Our Babies, Our Moods: How Our Little Ones Pick Up on Our Moods

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My seven-month-old daughter Xaviana is a happy little person. She smiles and giggles her way through each day, and rarely fusses. Even as her first two bottom teeth began to poke through, she remained pretty much unperturbed.

One day last week, however, she was super-whiny. She didn’t want to play, or nap, or do much of anything, for that matter. I’d started my morning in a grumpy mood as well, and as the day progressed, I became more tired and grouchy by the minute. I don’t know whether the root cause of my bad mood had been hormones, lack of sleep, or the “May-gray” that had hit San Diego with a vengeance, but I was definitely not feeling like myself.

Happy mom = happy baby!

Happy mom = happy baby!

I discussed my random irritations with Antonio, and he was able to lift me out of my doldrums. He said something that made me laugh, and Xaviana, who had been watching the whole exchange, looked at me and giggled, too. At that moment, it hit me: my bad mood had rubbed off on her. She’s used to seeing her dad and me relaxed and upbeat, and my annoyance with nothing in particular had caused her to be just that.

It turns out that there’s a scientific basis to this phenomenon of mood mirroring. A recent study measured the heart rates and emotions of 12 to 14-month-old babies whose moms were given stressful tasks, and found that the little ones seemed to “track” their moms’ stress responses. Moms’ and babies’ stress responses (increased heart rates) mirrored each other. Researchers theorized that moms’ cues, such as vocal tension and facial expression, had influenced their babies’ moods.

Moms out there, do your good and bad days seem to coincide with those of your little ones? Have you heard of any other interesting studies on mood tracking in moms and babies? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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10 Baby Products I Can’t Live Without

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Choosing items for your baby registry is one of the most mind-boggling parts of pregnancy. There are so many baby products out there, so how do you know the best ones?

If you’re like me, you’ll comb through Amazon and blogs for reviews, and, of course, you’ll ask your mommy friends. This is what I did, and I must say, Xaviana is well-equipped, but our house is minimally cluttered, since I picked space-saving products that will grow with her. Here are the 10 baby products I can’t live without:

  1. Baby K’Tan – A must-have for parents and babies on-the-go, the K’Tan is worth more than its weight in gold. (It’s so freaking light!) It’s easy-to-use–no wrapping required. Also, baby can be placed in multiple positions as he/she grows, and it takes up minimal space in your baby bag. I love it for church, travel, and running errands…and Xaviana loves it just about any time, since she can snuggle up to me like a little kangaroo. The only caveat: the K’Tan is sized according to the wearer, so my hubby can’t use my size X-Small carrier, and would need one of his own if he wanted to carry Xaviana this way.
    The Baby K'Tan carrier grows with your little one. Here Xaviana is at 3 months...

    The Baby K’Tan carrier grows with your little one. Here Xaviana is in the newborn kangaroo position…

    ...and at 5 months, in a new position in the carrier.

    …and a few months later in the hug position.

  2. Diaper GenieIf you’re going to use disposable diapers, you must get one of these. The Diaper Genie has revolutionized diaper pails forever. It’s lightweight and easy-to-use, and best of all, it prevents the area next to your changing table from smelling like a litter box, which leads me to my next must-have…
  3. PooPoose – This compact changing pad features an indentation in the middle where baby easily settles in, plus it has a velcro strap to pin down your little wiggle-worm. It can fit on any dresser, so you don’t need to buy a special changing table that you’ll sell in a few years!
  4. Baby Bullet – If you want to make your own baby food, the Baby Bullet is a must-have. It’s more than a blender–it’s a total solid food meal-planning system, with a freezer tray that allows you to prep ahead, and cute little jars to use right away. The enclosed booklet is invaluable as you plan baby’s first meals.
  5. Fisher Price Snuggabunny Cradle and Swing – This swing is freaking amazing. It plays music or ambient sounds, rocks back and forth, and has a rotating mirrored mobile above baby’s head. Xaviana loved it as a newborn, and it was the perfect way to calm her down if she was fussy or help her to sleep if she was restless. At six months, she still grins every time I strap her into the swing. It’s her favorite place to spend a bit of mellow down-time.
  6. SkipHop diaper bag – This bag is both stylish and practical. We have the gray chevron design, which is the ideal unisex style–neither my hubby nor I mind carrying it. It has multiple compartments, and is the perfect size for all of baby’s essentials. It’s also very durable; we’ve lugged it around nearly every day for the last six-and-a-half months, and it still looks great.
  7. Nook PebbleLIte mattress – It’s a high-end mattress, and it’s worth every penny. It’s safe, breathable, and lightweight. The firm, pebbled texture assures that baby will have a comfortable night’s sleep, and that translates into a happier, more well-rested you. What could be better?
  8. Fisher Price Whale of a Tub – Cute tub takes up minimal space in your bathroom and grows with your baby, since it has a removable insert that you can take out when baby is able to sit up. It also comes with a fun sprinkling toy–Xaviana loves when it “rains” on her.
  9. Bob Revolution jogging stroller – This stroller is made to be used with the Britax BeSafe car seat (which should also be on the must-have list, by the way) with the purchase of a simple adaptor. Bouncy tires and superior suspension give baby a cushy ride, and it folds up easily for storage. Plus, it comes in cute colors. (We have it in orange.) It has an area underneath to store all your walking/jogging essentials, and a baby shade for sunny days.
  10. Philips Avent BPA-free Soothie Pacifier – I’ve seen so many babies with these gummy pacifiers, and it’s no wonder. The soothie is the perfect shape, size, and texture for baby’s mouth, plus it’s vanilla-scented. It’s advertised for ages 0-3 months, but Xaviana still loves hers. She can put it in her own mouth, and also likes chewing on it every so often. Try it with a Booginhead pacifier holder.

Moms out there, what are your baby must-haves? Have you tried any of the products I recommended, and if so, which ones did you like? I’d love to hear your opinions!