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To my little nursling,

You are 6 weeks old and I cannot imagine you ever being any different to how you are right now. You are magic and I love you unconditionally.

But, honestly? I am exhausted.

Breastfeeding is exhausting—you seem to want to cluster-feed all the time. You don't like being put down—sometimes you'll fall asleep on my arm only to jolt wide awake the moment I try to move you or pass you to someone else.

But I'm a second-time mom and a seasoned breastfeeder—a nursing veteran, if you will—and I know that this period is fleeting. I know that one day I will miss all of this and wonder how I could have resented even a second of this time together.

I will miss being able to fix anything and everything with milk. When you got your vaccinations you barely made a peep because I was able to nurse you right after and you were comforted by that. When your tongue-tie was cut when you were a month old, you let out an enormous shriek that was instantly muffled as I pulled you towards me to relearn your nursing skills once more.

I will miss you being so portable. I can take you anywhere and never have to worry about you being hungry or thirsty or sad because we have everything we need with us—my breasts for breastmilk.

I'll miss having an excuse to cuddle you all the time. To ignore the chaos of the house around me as you become calm in my arms while you nurse. I will miss the rush of euphoria I feel when I succeed at helping you relax and fall asleep.

I'll miss feeling your tiny body against mine. Your warm, perfect, unblemished skin against my palm as I hold you to my chest. I will miss the feel of your tiny hand on my breast, rather than scratching my face, pulling my hair or tearing at my jewlery—all of that joy comes later! 😂

But soon, I'll miss that too. I'll miss the fingernails on my face as you nurse. The experimental yet excruciating nibbles as your teeth come through.

One day you'll need more than breastmilk to comfort you. One day I'll need to carry snacks and water everywhere we go. One day you'll toss and turn at night and for whatever reason, nursing you to sleep won't work its magic as it does now.

One day you'll have your last drink and I won't realize that it's the last. Perhaps I'll cut the nursing session short because it's late and I need to get ready for work. Perhaps I'll be impatient or get frustrated with you for biting me or pulling on my hair. Perhaps it'll just be a normal, uneventful moment. But the next day, I'll offer you my breast, and you'll say no. The day after that, you'll say no again.

And just like that, our nursing journey will be over.

No more simple solutions. No more immediate comfort when you get your vaccinations. I took your 18-month-old sister to the doctor yesterday and felt helpless as she cried against my chest, the chest she self-weaned from the day before you were born. I wished she still nursed so I could take away her pain and stress.

No more nursing to sleep, nursing past a stuffy nose, nursing on a plane during take-off and landing.

I'll be glad you're growing up, just as I am with your sister. I'll be glad that you were able to nurse for as long as you wanted to, and that together we shared that bond between us. But for now, let me remember to love every time you bob your head up and down on Daddy's chest until he's forced to hand you over to me.

Let me relish the weight of your sleeping body in the crook of my arm, post-feed. Let me find joy in the hours upon hours I spend trapped under your wriggling body, drenched in sweat and milk as you fuss between latches. Let me notice the beauty in all of the mess and boredom and exhaustion that comes with breastfeeding.

Because one day it'll all be gone and I'll wonder how I could have ever resented even a moment of it.

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We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.

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If there are two things a mama is guaranteed to love, it's Target plus adorable and functional baby products. Target's exclusive baby brand Cloud Island has been a favorite destination for cute and affordable baby clothing and décor for nearly two years and because of that success, they're now expanding into baby essentials. 🙌

The new collection features 30 affordable products starting at $0.99 and going up to $21.99 with most items priced under $10—that's about 30-40% less expensive than other products in the market. Mamas can now enjoy adding diapers, wipes, feeding products and toiletries to their cart alongside clothing and accessories from a brand they already know and love.


The best part? The Target team has ensured that the affordability factor doesn't cut down on durability by working with hundreds of parents to create and test the collection. The wipes are ultra-thick and made with 99% water and plant-based ingredients, while the toiletries are dermatologist-approved. With a Tri-Wrap fold, the diapers offer 12-hour leak protection and a snug fit so parents don't have to sacrifice safety or functionality.

So when can you start shopping? Starting on January 20, customers can shop the collection across all stores and online. We can't wait to see how this beloved brand expands in the future.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Many people experience the "winter blues," which are often worst in northern climates from November to March, when people have less access to sunlight, the outdoors and their communities. Another 4% develops Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of clinical depression that often requires formal treatment.

If you have the winter blues, you may feel “blah," sad, tired, anxious or be in a worse mood than usual. You may struggle with overeating, loss of libido, work or sleep issues. But fear not—it is possible to find your joy in the winter, mama.

