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Motherly for Dr. Brown's

By: Justine LoMonaco


From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed, even just on occasion.

I was unsure what to expect the first time we tried a bottle. I worried it would upset her stomach or cause uncomfortable gas. I worried she would reject the bottle entirely, meaning the freedom I hoped for would remain out of reach. But in just a few seconds, those worries disappeared as I watched her happily feed from the bottle.

What I really didn't expect? The guilt that came as I watched her do so. Was I robbing her of that original connection we'd had with breastfeeding? Was I setting her up for confusion if and when we did go back to nursing? Was I failing at something without even realizing it?

In discussing with my friends, I've learned this guilt is an all too common thing. But I've also learned there are so many reasons why it's time to let it go.

1) I'm letting go of guilt because...I shouldn't feel guilty about sharing the connection with my baby. It's true that now I'm no longer the only one who can feed and comfort her any time of day or night. But what that really means is that now the door is open for other people who love her (my partner, grandparents, older siblings) to take part in this incredible gift. The first time I watched my husband's eyes light up as he fed our baby, I knew that I had made the right choice.

2) I'm letting go of guilt because...the right bottle will prevent any discomfort. It took us a bit of trial and error to find the right bottle that worked for my baby, but once we did, we rarely dealt with gas or discomfort―and the convenience of being able to pack along a meal for my child meant she never had to wait to eat when she was hungry. Dr. Brown's became my partner in this process, offering a wide variety of bottles and nipples designed to mimic the flow of my own milk and reduce colic and excess spitting up. When we found the right one, it changed everything.

3) I'm letting go of guilt because...I've found my joy in motherhood again. That trapped feeling that had started to overwhelm me? It's completely gone. By removing the pressure on myself to feed my baby a certain way, I realized that it was possible to keep her nourished and healthy―while also letting myself thrive.

So now, sometimes we use the bottle. Sometimes we don't. But no matter how I keep my baby fed, I know we've found the right way―guilt free.


This article is sponsored by Dr. Browns. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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It's official: You have a 1-year-old. Cue all the happy tears! As you think back over the past 12 months, there were undoubtedly highs and lows. Your baby's transformation from sleepy newborn to active toddler is major. But your own transformation shouldn't be underestimated either, mama. Just think of how much you've learned and grown in just one year!

Throughout this past year, you came into your own as a mother, bonded with your baby and made memories you will cherish for a lifetime.

After one year on the job, you probably have your day-to-day routine down pat and feel confident saying "yes" to more opportunities again—whether it's new work opportunities or a skill you want to learn during those rare moments of downtime.

As you look ahead, here are a few of our favorite items for the next stage: Life with a 1-year-old:

For educational play: Fisher-Price Little People farm set

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Little People toys from Fisher-Price are classics for good reason: They feel nostalgic and promote imaginative play. This is one collection that will get use for years and years to come.

$35.49

For those precious little feet: Surprize sneakers

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As your baby starts to take their first steps, you'll want to get them used to wearing shoes. Podiatrists recommend looking for shoes that have a stiff heel, flexible toe box and rigid middle.

$32.99

For introducing close-ended play: Melissa & Doug jumbo knob puzzles

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Puzzles are fun, but they also help teach persistence, sorting skills and more. This kind of close-ended play, where your child can get to the satisfying conclusion of a completed picture, can help with building attention.

$19.99

For open-ended play: Fat Brain toy suction cups

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On the other side of the coin, open-ended play asks for more creativity and social interaction. When there isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, your little one will feel encouraged to use their imagination and free-thinking skills.

$14.99

For bath time splashes: Skip Hop pour and stack bath buckets

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Bath time doesn't have to be all about washing and cleaning. It can also be a great opportunity for sensory play, especially with some fun bath toys in the mix.

$9.79

For showing your skin some love: Honest Beauty deep hydration face cream

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You've probably streamlined your beauty routine in the past year due to time limitations, but one thing you shouldn't skimp on? A moment of self-care. A good face cream can improve the quality of your skin and help enhance your natural glow.

$27.99

For your busy schedule: Ubrands dry erase calendar

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More time in the home means more dishes, dust and dirt to clean up. Rather than nightly debates about whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher, get everyone in the family on the same page with a visible chores calendar.

$14.59

For easy style: A New Day t-shirt dress

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When you're a mama, getting dressed is all about ease and comfort. This dress is stylish, yet relaxed enough to wear around the house when you are ready to change out of yoga pants. Add a nice jacket or some fun earrings for a virtual-meeting-ready look!

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For those birthday pictures: Project 62 matted frame

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Baby's first birthday is a great occasion to take lots of pictures. These will definitely be frame-worthy, so display them in style with this beautiful piece.

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For some well-deserved rest: Threshold weighted blanket

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There's no way to really catch up on the sleep you lost during the past year, but you can start having sweeter dreams now with help from a weighted blanket. Seriously, people rave about these for good reason!

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This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Seeing your baby for the first time is an amazing experience for any parent. For most parents, the months preceding this meeting were probably spent imagining what the baby was experiencing inside the womb, trying to paint a realistic picture on top of that two-dimensional black and white ultrasound photo.

But thanks to Brazillian birth photographer Janaina Oliveira and a baby boy named Noah, parents around the world are now better able to imagine what their baby's world looked like between the ultrasound picture and their first breath.

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