I had my breast milk analyzed—and it was surprising

I now know how many calories are in every ounce I pump.

Mom breastfeeding baby

As a mom of three under 3, my last three years of life have been consumed by feeding babies. That's especially true given all the difficulties my children had at gaining weight when they were tiny newborns, which was so anxiety inducing to me.

Their struggles meant that I went from breastfeeding to exclusively pumping for all of them in order to measure exactly how many ounces of milk they were consuming. I've logged so many hours of pumping (maybe even months worth), so many feeds, tracked every little thing they did. With my son, I gave up tracking once he moved to formula—he eventually outpaced my production and going back to work meant I didn't have time to keep up. With my twins, we are almost six months in and I'm still going strong on the logging—which sometimes overwhelms my partner.

All of these years of pumping, logging, bottle feeding, tracking weight, getting anxious about pediatrician appointments, knowing everything about percentile curves made me feel like my milk is inadequate for my babies. Google is never your breast friend, and it was especially true for me when it told me babies should be drinking a certain amount of ounces per day. My twins were not within that range and that opened the floodgates to mom guilt over and over again.

My pediatrician assured me the babies were doing just fine and getting all the calories they needed in a day, however I couldn't stop thinking about my milk, and how maybe it just wasn't enough. So when I had the chance to have my milk tested by Lactation Lab I jumped on it as fast as I could.

Lactation Lab breastmilk test

Lactation Lab basic test

Created by moms for moms, this basic kit tests for four key components: calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat.


The Lactation Lab was founded to empower breastfeeding moms to optimize their children's nutrition by providing scientific data on the composition of their milk.

The process is very simple: I collected pumped milk from several different pumps during the day in a small tube they send you. The idea behind collecting milk from different pumps and not just from one is that your breast milk changes during the day/pump and this allows them to better analyze it. You then freeze the milk and a freezy pack they send. The next day you put it all in a box and ship it through your local mail courrier, wait (as patiently as you can) for a week and your results will be in your inbox. What they test for is super extensive, but I was mostly curious about calories per ounce to see if my liquid gold was indeed… gold.

The results truly surprised me. My report showed that my milk has 23.4 calories per ounce, and for reference, formula has 20 calories per ounce. This gave me peace of mind that the twins were getting enough nutrition from my milk, and maybe even explained why they were eating less ounces a day than what Google said (and reminder, my pediatrician had no concerns about their growth or intake).

The report also gave me a ton of recommendations for my diet. For example, my protein level in milk was within normal ranges but towards the lower end so they included recommendations of what I could eat to increase it.

I won't deny that I'm the first one to stress about all the motherhood related things, but also I like to admit when I come across cool things that put my mind at ease. Lactation Lab is one of those, a way to use science to help breastfeeding moms know how they are doing (great, that's how we are doing!)

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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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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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