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An open letter to my pre-baby body

I miss you. But not as much as I originally thought I did.

An open letter to my pre-baby body

Dear pre-baby body,

I don’t remember what you feel like.


It’s been too long since you’ve been around to wear my “skinny” jeans.

It’s summer and I miss throwing on a bikini on without a second thought. Instead, I’m searching for tankinis with underwire support and maximum coverage.

Sometimes I feel like you never existed. Did I dream you?

I wonder if you’d recognize me with my new post-baby-making (and currently-baby-growing) #mombod.

We’ve been through a lot. I’m talking stretch marks, extra padding, and post-nursing-now-pregnant-and-confused-boobs. This body is new; it’s one I’ve only had for two years, so it’s hard to even recognize myself sometimes.

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Three years ago, this body was all “let me flash my toned arms and shoulders as much as possible” at my wedding. And yesterday, because I felt like testing my emotional stability, I put on my wedding gown and cried while I tried to zip it. Then I took it off and went to the gym and ate ice cream. I thought about how as much as I was proud of my in-shape wedding body, I still remember the small sad feeling of wishing I could have fit in just one more barre class, to lose just three more pounds. I wanted to be perfectly perfect.

Why didn’t you tell me that I was enough? I was happy with myself, but I now realize I wasn’t as happy as I should have been. To start, I didn’t appreciate what great shape I was already in, and how much time I could spend working out. I never noticed how easy it was to pick out an outfit because my clothes fit fine off-the-rack. Back then, I was searching for a “perfect” that didn’t exist, doesn’t exist and will never exist. I was enough. But, I think my body had to go through pregnancy and life postpartum to truly understand and accept that; to realize that I am enough whether I’m pregnant, not pregnant, carrying extra baby weight, or at my goal weight.

My pregnancies and postpartum life have been enlightening.

I’ve gained respect and admiration for what my body can do. A little human is living inside of me right nowthat has to be worth a few (or 50) extra pounds, right?

My first child has helped me accept my body. I don’t see her worrying about her pants feeling a bit tight (she’s a big jeggings fan, so she’s down with that).

Plus, the experience of social media motherhood (through places like the #TakePostpartumBack Instagram movement) has given me the gift of inspiration from other women; we’re all just trying to find a place where we’re comfortable with and proud of our bodies.

And the time I have to work out now that I’m a mother is sacred. It recharges me and keeps me sane.

In the end, I’ve learned a great deal of patience—patience with losing baby weight, with my ever-changing body throughout my childbearing years, and with my daily clothing frustrations.

I think I’m finally coming to terms with saying goodbye to you, my pre-baby body. Sure you looked great and felt great, but you hadn’t yet experienced the crazy-wonderful event that is childbirth. And you hadn’t yet given me the greatest gifts of my life: my children. This post-baby body has taught me many lessons. Instead of striving for “perfectly perfect,” I am okay with perfectly imperfect. This is a body that will always be a work in progress.

I will continue to strive for health, strength and a positive body image. I want my daughter and baby-on-the-way to live in a world where they are proud of their minds and bodies. Where they aren’t constantly judging themselves against their peers. And where they can confidently look to their mother for guidance and support on their journeys to bodily acceptance, admiration, and respect.

Thank you for what you’ve given me, and what you’ve taught me. I miss you. But not as much as I originally thought I did.

With love,

Colleen

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

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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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