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Dad, I'll always be your little girl

Even though I'm a mom now and have children of my own.

father daughter relationship

Dear Dad,

Where do I even begin? Words can't truly describe how much you mean to me and how much I still need you in my life. But here it goes. I'm going to try to explain the magnificent love you have poured into my heart over the years; over the course of your tenure in fatherhood.

You are a jack of all trades and probably one of the smartest men I know. Dad, you were my first love and my first teacher. You taught me how to take my first steps, drive my first car, solve my first quadratic equation. Sure, there were times when my dramatic personality and loud obnoxious screams drove you nuts, but still, you were always there.

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Our daddy and me nights each month still bring a smile to my face. It's also something my husband and I have decided to pass on to our children. A legacy of sorts. It's so neat to see our daughter's eyes light up when she realizes she gets that time with her dad. It reminds me of just how special a father's love is.

Though childhood is magical and carefree, there were more serious times when I needed you as well. Like when I found out I had scoliosis and need to wear a full torso brace for 24 hours a day. The doctor's appointments wouldn't have been the same without your steadiness. You kept us calm and optimistic even when the doctors said my curve was getting worse and I needed surgery.

After my surgery, you had to drive us out of New York City with minimal bumps, jerks or sudden stops. Of course, Mom was fearful that something would go wrong and a bump would jeopardize my body's ability to fully recover from surgery. But you did it. We made it out all in one peace, without any drama. You were so patient and calm, like in so many other high-stakes moments throughout our lives.

You continue to do this today. When life gets fuzzy and I'm about to lose it, your calm steady spirit relaxes me.

Just the other week our raised garden box completely broke and hundreds of pounds of dirt were all over our patio. Within 15 minutes you were there helping us brainstorm how to fix it. Just your presence made me feel better.

Not once do you complain. Not once do you ever seem bothered by my questions or my pleading for help. You have always lovingly offered yourself. Thank you.

I also needed you when I was diagnosed with a benign yet potentially aggressive desmoid tumor two years back. Your steadiness, your prayers, your optimism did not go unnoticed. It kept me going.

I still need your encouragement. I still need to hear you say, "Lauren it's going to be okay."

When you email me every anniversary of my scoliosis surgery you don't realize how much that means to me. When I hear you say, "I'm proud of you," or "You are an awesome mother," my heart immediately overflows. Those words are priceless coming from you.

No doubt, moms are needed. They are nurturing, loving and give themselves without expecting anything in return. Yet there is something special about a dad's love.

Dad, you are strong. You are the calm in the midst of life's storms. You are a leader. Someone filled with wisdom and knowledge. You are funny, witty, engaging and courageous.

It's true, even though I am in my 30s I still need you.

When faced with challenging life situations, financial decisions or unexpected household drama, you are often the first person I call. I don't know what I would do without you. I know it's not just me who needs you. It's so special to see our children's eyes light up when they hear "Bop" is coming over. They treasure time with you.

I know there is a special place in your heart for your kids. A place where you feel proud to be able to help your children. Even if we are capable adults! Dad, I want to honor you for all the years you have honored me. I see you. I recognize you. I cherish you!

Thank you, Dad.

Love,

Your (not so little) girl

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

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

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.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 supporting 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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