I *should* be emptying the dishwasher, but I’m busy holding my baby

There are so many things I should be doing right now.

My in-laws took my two older children to dance class and then sneaker shopping and I’m home with my almost 4-month-old.

She was just sleeping soundly but was woken up by the little cough she has. She needed to be calmed so I sat with her and nursed her and got her settled. She’s done eating and she’s back to sleep—but I’m still sitting here. Still holding her. Still in this moment.

But there are so many things I should be doing. If I wrote everything out, my list might *actually* be a mile long.

As I sit here with my baby in the rocking chair in my room, I’m looking around at the mess.

I should get up and make our bed and put the laundry away.

But, instead, I’m looking at the little curls of my daughter’s hair.

I should get up and sit back at my desk to answer some emails and finish inputting the data on the spreadsheet I was working on.

But, instead, I’m watching my daughter’s pursed lips look like they’re still sucking on something even though she’s done eating for the moment.

I should get up and throw a load of laundry on or clean up the toys in the living room.

But, instead, I’m relishing in feeling the weight of my baby on my chest. She doesn’t do this much anymore. It is simply the BEST.

I should get up and go through the clothes that don’t fit my kids anymore and reorganize their closet.

But, instead, I’m soaking in this precious time with my youngest while my older kiddos are happily out and about with their grandparents.

I should get up and see what’s available in the fridge or freezer and figure out what we’re going to have for dinner.

But, instead, I’m holding my daughter’s tiny hand, feeling her soft skin against mine, staring at the beautiful rolls in her arms.

I should get up and shower. She’s sleeping and the other two are occupied. Time to wash my hair and shave my legs, right?!

But, instead, I’m sitting here knowing this time goes by way too fast. And this is probably the last newborn of mine I’ll cuddle with like this.

I should get up and clean out my diaper bag or unload the dishwasher or declutter or match up socks or scrub the floor or make another to-do list.

But, instead, I’m watching my daughter’s chest rise and fall. I’m feeling pretty honored to be this girl’s mom. And I’m trying—oh, how I’m trying!—to burn this memory into my psyche so I never really have to let it go.

There are millions of things every single day that I “should” be doing or “could” be doing. Productive things. Efficient things. Responsible things. I’m an adult now, that’s how it works, right?

But I’m also just a mom standing in front of her babies asking them to stop growing up so fast.

My oldest is growing taller every single day. Seriously—her new hobby is growing out of pants because she’s getting so tall.

My middle child just turned two. She’s not really a baby anymore. She’s full on ‘I’m in control, I’ve got this’ toddler-mode.

My youngest is officially four months next week. We’re out of the fourth trimester. The newborn fog is slowly clearing and she’s continuously getting stronger and more alert. I think I am, too.

Life is happening all around us, isn’t it?

So I’ve decided to sort of tone down those “shoulds” and “coulds” a bit. Sure—I do need to actually do the stuff I need to do at some point. I have a job and a house and people to care for. I am down with that.

But time is fleeting. This wild life of raising three little children will one day be my wild life of raising teenagers (faster than I can even imagine, I’m sure).

Whoever said one of our “shoulds” of motherhood couldn’t be that we should sit down and smell our newborn baby’s head and think about how wonderful life is now that she’s here and

There are no ‘rules’ to motherhood—let’s just create our own, shall we?

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


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


My belly has been through some things.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (yep, severe debilitating pregnancy-related vomiting), the pregnancies of each of my four kids, the 65 pounds of weight gain I have endured with each pregnancy, stretch marks, Occupational Therapy for pregnancy pelvic pain, unmedicated childbirth, and of course, postpartum recovery.

It's my personal opinion that this belly deserves some love. So starting with my second pregnancy, I've relied on Belly Bandit's postpartum belly bands (which I own in three sizes) to help support my core, reduce swelling, and begin to activate my midsection after nine months of being stretched to the max.

Here's why I love Belly Bandit:

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

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