I have mom-shamed myself more times than I can count—and I'm done

Stop shaming yourself. Start praising yourself instead.

I have mom-shamed myself more times than I can count—and I'm done

My first experience with mom-shaming happened when I experienced difficulty producing milk for my newborn child. "What is going on? Why is nothing coming out?" someone once said to me. And the time I heard, "Are you sure you can't try harder to give him breastmilk instead?" will never leave my memory.

A few months later, I looked down at my belly in a swimsuit. The pudge was still there, even after months of exercise, healthy eating and breastfeeding. Someone had the gall to tell me that I wasn't working hard enough and that I was doing something wrong. She looked at my C-section scar and told me it was weird-looking and dark.


More mom-shaming came my way when it was time for me to go back to work. I was torn. Part of me wanted to get back into the swing of things, have more adult conversations and be "productive" again. And another part longingly wished to stay home with my child.

Someone told me it was best to leave early and spend more time with my child. "You're going to miss all of his early, important years," she scolded. Another woman countered and said, "I would get so bored if I stayed home all day."

When my son was 17 months and still not walking on his own, I was a bit worried. I started doing some research to understand when the typical age range for walking was. Even after some relief in realizing he was still within the normal range, I heard someone say that it was a bit strange that he wasn't walking by now which fueled my worries.

I've lived with all of this shame. Sometimes, it's unbearable enough to keep me awake at night. Their voices echo in the stillness of my dark bedroom, forcing me to question whether I'm doing a good enough job as a mom.

So who are these mommy shamers? Well, they're all me. They're the voices inside my head telling me I can't do this or I should do that.

Sometimes, I'm strong enough to ignore the voices shaming me. A moment of clarity will come and I'll go days or even weeks thinking I'm doing my best and everything is how it's supposed to be. I'll also realize that this moment of clarity is fleeting—that, inevitably, the doubts will creep back in. But the constant ebb and flow of doubt and confidence is just part of life. And that realization is enough to get me out of bed and start my day.

In one way or another, we've all been mom-shamed. Typically, the worst villain is that voice inside our head—a voice that can be very hard to quiet.

Sure, you'll make mistakes. But you're allowed to make them because you're human and parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world. While those mistakes don't define you, they are essential. They're how we all grow.

So next time you hear that shamer start bubbling up because you're unsure of what to do or because you've made a mistake or you're just having a bad day, go ahead and kindly tell her to GO AWAY. She has misled you before, let us try our best not to allow her to do it again.

She was probably the one who said you weren't good enough to try out for that play or for the tennis team. She likely told you the wrong way to break up with the person you were dating or that a certain dress didn't suit you. She told you you could never run your own company or get promoted.

You deserve better than that, mama. You're intelligent. You're hard-working. You're empathetic. You're talented. You're courageous. You're the boss of your own life.

And you're enough. Just as you are.

Stop shaming yourself. Start praising yourself instead.

You've got this.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

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 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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