I struggled with breastfeeding but not in the way you might think

My supply was too strong. The flow choked my infant, who gulped to try and keep up with the stream. He spit up constantly.

I struggled with breastfeeding but not in the way you might think

When I was pregnant with my son I heard from all corners of the court that "breast is best." As a self-proclaimed warrior of anxiety—with constant thoughts about my precious newborn contracting all kinds of horrible ailments—I rolled up my sleeves and set about learning as much as I could on breastfeeding.

Books, articles, long chats with friends who had kids, courses at the hospital: I approached the topic from all angles. I felt prepared and I readied myself that it doesn't always come easy. A few friends shared their struggles with undersupply and the ways they tried to boost their milk production. I bought the teas, had a list of power foods in the kitchen and expected to struggle.

And struggle I did, but not in any of the ways I anticipated.

My milk came in the first night we were home from the hospital, while my baby boy surprisingly slept peacefully. The rush of hormones woke me up from the sleep I very much needed, triggering a visceral, full-body response.

I felt breathless with a racing heart, dizzy, drenched in sweat. I was engorged and confused, still acclimating to my new role as mom. I woke up my husband, who called the OB's nightline. She assured me it was hormones and told me to try and get some sleep.

That day, I struggled to practice the techniques the lactation consultant showed us at the hospital before we left. But my supply was too strong. The flow choked my infant, who gulped to try and keep up with the stream. He spit up constantly. It was normal, I read. Once a few days passed, things would regulate. The engorgement would stop. Feedings would be peaceful, serene.

But there was nothing serene about pulling out beach towels each time my son needed to nurse to keep both of us dry from my overproducing breasts. Over the next months, I tried all the tricks. I manually expressed a little before he latched, I avoided my electric pump at all costs to prevent overstimulation, I block-fed to get my supply in check. I avoided oatmeal like the plague and gave up the Guinness I'd been dreaming of all pregnancy. No luck.

I was constantly uncomfortable, and so was my son.

Somewhere along the way—around 8 weeks—my son's diapers started to look wrong. Colors and consistencies were off, and when a few streaks of blood stopped my heart, we rushed to the pediatrician. "Milk-soy protein intolerance," they diagnosed. "Here's your new diet."

I cried in the grocery store, as I tried to navigate what I could and couldn't eat, knowing my hungry baby was waiting for me at home. No matter how diligently I followed my new diet, nothing changed the fussy feedings, my abundant supply and my son's scary diapers.

Each doctor we saw shrugged and told us the same thing, "He's growing just fine. Whatever you're doing, just keep doing it." Of course my 95th percentile baby was piling on the pounds – I was drowning him with milk each time he rooted.

Hours spent Googling brought me to the intricate mom boards of the deep web, where a handful of people talked about oversupply issues and similar diaper problems. My gut was telling me that was the answer. But I just kept forging forward, wondering how I'd ever be able to stop nursing.

The guilt piled on as I thought of women who struggled to build a supply, begging their bodies to produce, while I silently wished mine would just dry up.

When my maternity leave came to an end and I returned to work, I found myself in the lactation room pumping 20 ounces in one, 15-minute session. I realized right then and there that pumping would just exacerbate my problem. I was dehydrated and constantly starving, no matter how much I ate or drank.

As my son grew to love the pace of his bottles, he cuddled in at night for snuggles instead of nursing sessions. He smiled up at me when I tried giving him a bottle myself one night, and I knew he was telling me to stop nursing. And when his diapers started to look normal, I did.

But, as expected, it wasn't easy. Stopping brought with it hormonal protests backed by migraines, panic attacks and vertigo. Through it all, I struggled with the guilt of wasting my supply and robbing my child of that closeness, just when he was starting daycare. I obsessed over news stories of mothers donating excess milk and chided myself for not being stronger.

But you know what? I am strong. Strong enough to realize that guilt couldn't make my decisions for me.

When I finally dried my supply up and my hormones found some semblance of balance, we all benefited. I could focus on spending quality time with my husband and son instead of obsessing over unexplained diapers and strict diets and fighting our way through nursing sessions. And all that newfound time spent cuddling over good books and singing silly songs kept us just as close.

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We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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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