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It's the last day I will ever breastfeed my baby—and my emotions are all over the place

I have known this moment was coming for a while.

Not only did I know it was coming, but I had been eagerly waiting for it. I was done with breastfeeding. I wanted my body back. I wanted my flexibility back. I no longer wanted to be solely responsible for providing nourishment for my daughter.

Today I breastfed my daughter for the last time. Today I said goodbye to a closeness unlike any other.

And I am sad.

Why is this so hard to accept?

When my daughter was born, I never expected I would make it this long breastfeeding her. She was my second child so I assumed things would develop in a similar pattern as they had previously. With my first, I had not felt connected to breastfeeding at all. It was not this magical bonding experience I had always hoped it would be.

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I still felt it was important to give him breast milk so I started pumping, thinking that would be easier. Now not only was my body required to provide full nourishment to this little person, but I had to do so by being connected to a machine. While I loved being able to feed my son, pumping was so time-consuming. I set this arbitrary goal to get to six months and I did it. I was able to wean easily, and we moved on. That was it.

When my daughter was born, she had a different plan. She loved breastfeeding and hated the bottle. She would nurse easily and quickly, and we got into a good rhythm almost immediately.

Breastfeeding soothed her and helped her fall asleep. She seemed to be thriving, so we just kept with it. The months kept going and I kept breastfeeding and before I knew it, the six-month mark had come and gone and I had no plan or intention to stop. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding for the first year, so I started to think this would be our next milestone.

As she got older, and I started working outside of our home more, she got more bottles. It was great that someone else could help feed her, but it also meant I needed to pump.

I started to resent it. I still really enjoyed nursing her but struggled with being connected to a machine once again.

I know it is the right time for us. I know that this is a good time to end this phase of her life. And I know I am ready. Except I didn't expect to feel this way.

Since I knew the end of breastfeeding was coming, I focused on enjoying each time we nursed and savoring the feelings I had. But in doing this, I was getting more and more upset about stopping.

So I tried to also look towards the future and what I would be gaining after this journey came to an end. I started to get excited about all the clothes I could wear that were not options currently because my boobs were not accessible. I thought about the freedom of going to work without having to make sure I had a pump session scheduled.

Looking back, I know this journey taught me a lot. It taught me how strong I am. It provided proof of how amazing a woman's body really is. My body may not look exactly like I want it to as a result, but I grew and fed two amazing humans. Having spent my career helping others develop more positive body acceptance, I have had to dig deep and listen to some of my own advice. It has not been easy but I am getting there.

This journey has also taught me how remarkably different the same experience can be with two different babies. Allowing each experience to play out on its own allows for satisfaction and enjoyment with it, regardless of how it may or may not meet our expectations.

As with anything in life, this ending marks a chance for a new beginning. A new relationship with my daughter and a new type of freedom for both of us. But it's still not easy. One of the things I'm having the hardest time with is thinking that these newborn milestones are behind me. That I will possibly never have this experience with another baby ever again.

Whether you breastfed for a full year (or two), one day, or not at all, whether you chose to end the relationship or your baby makes this decision for you, we are all rock stars. Being a mother is like no other job in the world, and requires a level of responsibility and commitment that is unmatched. This breastfeeding journey taught me that.

I am proud of myself for what I accomplished, and also proud of myself for knowing when it was time for me to stop. Motherhood brings with it countless chances to learn about yourself and what you are capable of. So here's to the next journey (and the one after that!)

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    These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

    It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

    When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

    But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

    I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

    So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

    It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

    But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


    Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


    Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

    Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

    Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

    Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


    This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

    Letterboard

    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

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    100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

    From Adelia to Ziggy.

    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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