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11 products to help parents survive the 4-month sleep regression 😴

So you—and baby—can start getting more rest.

11 products to help parents survive the 4-month sleep regression 😴

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.


I know what you're thinking—okay 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:

Use a sound machine.

Yogasleep dohm natural 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.

$50

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!

$15.99

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:

Make bath time = calm time.

Noodle and Boo  Newborn 2-in-1 Hair + Body Wash

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. Noodle and Boo is one of our favorite safe + natural baby brands.

This calming hair and body wash is tear-free, moisturizing and soothes with the scent of lavender. The plant-based formula is made without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, PPGs, dyes and GMOs, so it's perfect for sensitive new skin.

$18

Try a massage.

Evereden soothing baby massage oil

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 super-food rich, fragrance-free oil is great for all skin types and is made of just five ingredients—sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil and coconut oil. It's perfect for a post-bath massage and will leave baby's skin soft and moisturized.

$22

Keep baby comfy.

Primary footie pajama

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?

$14.50

Keep baby snug.

Happiest baby swaddle

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.

$32.95

Make some magic.

Baby Merlin's magic sleep suit

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.

$39.95

Try a weighted sleep sack.

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack

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. One of our favorites is the brilliant weighted version from Dreamland Baby.

Designed by a mama (of course), these weighted sleep sacks use the same concepts as weighted blanket—to provide deep-pressure stimulation. It's that cozy reassurance that comforts and calms little ones to help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

They are gently weighted on the front panel only with food-grade, non-toxic inner-bead fill and feature a two-way zipper to make diaper changes as easy as possible. The smallest size comes with a detachable swaddle wing for babies who prefer swaddled sleep.

$79

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.

Encourage play time.

Lovevery the play gym

The simple, beautiful play gym from Lovevery 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. Five development zones on the Play Mat that reveal or conceal to prevent overstimulation and promote brain and motor skill development. It's stylish + modern, crafted from natural wood, and sets up in just a minute with zero tools needed. And just when you thought playtime was over, it converts to play fort for toddlers.

Designed by child development experts, the hanging toys detach and make perfect on-the-go companions, and the teether is made from 100% organic cotton so it's completely safe for chomping.

$140

Build skills.

Manhattan Toy Company skwish

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.

$16

Give yourself a break.

Baby Bjorn bouncer bliss

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! 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!

$200


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

Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

Minimize smoke exposure.

Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

Do your best to filter the air.

According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

"Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

"COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

Most importantly, don't panic.

In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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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If your little one is going as a lion, coordinating is as easy as breaking out the khaki!

Here's how Halloween unfolds in most households I know: Mom spends weeks—even months—planning the perfect costumes for little ones. Then Halloween creeps up and they realize they need an outfit to coordinate with the kids' get-ups. What's a mom to do?!

Thankfully, there's no need for fear or pressure: There are so many ideas for parents that are easy to make and still super clever.

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