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Mama, in the daily grind of life, we can still find magic

I have somehow misplaced this magic. This magic that lives and breathes and wakes up in my house every morning...

Mama, in the daily grind of life, we can still find magic

This weekend I got to experience magic: One of my best friends invited me and a few others to be there for the birth of her first baby. I’ve never seen birth except my own.


It was magic. Birth is magic. It is terrible, it is messy and it is brilliant. After 24 hours of hard labor and zero results, my friend had gotten a epidural. She cracked jokes as she nibbled graham crackers between pushing contractions. What a rockstar. She was so strong and so powerful… I have never seen her so beautiful. Her husband stroked her head and held her hand as she used all her strength to bring new life into the world.

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We cheered her on like it was the World Cup. At one point we offered to leave the room and the midwife looked at us intently, “No, she needs you–she pushes harder when you encourage her.”

“This is how it used to be,” she said, “Women gathered, supporting each other during birth.”

As she gave the final push, Flora Milo became, and I watched her dear parents also become. They will never be the same. We all burst into tears as this tiny being was placed on Allie’s chest. Magic. Blood, sweat and tears, had brought them to this moment. Crushed hearts, tragic loss, health battles and doctors that said this moment would never happen… Yet, here they are.

And here is this baby who says I beg to differ.

And we cry, because magic.

As I held this precious one, I thought of my own babes when they were brand new earth side… And my heart hurt. I remember the magic. I remember the simplicity of eat, sleep, eat, sleep.

That night I was looking for pictures and I came across Facebook posts from two and three years ago. My heart sank. Their precious tiny faces. Oh how I miss it! How’d it go by so quickly? The moment didn’t seem special when I was in it. It seemed stressful and hectic. It seemed like something to survive until everyone was finally in their beds, fast asleep.

I was disturbed by the regret that gripped my heart. What was I worried about then? I was worried about my pant size and whether Scout would ever stop throwing tantrums. I was worried about the budget and whether or not my floor was clean. I was worried about me.

How am I ever going to stop worrying so much about me?

I have somehow misplaced this magic. This magic that lives and breathes and wakes up in my house every morning.

Haven with her big hair and puffy eyes. She sometimes is cute, other times she growls in response to our cheer with clenched fists and an arched neck. Her eyes say DO NOT SPEAK THESE GOOD MORNING WORDS TO ME.

It will get better when you can have coffee dear-heart, hang in there.

Magic.

Magic is the smell of Oaklee after a bath. It is all of us dancing in the living room to Shakira and Robin Thicke after movie night. Magic is when Haven sings to Bob the cat about how she wasn’t trying to hurt him. It is Scout crying because Malachi got in trouble. It is that four kids ask to have sleepovers together on their bedroom floor.

Magic.

There is magic happening all around me every day… Why do I miss it?

Sometimes there is no coffee strong enough. Sometimes I look inside my bottom fridge drawer and witness things a person can never unsee. Sometimes it’s the whining and the bickering and it’s the constant of eat, clean, eat, clean. Sometimes it’s that life is painful and it feels like it is closing in from every side.

It’s the constant, persistent, wondering if I am doing this. all. wrong.

It’s the wondering if I can really raise these children into the incredible adults I know they can be. Will they be kind? Will they be strong? Will they be healthy?

I think about my friend giving birth.

Could it be that the process and pain of labor isn’t really over? Our mother hearts are in the wringer daily. With each transition and every stage of growth–our minds often scream, “I CANNOT DO THIS.”

And we lose the magic… for good reason. Because it is hard.

Birth isn’t that magical when you’re doing it. It is a lot more like pain and really, really hard work.

But, we are not doing it alone. We are a sisterhood. A sisterhood of flawed mothers doing our very best.

So my friend, wherever you are at, and whatever your story,

As one flawed mama to another,

I want to take your hand and say LISTEN TO ME. YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR. You are DOING IT!! This is HARD, but you are CAPABLE. Look at the amazing children you are raising…WOW! Look at how STRONG you are…

Because we can most definitely, certainly do it better together.

Mama, YOU are INCREDIBLE. Look at you.

Childhood is magic. It is terrible, it is messy, it is brilliant.

Let’s cheer each other on like it’s the World Cup.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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

Life

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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