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From first latch to weaning and everything in between, breastfeeding is often a long, winding road. Though each woman’s trip down the breastfeeding lane is different from the next, they all share similarities or markers, if you will. Speaking about them and commiserating over them connects mothers, calms anxieties and opens valuable dialogue about various times in your baby’s feeding journey.


I got to interview Veronica Horner, founder and mom boss in charge of Maia Moda, a super chic nursing wear label—because who better to comment on the stages of breastfeeding than someone who’s made it her business to learn about and address one of nursing mother’s biggest pain points: what to wear?!

Veronica, a mother of one (soon to be two!) started the fashion line alongside Gerta Fresheri. The brand is manufactured in the United States in a factory owned by a woman and run by a brilliant all-women staff.

Here are her thoughts about the six unique scenarios breastfeeding women may experiences.

1. Welcome baby: The first latch

Veronica: Ideally, the first latch is recommended to occur within an hour after giving birth. I was honestly shocked when I first learned this, but it makes sense. If all goes well during delivery, why not get started?

It’s a time to savor the sweet moments after birth, be skin to skin and offer comfort for your little babe after he or she enters the world. So, don’t stress and worry if you are doing it right, producing enough milk, etc. There is plenty of time for that.

A post shared by Maia Moda (@maia_moda_mom) on

2. Whose boob is it anyway? Dealing with cluster feeding

Veronica: Ahhh, cluster feeding. I hope you have a comfortable nursing chair!

Cluster feeding is when your little one is non-stop feeding, sometimes with seemingly NO breaks in between. It generally comes in phases and can start as early as 10 days.

Although exhausting, your baby is feeding more often to increase your milk supply to accommodate their growing appetite. This is when your breastfeeding schedule—if you had one—will go out the window. But just remember it's completely normal and natural. I remember during this time I was also extremely hungry, due to producing so much milk, but I was feeding so often I didn’t have much time to eat. At one point, my husband was spoon-feeding me my cereal while I was breastfeeding—that’s what I call team work!

A post shared by Maia Moda (@maia_moda_mom) on

Photo by Ivette Ivens

3. It’s complicated: Breastfeeding issues

Veronica: Unfortunately, there are a number of issues a breastfeeding mom can encounter at any phase. It’s rare that there won’t be some hiccups, so keep in mind that it is all very common and surmountable.

Problems can include sore nipples, mastitis, engorgement, thrush, issues latching and more. I’m not here to solve your challenges for you, but instead to tell you that you’re not alone.

I think the best advice I ever got from my lactation consultant is that it shouldn’t hurt and when it does there is an issue to be solved. If you do have a problem, I think the best thing is to reach out to a certified lactation consultant to help you; La Leche League is a great resource. Although a little Googling can give you some ideas, there is so much misinformation out there that a certified professional is always your best bet.

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4. I’m coming out: Breastfeeding in public

Veronica: The first time you breastfeed in public can be a little intimidating, but I promise it gets easier every time!

Breastfeeding should be something that fits into your life as opposed to the other way around. I know with my short two-hour breaks between feedings, getting baby dressed, out the door and back for the next session was just unrealistic. Women should feel empowered to breastfeed in public how they see fit—with a cover, no cover, discreetly, un-discreetly. A mother’s comfort is most important, and each woman should decide for themselves what is best for her and baby.

Personally, I’ve never had an issue breastfeeding in public. I would breastfeed at restaurants, in parks, at yoga class and more. I was never made to feel uncomfortable by others and always felt very welcomed.

I was lucky. However, I know that isn’t every mother's experience. Therefore, every nursing mother should know that she has the right to breastfeed wherever and wherever, within 47 states in the USA.

Out of the remaining states, South Dakota and Virginia exempt breastfeeding moms from public indecency or nudity laws and, unfortunately, Idaho is the only state that has yet to pass similar laws. (C’mon, Idaho—keep up!). It’s awful if a mother has a bad experience with the public, however, she is on the right side of the law.

A post shared by Maia Moda (@maia_moda_mom) on

5. Going back to work: Bringing home the bacon and the milk

Veronica: Bring out the pump! Going back to work while nursing can complicate things, but the more prep you can do beforehand the smoother it will be. Talk to your boss, get the right equipment, do some practice runs with your bambino and, most importantly, take care of yourself! In the grand scheme of things, the time you'll be pumping at work is quite short. If it means you need to take it a little easier than usual, be kind to yourself and let it be.

An oldie but a goodie. Working mother cradles her child in sling as she cast her vote for EU Parliament.

A post shared by Maia Moda (@maia_moda_mom) on

6. The final stage: Weaning

Veronica: Congrats, Mama, you made it! After all those late nights, milk spills and sore boobs, you and baby are going to start the weaning process.

Whether it is mom-led, baby-led or sometimes just life-led—it will happen at some point. I remember feeling like I had been breastfeeding forever, but when my child finally decided to wean it all seemed to go by too quickly. He ended up going cold turkey at 11 months. Who knew he had it in him? The most difficult part can be dealing with the emotions of it all.

Take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone and as every phase ends another one begins. Now pass the wine!

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas

www.pinterest.com

Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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