Getting your body ‘back’—and other new mom expectations you can just ignore

The transition to motherhood is complex and intense. It brings with it immeasurable joy, but it is not without some pain (physical and emotional) and plenty of confusion.

And pressure. Lots of pressure—from yourself and from those around you.

While it’s not always possible to control the external pressures, you can absolutely work to alleviate the pressure that’s coming from within.

Here are a few of the new mom expectations I suggest tossing out ASAP:

Getting your body “back”

Here’s a secret: your body never left. It definitely changed, but it’s still there and it’s still yours.

No matter how you came to be a mom—whether you gave birth, used a surrogate, or adopted—your body is under some major stress and has changed accordingly. If you gave birth, your body is forever changed. Things shifted and stretched in ways that don’t go back to their original. And that is okay. You aren’t the same person you were before the baby.


This doesn’t mean that you won’t get back into your pre-baby clothes at some point, if that’s what you’d like to do. It doesn’t mean that you will never feel confident in your new body. I’m just saying that it’s time to give yourself a little grace. You are busy caring for a different little body right now. Nourish your body so you have the energy to do that, but don’t worry so much about “repairing” it. It’s not broken.

Doing anything but the bare minimum each day

Do you know what else won’t look quite the same as it did before baby? Your home. There will be more dishes piled in the sink, and they’ll stay there a little longer than they did before.

There will be burp cloths, pacifiers, bottles and tiny socks strewn about.

Meals won’t look as elaborate as before.

And that is okay. Do the bare minimum: feed yourself and baby, get some rest, and, if the weather allows, spend a few minutes outside even if it’s just sitting on the back steps.

Your new “bare minimum” is actually some of the most important work there is. You’ve kept an entirely dependent being thriving for another day. That is no small feat, and you should be proud of your daily accomplishment. Even if you haven’t showered in awhile.

Returning to physical intimacy with your partner right away

You may have heard the phrase “touched out” before you became a mom, and had a vague idea of what the person was talking about. But now that you have an adorable, warm, squishy, tiny being who insists on being in physical contact with you for at least 22 hours a day, the phrase has taken on a whole new meaning.

Baby snuggles are amazing, but the constant physical contact can leave you drained and craving a bit of personal space. So when your partner wants physical intimacy, you may find yourself torn. Yes, you want to connect with them in the same ways you used to, but you also want some time without being touched. And that is okay.

This is a great opportunity to find other ways to maintain intimacy in your relationship. Have an honest conversation with your partner about your need for space and that it doesn’t mean you’ve lost interest or don’t love them. Offer suggestions of other things you can do together. Is it possible to get a babysitter for even just an hour to go get coffee together or run an errand without baby? Or maybe hold hands during your next family walk.

These things seem small but they allow you and your partner to reconnect as a couple, without increasing your feeling of touched out-ness.

The idea that you don’t matter anymore

Your life has pretty much been put on hold while you turn your attention toward taking care of your new baby. You may be away from work for several weeks or months, or maybe you have left the office behind permanently now. Dinners out with your partner or friends are few and far between. And let’s be honest here, they aren’t happening at all for a while. The shower is staying cleaner than ever because it’s hardly being used. And your makeup is collecting dust.

It can be easy to start to wonder if you even exist anymore as an individual, or if you’ve just become baby’s mom.

Let me tell you this loud and clear: you exist and you matter. Now more than ever before.

So what to do about it? Grab hold to one very simple, not too time consuming thing you can do solely for yourself each day. I’m talking the basics here.

After the birth of my third child, I chose washing my face each night as my thing. It was five minutes alone each evening doing something that I enjoyed and that benefitted only me. My husband looked at me a little funny the first few nights after I implemented this routine, when I would hand him a crying baby while I went off to do something as trivial as washing my face.

But I told him I needed that five minutes to feel like I mattered and like I was still myself. He understood, and I haven’t missed a night since.

So wash your face, drink a cup of tea alone on the back porch, read five pages of a book, do whatever it takes to connect to yourself every day even if just for a few minutes.

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.


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!


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.


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. 🙌


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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