10 reasons to love your post-baby breasts ❤️

True talk? Breasts are amazing.

10 reasons to love your post-baby breasts ❤️
Motherly for bamboobies

Hey, girls. I thought it was time for a little check-in. We've been going through some stuff lately (raising a toddler, gearing up for the arrival of a new baby), and it occured to me that I haven't taken the time to let you know how much I appreciate you.

If I'm honest, you rarely get the respect you deserve. Whether it's my internal criticism ("Another cup size wouldn't hurt…") or I'm bandaging you in uncomfortable bras or you're simply getting manhandled by my clingy toddler, you're owed a lot more love than you receive.

Because, true talk? Breasts are amazing.

Not only have you single-handedly kept my baby alive, but you're also capable of what can essentially be chalked up to superhuman powers. Don't believe me?

Let me count the ways...

1. You were my first indication that I was going to be a mom.🤰

When you're trying to get pregnant, you find yourself constantly googling things like "earliest signs of pregnancy" and "could I be pregnant if…"

For me, the very first sign that I had a baby growing inside me was your telltale soreness. When I got pregnant the second time, I could not have been more thrilled when the same symptom appeared, only to be confirmed by a pregnancy test a week or two later. But you already knew, didn't you?

2. You were the first place I cradled my newborn.

The benefits of breastfeeding aside, you were the first safe place my baby found to land after being born. When I pulled my child onto my chest, her body impossibly small and impossibly soft, our hearts met for the first time in the outside world, and everything in my life changed forever.

As I cradled her against you during that incredible "golden hour," I swear I could have stayed there forever. And that was before I even knew all of the incredible benefits of that uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact, including releasing the needed hormones to help my own body recover from labor and delivery. It's why I spent so much time postpartum pampering you, whether it was with ultra-soft nursing pads (these were life-savers!) or a gentle, organic nipple balm that provided much-needed TLC to my new mom nipples.

3. Breast milk is basically magic. ✨

No, seriously. Scientists aren't even sure how you do the things you do, but you are capable of manufacturing milk specifically tailored to my child's needs—even customizing for a baby's sex and age. I need to set calendar reminders in my phone to remember to swap out my daughter's closet for clothing the next size up, so color me impressed.

4. Nursing at night helps my baby sleep better—and me sleep better too. 😴

It would have been impressive enough that when you produce milk at night, it naturally adjusts to contain more melatonin and tryptophan to help baby's brain naturally stay in a sleepy state. But of course you go above and beyond, triggering a release of oxytocin in my brain to help me get more quality rest (when that needy little newborn actually lets me get some shut-eye). Thanks for looking out.

5. You help keep my babies healthier. 

Not only do breastfed babies tend to have lower rates of asthma and allergies, but the complex sugars in it also help little ones fight off infection and bad bacteria. In fact, studies have shown that backwash from a baby's mouth triggers the release of certain antibodies that can help the baby fight off whatever ailments he or she is currently battling—meaning you are essentially a pair of super-genius pharmacies. Let's see another part of my body do that.

6. You know what my baby needs even before I do. 

Sure, I was a little weirded out when my areolas started to darken early in my first pregnancy, but I should have known that even this seemingly random phenomenon served a greater purpose. Because, unbeknownst to me, you were preparing my body for the baby's arrival because baby's only see contrast in their first few days—and now it was much easier for her to find her target. Thanks for being so ahead of the curve.

7. You can help protect my child from obesity for years to come. 

Again, you've even stumped science on this one, but recent studies have shown that breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life can significantly reduce his chance of developing childhood obesity even years later. Researchers may not be sure how you do it, but I am: You're magic.

8. You make me feel sexy. 🔥

Promise I'm not about to belt out some Aretha, but the fact is, you definitely give my confidence a boost on the days I need it. Though it took me years to fully appreciate my curves, I now see you for the incredible parts of me you are.

Because no matter what shape I've been pre-pregnancy, during those nine months, or postpartum, my curves are what make me feel womanly and like I got it going on. (And, for the record, my husband doesn't disagree. So good work, ladies!) Plus, let's be real—you're a big part of what got me pregnant in the first place. 😉

9. ...and you make me feel my most maternal.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you are still the place my kids love to to snuggle when they need a little extra comfort. You make me feel like the safe place, the shelter they need when the world (or just tackling a new milestone) is too hard to face alone.

No matter how big my babies get, you are the place they want to rest their head when they need a little more love. I will always be grateful to you for that, and it's a big part of why I love when I find products that show you the same love you put out—like these therapy pillows that soothed you when we nursed and helped you recover when our babies started to wean.

10. Quite simply, I can't imagine me without you.

Literally and figuratively, you are a part of who I am. You make me feel powerful, for what you can do and how you can make me feel. Motherhood has been a transformative journey that has given me so much more appreciation for every part of my body, present company certainly not excluded. So in case I forget to say it every day, thank you for everything. ❤️

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

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My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

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

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