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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.

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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Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

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This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

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This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

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Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

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This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

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This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

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Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

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It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

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I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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