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The Mommy-Brain Myth

Ditch the old adage about new moms being ditzy, says Katherine Ellison, author of The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter (Basic Books). Your brain hasn't gone AWOL; on the contrary, right now, your brain function is expanding, new neurons are forming, and your perceptions are sharpening. To take advantage of your smarts:

Get creative. Sure, you're beat, but now, as brain cells multiply, might be a great time to learn a new skill or hone a favorite activity.

Get close to baby. Skin-to-skin contact stimulates the production of oxytocin, a hormone that's linked with memory and learning.

Get moving. Exercise increases circulation to the brain  -- giving you a better body and a sharper mind.