The mama milestone I will *never* forget

My daughter got her first period and it was emotional for me.

The mama milestone I will *never* forget

The day before my 21st birthday, I learned I was pregnant. I was in my junior year of college and head over heels in love with my best friend. Though I was not entirely sure about what to major in, I was sure that I wanted to have our baby.

Which doesn't mean I wasn't scared—because I was terrified. In those early days right after I found out, I would look at my naked body in the mirror and stare at my stomach. I searched for some physical sign of the tremendous turn my life had taken but from what I could see, I didn't look any different. I took my prenatal vitamins, and once the morning sickness wore off, I did my best to eat foods I thought would help my baby grow. I started to eventually feel the change happening inside me.


I had all sorts of worries during my pregnancy and throughout those early postpartum days—especially around what it meant to raise a daughter in this world. We live in a society that doesn't always treat us fairly, and becoming a mother to a girl brought that reality into sharp focus for me.

I wanted to be sure my daughter grew up confident, with a secure knowledge of her worth.

I wanted her to understand that her body was sacred ground.

I wanted her to feel an expansive sense of possibility.

I wanted her to know what a magical thing it was to be a girl, and one day a woman.

When my daughter would come home from preschool she would tell me all about her day and all about her classmates' and teachers' days, too. She was a fountain of information. I knew mothers of other children in her class and they would complain about not knowing anything about their kids' days, but I couldn't relate. That was not my life.

Even when I was tired and less than excited to hear about the intricacies of preschool life, I still encouraged her to tell me about it. I sat and listened and asked questions because I wanted to build a strong foundation for a relationship where she felt like she could tell me things, one where she knew I was always there for her.

As my little girl became a big girl and her time in elementary school wound down, our relationship shifted. She still came home eager to tell me things about her day, but I could tell there were things she was keeping to herself. It bothered me at first, but I learned that that distance was a part of the journey of motherhood. Knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

It wasn't about anything I had done or not done. It wasn't about me at all—it was about my daughter finding her way, finding herself. So I tried to limit when I pushed and let her share when she wanted to share.

And then one summer morning, she shared with me that she had gotten her period for the first time.

I was 11 when I got my period and I didn't know what it was when it happened. I saw this brownish-red smear in my underwear and was mortified. I actually hid it for days, until I started to worry that I might be bleeding internally and figured the shame of disclosing what was happening to my mother was worth it if it meant I wouldn't die.

When I told her, she got really excited. She told me I had gotten my period and that it meant I was growing up—that I could even get pregnant (which sounded terrible to me at the time). She decided we should throw a party. She sent invitations to a couple of my friends from school and gave out tampons and pads as party favors. There was even a cake.

When I've relayed this story to people over the years, they always remark on how cool it is that my mother reacted this way. But it didn't feel "cool" to me at the time and I spent most of the party hiding in the bathroom.

When my daughter told me she had gotten her period, I wanted to make sure she felt celebrated and nurtured, but also respected. I wanted to honor the way she wanted to mark this milestone and transition in her life.

We went on a walk together—just the two of us. I asked her how she was feeling and gave her space to answer. I didn't offer up my own feelings or share what my period was like for me until she asked. I wanted to let her experience be her own.

She wasn't afraid the way I was and she didn't share the excitement my mother expressed either. Her energy was softer, more thoughtful. She told me I had prepared her well. She took it as a rite of passage, and we honored her milestone the way she requested—with face masks, tea and cookies.

And it's one of my mama milestones I'll never forget.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

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

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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