How much I gained in two pregnancies

The next time you look in the mirror, remember, you are so very lucky to have gained so much.

How much I gained in two pregnancies

I have gained a lot since I’ve been pregnant. More than I ever thought I would. If my 21-year-old self saw me now, she wouldn’t recognize me. And I’ll be honest, it’s brought me to tears more than once. You want to know how much I’ve gained? I will tell you.

As of today, I’ve gained 41 pounds of a smart, funny, sweet, sensitive, silly human and 22 pounds of snuggly, giggly, curious, chubby-cheeked little human.

Please listen. So much attention is paid to our postpartum physical appearance. Everywhere you look, celebrities are posting bikini selfies days after popping out a kid and the media is screaming at you to “lose the baby weight in 30 days!” and “get your pre-baby body back!” Then we look in the mirror and wonder why our bodies aren’t Victoria’s Secret catalog worthy. That’s why I want to talk not of loss, but of GAIN. Let’s focus on what we really gain when we become mothers.

We gain perspective

Think about what mattered to you before you had a child. Now think about what matters today. Think about when your baby is sick or frustrated or sad, how your heart aches. Think about what keeps you up at night, what is always in the forefront of your mind. Think about how your entire being is affected by just the thought, sight, sound, smell of your baby. Everything in the world is suddenly put in perspective.

We gain the trait of selflessness

It sneaks up on us slowly. We don’t wake up one day deciding to be selfless. It just happens. Our soul takes us gently by the shoulder and guides us in that direction. Quietly. Your world no longer revolves around you as it did in pre-baby life. The part of our self we focus on today exists outside of our body. Every decision we make now, we make with someone else in mind. That someone else comes before everything else.  We sacrifice, which comes in the form of sleep, vanity, time, money and self. And we do it without thought or hesitation; for it is natural to us.

We gain a sense of meaning

The joy, the pain, the highs, the lows. Our life has so much importance now that we are raising little human beings. We have so much power; so much responsibility. The enormity of that is truly daunting and at times it’s just plain overwhelming; yet it’s our reality nonetheless. And we embrace it.

We gain unconditional love

You are “Mama.” In their eyes, there is no one like you in the whole world. They can pick you up out of a line up blind-folded. They need you when they are scared, happy, hurt, proud, sad.  hey need you because you’re you. Period. The love is pure and unique and unconditional.

We gain self-worth

As mothers we are aware that we are imperfect. We constantly strive to earn the title “Mom” by evolving and learning. We know that we know nothing. And yet, our heart tells us we are needed. We are loved. We are good. We are worthy of being his mother.

The next time you look in the mirror and instinctively criticize what you see, please remember this...

Those postpartum arms carry sleepy, warm little bodies to bed, they fall asleep and get numb because you don’t dare move her, they wrap dry towels around shivering shoulders, embrace outstretched arms, deftly catch clumsy toddlers the moment before they hit the ground and lift squealing babies in the air. Your legs have ached as you stood endlessly rocking a newborn, run with lighting speed after a toddler heading toward the road, bent down to pick up dropped pacifiers while still holding your little one on your hip.Your un-manicured hands wipe tear-stained faces and runny noses, rub backs, hold tiny hands, wash dirty feet, tuck in, tickle, cover coughs, push swings, cup vomit, caress cheeks, cool feverish foreheads, calm, comfort, soothe, love.

The next time you look in the mirror, remember, you are so very lucky to have gained so much.

Original story by Jessica Hendrickson for CT Working Moms.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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