The ‘firsts’ of motherhood are exciting, but the ‘lasts’ are so bittersweet

The ‘firsts’ are talked about and remembered, but what about the lasts?

The ‘firsts’ of motherhood are exciting, but the ‘lasts’ are so bittersweet

I remember when I saw my daughter smile for the first time. We were hanging out on the couch at home—her second week of life. She was sleeping, I was staring, and then it happened—she smiled this big, happy, sleepy smile. I got my phone out and held it in front of her face waiting for her to do it again. She magically did and I magically caught it on camera.

I’m sure she was only passing gas or dreaming about her next marathon nursing session, but still—I just remember that moment so vividly as her ‘first smile.’

I can recall many of my children’s firsts. They were exhilarating! Watching my baby take her first steps was beyond exciting. Hearing ‘Mama’ or ‘I love you’ those first few times never got old.


The ‘firsts’ are talked about and remembered and held on these high pedestals as congratulatory trophies we share with our children to celebrate a job well done in this journey together.

But what about the lasts? The lasts sort of sneak into our lives—not necessarily unwanted, not totally unexpected—but very unprepared for.

My friend recently told me about how her son wasn’t nursing as much anymore and with every time he did nurse, she wondered if it would be their last time.

I remember that exact feeling with both of my daughters who are no longer nursing. I have about 100 ‘mom and me’ breastfeeding selfies in my iCloud to prove it. Every time we nursed, toward the end, I wondered if it would be the last. I wanted to hold on to that moment forever—to sear it into my memory so it would never leave me.

Maybe that’s why we don’t talk about the ‘lasts’ as much. Maybe because they are so bittersweet it hurts. Maybe it’s because we can’t actually imagine a world where we are not needed and wanted in the way only our little ones can need and want us.

Maybe it’s because the ‘lasts’ actually break our hearts a little.

And now I’m getting choked up just even thinking about some of the lasts I still will go through.

When will my last baby nurse for the last time? I know the sadness and flood of mixed emotions that comes with closing the chapter of breastfeeding your baby. I’ve gone through it twice. So now, with my final baby, will I cherish those last few months even more? Will I be more prepared knowing the emotional pain it will inevitably bring me? (I think I already know that answer.)

When will I get the final ‘please pick me up’ request from my preschooler? She still occasionally asks me to carry her when she’s super tired or sad or hurt. I almost always oblige because, well, she is still my baby no matter how tall she gets.

When will I hear my 2-year-old mutter ‘Mommy, will you lay with me?’ for the last time? I secretly love when she does so I can take a break with her and lay beside her crib to keep her company while she falls asleep.

When will the last time be when we hear little toddler feet pitter-patter into our room and climb into our bed? Some nights, after a bad dream or an accident, one of our girls will come snuggle with us. But one day they’ll decide they won’t need mom or dad to help them calm down anymore, they’ll be able to do that on their own.

When will their enthusiasm for breakfast-for-dinner wane? When will I hear their final squeals of joy over the chocolate chip pancakes we’re making together at 5 pm on a Wednesday? I hope never. Can we pretend like that will never happen?

When will they choose to hang out with me over their friends for the last time? They love being home with me baking cookies or reading stories. They laugh at my corny jokes and look at me like I’m Wonder Woman. One day they’ll say, “Sorry, Mom. I’m going to the movies with friends.” And truth be told—I’m not sure how I’ll take it.

I guess what it comes down to is—I never know when the last time will be that they need me and not someone else. Right now, I’m their go-to. But one day that will change. That’s supposed to change, and I get that. But it doesn’t makes these ‘lasts’ any easier.

Because these ‘lasts’ are hard. But they’re mine. They’re pieces of my motherhood journey that I will carry with me until my end of days. The hard parts may not always be pleasant or perfect, but they’re part of my story and I’m grateful for them. I own them as much as all the magical moments, and I don’t want to be cheated of either.

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These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

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When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

Our Partners

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

Our Partners

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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