An ode to the weaning mama

We are warriors, my beautiful girl and I, and this is our victory.

An ode to the weaning mama
Tiny Toes and Little Bows Photography

A few weeks ago, Fable latched on to nurse for what I knew would be the last time.

I’m not sure why I was so confident this was the final time we’d be together this way. Maybe it was the slow decrease in my already meager supply over the last few months, or the readily chomping teeth conspiring on her angry swollen gums, or the way her distracted eyes would roll and search and grow more and more impatient with a tragically slow flow of milk in her rapidly expanding world of bright lights, tasty snacks, and instant gratification. Whatever the reason, I knew this moment was the last of its kind.


I took pictures. Awkward, not-enough-light-selfie pictures that are no good for internet bragging or framing or anything but saving to a file somewhere, tucked into our folder of memories, labeled with five proud little letters: Proof.

Because, we are warriors, my beautiful girl and I, and this is our victory.

This bittersweet ending of our 11-month breastfeeding adventure is heart-breaking and grounding and in no small way miraculous. We will be awarded no medals—no one will be standing at the one-year or two-year or whatever-the-goal-is-now finish line with balloons and banners to applaud our commitment to attachment parenting, or our brave shunning of Gerber, or the way I pumped a freezer full of magic milk to cure her sickness and send her to college, because we did none of those things.

We could have done everything differently.

I could have scavenged milk from donors to keep her pure, I could have married myself to the pump every waking minute in hopes that my eight ounces a day would eventually increase to the 20-something needed just to sustain her.

I could have kept any bottle nipple or pacifier miles away from her untainted lips, but I did not. We did not. We have made a thousand choices this year, and these fierce and mighty, wonderful ones were not among them.

Ah, but we are victorious, my girl and I.

Because the little girl who starved is alive and growing and gorgeous and wild.

Because the mother who wept and bled and cracked and prayed is healing, is healed, and unapologetic and solid and sure.

Because we sat in a chair, just us two, only weeks ago and nursed for the very last time like champions, like professionals, like rockstars.

Because for 11 whole months my daughter was fed, from a bottle, from my breast, from a box, by her father, by her grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends and even a stranger or two.

Because for 11 whole months my daughter found comfort in my arms and at my breast and in her father’s bouncing and in our cozy bed and in the laps of a hundred village-dwellers who are so desperately perfectly part of her story.

Because we took the path that was right for us, and we didn’t give up, and in the hundreds of times we failed along the way we never failed for even a moment, because there is no right or wrong way in the face of so darn much love.

There will be a dozen moments when I watch an ample-bossomed mother nursing her toddler and wonder what if, if only, could I or should I or did we? In these moments, I will hold tightly the scared and wounded second-guesser who lives in me, I will comfort her, I will allow her a moment of pause, and then we will move forward to a lifetime of other beautiful things.

A few weeks ago, Fable latched on for what I knew was the last time.

Little love, we are champions. We are rockstars.

We are victory.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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

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