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The great nap time dilemma: Are you a nap time hustler?

What do you do when baby sleeps?

The great nap time dilemma: Are you a nap time hustler?

You’ve gotten baby to sleep. Go you. It’s her longer nap of the day and you have one, maybe two hours to yourself. What do you do?

You have several options, each with its pluses and minuses.

Choose wisely, young mama…

1. Shower.

If this was the first idea to pop into your head, then you probably need a shower. If you were able to shower yesterday or this morning (braggart), then you’re probably okay and can skip to option #2.

Yea

Long, hot showers always get a yea from us. It’s like a mini spa day in the comfort of your own home! Add a scented candle? Done and done. Shower time.

Nay

We run the risk of baby waking up before we’ve finished, which ruins the end of our shower as we rush to rinse off, inevitably leaving a large section of conditioned hair intact. Also, trying to lull an irritated baby back to sleep when one is soaking wet is a losing proposition. They know what we’ve been trying to do. Babies will squash our best-laid plans for comfort whenever possible. (For the record, we still vote for shower time.)

2. Self-groom.

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Yea

Pluck those eyebrows, wax those legs, maybe even throw on some makeup and do your hair. Feel like the pre-baby you for the afternoon.

Nay

Who cares about our bushy eyebrows anyway? There must be something more important to do.

3. Clean/do laundry.

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Yea

With your hands free, you can fold laundry in half the time and are even able to scrub the tub. Imagine how accomplished you’ll feel with a clean bathroom and kitchen, and an empty hamper! While the clothes are drying, take a minute to have a cup of hot coffee, too. Ahh, isn’t feeling like a normal human being magical?

Nay

Ugh. We know there’s always laundry to be done and toilets to clean, but when we have a hall pass for a couple of hours, who wants to scrub the floor? Okay, we’ll throw a load of laundry in, but we’re not washing the windows. Maybe tomorrow.

4. Work.

Yea

Look at you—making work-life balance happen one nap time at a time! Answer those emails as quickly as you can, because baby’s nap time doesn’t last long.

Nay

You deserve some self-care time. Working while baby sleeps makes sense, but it’s not exactly quiet alone time that makes me feel restored for the next round with baby. Choose work times wisely.

5. Catch up on TV.

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Yea

Your DVR is packed and you can watch TWO Housewives reunion episodes in one shot? Again, grab a cup of hot coffee or tea, make a sandwich and empty that Netflix queue!

Nay

We know, we probably won’t watch TV because we’ll feel guilty about the pile of laundry in the bedroom or the filthy stovetop that’s been calling our name for weeks. Make a date with the TV one day this week, even if baby is awake.

6. Sleep.

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Yea

All the yeas. This is the greatest idea you’ve had today. Why are you not already asleep?

Nay

Literally no nays. Rested mama = happy mama AND baby. If she gets to sleep, then so do you. Nighty night!

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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