Here are eight ways to feel better:

1. Take a walk

Research has shown that walking on your lunch break just three times per week can reduce tension, relax you and improve your enthusiasm. If you are working from 9 to 5, the only window you have to access natural sunlight may be your lunch hour, so head outside for a 20 minute brisk but energizing walk!

If you are home, bundle up with your kids midday—when the weather is often warmest—and play in the snow, go for a short walk, play soccer, race each other, or do something else to burn energy and keep you all warm. If you dress for the weather, you'll all feel refreshed after some fresh air.

2. Embrace light

Research suggests that a full-spectrum light box or lamp, which mimics sunlight, can significantly improve the symptoms of the winter blues and has a similar effect to an antidepressant. Bright light at a certain time every day activates a part of the brain that can help restore normal circadian rhythms. While light treatment may not be beneficial for everyone (such as people who have bipolar disorder), it may be a beneficial tool for some.

3. Plan a winter trip

It may be helpful to plan a getaway for January or February. Plan to take it very easy, as one research study found that passive vacation activities, including relaxing, "savoring," and sleeping had greater effects on health and well-being than other activities. Engaging in passive activities on vacation also makes it more likely that your health and well-being will remain improved for a longer duration after you go back to work.

Don't overschedule your trip. Relax at a beach, a pool, or a cabin instead of waiting in long roller coaster lines or visiting packed museums. Consider visiting or traveling with family to help with child care, build quiet time into your vacation routine, and build in a day of rest, recovery, and laundry catch-up when you return.

4. Give in to being cozy

Sometimes people mistake the natural slowness of winter as a problem within themselves. By making a concerted effort to savor the slowness, rest and retreat that complement winter, you can see your reduction in activity as a natural and needed phase.

Research suggests that naps help you release stress. Other research suggests that when your brain has time to rest, be idle, and daydream, you are better able to engage in "active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing," which is important for socioemotional health.

Make a "cozy basket" filled with your favorite DVDs, bubble bath or Epsom salts, lemon balm tea (which is great for “blues,") or chamomile tea (which is calming and comforting), citrus oils (which are good for boosting mood), a blanket or a favorite book or two. If you start to feel the blues, treat yourself.

If your child is napping or having quiet time in the early afternoon, rest for a full 30 minutes instead of racing around doing chores. If you're at work, keep a few mood-boosting items (like lavender spray, tea, lotion, or upbeat music) nearby and work them into your day. If you can't use them at work, claim the first 30 minutes after your kids are asleep to nurture yourself and re-energize before you tackle dishes, laundry, or other chores.

5. See your friends

Because of the complex demands of modern life, it can be hard to see or keep up with friends or family. The winter can make it even harder. While you interact with your kids throughout the day, human interaction with other adults (not just through social media!) can act as a protective layer to keep the winter blues at bay.

Plan a monthly dinner with friends, go on a monthly date night if you have a partner, go to a book club, get a drink after work with a coworker, visit a friend on Sunday nights, or plan get-togethers with extended family. Research suggests that social interactions are significantly related to well-being.

Realize that given most families' packed schedules, you may need to consistently take the lead in bringing people together. Your friends will probably thank you, too.

6. Get (at least) 10 minutes of fresh air

A number of research studies have shown positive effects of nature on well-being, including mental restoration, immune health, and memory. It works wonders for your mood to get outside in winter, even if it's just for 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. You might walk, snowshoe, shovel, go sledding or go ice-skating. If you can't get outside, you might try these specific yoga poses for the winter blues.

7. Add a ritual

Adding a ritual to your winter, such as movie night, game night, hot chocolate after playing outside, homemade soup on Sundays, or visiting with a different friend every Saturday morning for breakfast, can add beauty and flow to the seemingly long months of winter. Research has suggested that family rituals and traditions, such as Sunday dinner, provide times for togetherness and strengthening relationships.

8. Talk to a professional

Counseling, which helps you identify the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, can be extremely helpful for the winter blues (especially when you are also experiencing anxiety or stress). A counselor can assist you with identifying and honoring feelings, replacing negative messages with positive ones, or shifting behaviors. A counselor may also help you indulge into winter as a time of retreat, slowness, planning, and reflecting. You may choose to use the winter to get clear on what you'd like to manifest in spring.

The opposite of the winter blues is not the absence of the winter blues—it's taking great pleasure in the unique contribution of a time of cold, darkness, retreat, planning, reflecting, being cozy and hibernating. Nurturing yourself and your relationships can help you move toward winter joy.

Weary mama,

You are incredibly strong. You are so very capable.

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