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When it comes to newborns, there are no shortcuts, just coffee ☕️

About seven weeks ago, my husband and I welcomed our second daughter, little Nessa Joy, into the world! So yes, we are currently in the thick of it all. As a professional sleep consultant, I have been getting SO MANY questions about how well my baby is sleeping or assumptions that she popped out sleeping 12 hours a night and on a perfect and predictable schedule.


HA!

Let me just clear the air, she's not, and I am about to blow away any misconceptions about newborn sleep with one simple sentence:

There are no shortcuts in the newborn stage.

I am sorry if that disheartens you, but the newborn life really is SURVIVAL. It's waking at any and all hours of the night, feeding when she needs to, countless diaper changes, explosions, and yes, it's lots and lots of coffee (can I get an Amen?!). Now, of course, there are many things we can slowly start working on, and if possible, habits we can avoid. But for the most part, we just do what we can to help our baby get the most sleep possible, and the food that he or she needs.

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If you're like me, this might feel like a relief. As a mom, we are already bombarded with so many expectations and pressures to always be doing the right thing. And unfortunately, that puts a lot of expectations pressure and on our wee little babies, too! We think, if we're "doing all the right things," surely my baby SHOULD be sleeping 12 hours, or surely my baby SHOULDN'T have to nurse in the middle of the night...

By putting pressure and expectations on yourself, you are also putting pressure and expectations on your baby. That's a lot to ask for a little baby who has only been in this world for just a few weeks, and honestly, a little unfair.

So, if you're still reading this, let's all just take one DEEP sigh of relief. We're going to get through this, and in the meantime, we will do our best while giving ourselves and our babies all the grace in the world to figure this whole thing out together. And while we're at it, let's go ahead and remove the word "should" from our vocabulary.

No more...

"I should be... "

Or

"My baby should be... "

Every mom is different, and every baby is different. All that word does is spread pressure and expectations where there already is plenty. Lord knows we don't need any more pressure in the parenting world!

With that being said and deeply understood, I thought I would share what I am currently focusing on with my little newborn.

Here it is... and don't worry, it's a lot less than what you would expect from a sleep consultant...

Her feedings

and

Caring for her needs.

Okay, not too overwhelming right? Let me unpack…

Her feedings

I always want to be sure she is getting all of what she needs, as it is so important and vital at this age. I am a believer in full feedings, spaced at consistent intervals. With that being said, I am ALWAYS sensitive to growths spurts and letting her eat when she needs to.

We first started at a feeding every two hours, waking her during the day if I needed to. Then, when I saw this was very attainable for her, I slowly started stretching her by 15 minutes every day. Now we are finally at every 3 hours during the day like clockwork. When I'm consistent with this, I really am feeding her "on demand" because she's ready for a feeding every three hours.

What I'm not doing is trying to stretch her for another hour when she's screaming for food at the 2-hour mark. There are some days where she wants to eat every two hours, and I go ahead and let her know she may be going through a growths spurt. When she's ready, I work back up to the 3-hour stretches. Full feedings at spaced intervals help a lot with her nighttime stretches and helps her body find some sort of rhythm. This also avoids "snacking," and ensures she's getting the good fatty milk that helps her stay fuller longer. And let me say, I didn't do this with my first, and it's made a WORLD of a difference. But remember, this can be a process work up to and is NOT perfect every day. Newborns = lots of change, and I roll with it.

Caring for her needs

I don't mean the very obvious needs of changing her diaper, keeping her fed, etc. (while, yes of course to those things), I really mean staying sensitive to what she might emotionally or physically need on a day to day basis.

Somedays, all she wants to do is be held. So, I throw my wrap on, and I keep her close for the day. I don't worry about creating any "bad habits" at this age since I know we will sleep train when she is ready and her patterns are more developed (12 lbs or 4 months). Somedays, she's dealing with gas or reflux, so that will take a lot of my attention and focus to help her get comfortable however I can. Newborns are constantly changing, and it's so important to stay in tune with that and provide them what they need.

Eliminating the "rules" really frees me to do that, and also removes (again) any pressure I put on myself or on her. Right now, she's snuggled in my wrap sleeping on my chest and doesn't want to be anywhere else. Instead of acting in frustration, I am choosing to embrace it, knowing these days are fleeting and she won't need me like this forever (cue ugly cry).

My hope for us as moms is that we can start enjoying motherhood more, regardless of what stage we're in. Enjoying motherhood doesn't come with easier babies that magically sleep 12 hours a night. Instead, it comes with a choice. Choosing to enjoy this stage with all of its glorious unpredictability and lack of sleep. We can't force our babies to be or act a certain way, but we CAN give ourselves grace to be on this journey, and be okay with where our babies are at, perfect sleepers or not. Allow yourself to let go of control, and just be the constant in your baby's ever-changing world.

Originally posted on The Cradle Coach.

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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

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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

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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.

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They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school 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 summer-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.

Meadow ring toss game

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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

Balance board

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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

Detective set

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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

Wooden doll stroller

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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

Sand play set

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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

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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

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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

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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

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