe for chomping.

Finn + Emma Wooden Play Gym
$135.00, Amazon

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11. Build skills

This classic baby favorite is just as much fun to play with as it is to say! The Skwish is a rattle + teether all in one. Babies will love to practice clutching and grasping, all important in developing gross motor skills, with this easy-to-grab wooden toy. And the elastic ties means it always returns to its original shape, even after hours of play.

Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle and Teether
$12.75, Amazo

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Give yourself a break

We won’t lie, mama—the 4 month sleep regression can be tough. Sometimes you just need a safe place to put baby so you sit down, collect yourself, and take a quick break!

12. Take a break

Give your arms a (much-needed) rest while baby bounces away. We ? this bouncer for its minimalist design, amazing portability—it folds completely flat and weighs only 5 lbs—and four adjustable positions. And as your kiddo ages, it turns into a seat!

BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft
$138.99, Amazon

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There are few kids television shows as successful as PAW Patrol. The Spin Masters series has spawned countless toys and clothing deals, a live show and now, a movie.

That's right mama, PAW Patrol is coming to the big screen in 2021.

The big-screen version of PAW Patrol will be made with Nickelodeon Movies and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

"We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and Nickelodeon to bring the PAW Patrol franchise, and the characters that children love, to the big screen," Spin Master Entertainment's Executive Vice President, Jennifer Dodge, announced Friday.

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"This first foray into the arena of feature film marks a significant strategic expansion for Spin Master Entertainment and our properties. This demonstrates our commitment to harnessing our own internal entertainment production teams to develop and deliver IP in a motion picture format and allows us to connect our characters to fans through shared theatrical experiences," Dodge says.

No word on the plot yet, but we're gonna bet there's a problem, 'round Aventure Bay, and Ryder and his team of pups will come and save the day.

We cannot even imagine how excited little PAW Patrol fans will be when this hits theatres in 2021. It's still too early to buy advance tickets but we would if we could!

News

In the middle of that postpartum daze, the sleepless nights, the recovery, the adjustment to a new schedule and learning the cues of a new baby, there are those moments when a new mom might think, I don't know how long I can do this.

Fortunately, right around that time, newborns smile their first real smile.

For many mothers, the experience is heart-melting and soul-lifting. It's a crumb of sustenance to help make it through the next challenges, whether that's sleep training, baby's first cold, or teething. Each time that baby smiles, the mother remembers, I can do this, and it's worth it.

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Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT a NYC-based psychotherapist and author of Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom, says she sees this in her clinical practice.

"One mother I worked with recounted her experience of her baby's first smile. At eight weeks postpartum, exhausted and overwhelmed, she remembered her baby smiling broadly at her just before a nighttime feeding," Kurtz says. "In that moment, she was overcome by tremendous joy and relief, and felt, for the first time, a real connection to her son."

So what is it about a baby's smile that can affect a mother so deeply? Can it all be attributed to those new-mom hormones? Perhaps it stems from the survival instincts that connect an infant with its mother, or the infant learning social cues. Or is there something more going on inside our brains?

In 2008, scientists in Houston, TX published their research on the topic. Their study, "What's in a Smile? Maternal Brain Responses to Infant Facial Cues", takes data from the MRI images of 26 women as they observed images of infants smiling, crying, or with a neutral expression.

The images included the mother's own infant alternated with an unknown infant of similar ethnicity and in similar clothing and position. In each image, the baby displayed a different emotion through one of three facial expressions; happy, neutral, or sad. Researchers monitored the change in the mothers' brain activity through the transitions in images from own-infant to unknown-infant, and from happy to neutral to sad and vice versa.

The results?

"When first-time mothers see their own baby's face, an extensive brain network appears to be activated, wherein affective and cognitive information may be integrated and directed toward motor/behavioral outputs," wrote the study's authors. Seeing her infant smile or cry prompts the areas of the brain that would instigate a mother to act, whether it be to comfort, care for, or caress and play with the baby.

In addition, the authors found that reward-related brain regions are activated specifically in response to happy, but not sad, baby faces. The areas of the brain that lit up in their study are the same areas that release dopamine, the "pleasure chemical." For context, other activities that elicit dopamine surges include eating chocolate, having sex, or doing drugs. So in other words, a baby's smile may be as powerful as those other feel-good experiences.

And this gooey feeling moms may get from seeing their babies smile isn't just a recreational high—it serves a purpose.

This reward system (aka dopaminergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine system) exists to motivate the mother to forge a positive connection with the baby, according to Aurélie Athan, PhD, director of the Reproductive & Maternal Psychology Laboratory (a laboratory that created the first graduate courses of their kind in these subjects).

These networks also promote a mother's ability to share her emotional state with her child, which is the root of empathy. "A mother cries when baby cries, smiles when baby smiles," Athan says.

While there's a physiological explanation underlying that warm-and-fuzzy sensation elicited by a smile, there may be other factors at play too, Kurtz says.

"In my clinical practice, I often observe a stunning exchange between a mother and her baby when the latter smiles at her. A mother who is otherwise engaged in conversation with me may be, for that moment, entirely redirected to focus on her little one," Kurtz says. "This kind of attention-capturing on the part of the baby can enable and cultivate maternal attunement—a mother's ability to more deeply connect with her infant. The quality of attunement in early childhood often sets the stage for one's relationship patterns in the future."

Whether a physiological response, a neural activation, simple instinct, or the tightening of emotional connection, the feeling generated by babies' smiles is a buoy in the choppy ocean of new parenthood.

And while the first smile may be the most magical by virtue of its surprise and the necessity of that emotional lift, the fuzzy feeling can continue well into that baby's childhood and beyond. It keeps telling parents, you've got this!

[This was originally published on Apparently]

Life

Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life
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