Thank you, Gap, for recognizing breastfeeding mamas

For showing something that’s so ‘normal’ to us that we sometimes forget how special it is.

Thank you, Gap, for recognizing breastfeeding mamas

As a mother who is nursing her third child—in the general sense, but also, right this very second as I type this—I want to take a second and thank Gap for including a beautiful portrait of a breastfeeding mother in their latest GapBody campaign. I have praised Target before, for being a safe haven for me and my kids—on days we need to buy all the things in one place and on boring days when we count ‘going to Target’ as an activity. Now, it's Gap’s turn.

Thank you, Gap, for recognizing breastfeeding moms.

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Something about seeing this photo stopped me right in my Instagram-scrolling tracks the other night. There I was, breastfeeding my 5-month-old daughter, up through the night again—doing something totally normal for us and something that’s not very glamorous at all. And then I saw this gorgeous woman and baby—in a mainstream ad—doing the same thing. Feeding her child.

Something about this validated me. I felt seen. Acknowledged. Empowered.

Something that fits into my schedule and routine as naturally as if it were like brushing my teeth in the morning—has also sparked such heated debates or has brought shame from people who don’t want to see or hear about breastfeeding. But, Gap? Gap is doing their part to help normalize breastfeeding in our culture, and quite honestly, I ? am ? here ? for ? it.

So for all the times I felt nervous butterflies in my stomach and sweat forming on my brow as I looked around, unsure if anyone was going to stare at me while nursing my baby in a restaurant or store or park bench because she had to eat and I didn’t want her to be hungry or scream at me, or scramble to find a more secluded place to feed her—thank you, Gap.

For all the trolls who have reported mine and other women’s breastfeeding photos on Instagram or Facebook for being “inappropriate” when they are anything but―thank you, Gap.

For all the times I left the room of a party or social gathering because my baby needed to eat and I felt like I would make people uncomfortable if I nursed her in front of them, so I opted to prioritize their comfort level over mine—thank you, Gap.

For all the (millions?) of times my baby pulled down at my shirt to get milk NOW, in public and at home, so I stopped whatever I was doing to feed her because I’ve typically fed on demand—thank you, Gap.

For all the late, tired nights I’ve spent nursing my baby to comfort her, soothe her, get her back to sleep because that’s the way that worked best for us—thank you, Gap.

For all the early mornings when I brought my baby into bed with me to catch the sunlight through the crack in the window shade as she snuck in her morning feed and I caught up on my morning (social media) feeds—thank you, Gap.

For all the times I forgot to wear a ‘better,’ more accommodating shirt to nurse in as we were out and about and she needed to eat and I was trying to figure out the best way to get my breast out and to her mouth and feeling like I was basically an acrobat in the circus—thank you, Gap.

For all the times I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and had to think about how I was going to get my boobs out of the dress I was wearing to feed my baby and when exactly I was going to take a half hour break to do these sometimes long nursing sessions (wedding timelines, people!)—thank you, Gap.

For all the times I questioned if I was even doing this correctly. I had no clue in the beginning. For all the mamas whose breastfeeding journey didn’t work out the way they hoped. For the heartbreak and pain mothers go through to feed their babies—any way they can, or any way they need to, to nourish their babies―thank you, Gap. ?

For all the times I woke up with full, sore breasts or leaks on my nursing tank—or (yikes!) the many times I leaked publicly through my shirt and didn’t feel very beautiful or glamorous at ALL—thank you, Gap.

For all the times my nipples were cracked, or my letdowns hurt or when I was pregnant and still nursing my 16-month-old and had an aversion to nursing but powered through for two more months because I didn’t really know what to do or how to wean her—thank you, Gap.

For all the times I wished my breasts were perky like they used to be and all the times I’ve looked down on my deflated, ‘flat’ nursing boobs when I should have been celebrating all of the nourishment they have given my children—thank you, Gap.

Thank you for acknowledging that something I and millions of other women and babies do every single day, is beautiful. That this is normal and pretty darn amazing. That it may be as natural to us as remembering to feed ourselves breakfast, or as regular and everyday as putting our shoes on before we leave the house—but it is awesome and worth celebrating.

Thank you, Gap, for recognizing us.

For showing something that’s so ‘normal’ to us that we sometimes forget how special it is.

And for making us feel like the beautiful, breastfeeding queens that we are. ?

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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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.

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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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