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Breastfeeding didn't work out for me—but here's what I gained instead

I'm not a superhero, and even the most convincing of capes couldn't change that. I'm a beautifully fragile human, who needs to be kinder to herself.

Breastfeeding didn't work out for me—but here's what I gained instead

I thought breastfeeding would be so easy.

It's natural, isn't it? That's what women have done since the beginning of time. So, how hard could it actually be? I read all the mommy blogs, attended a class on the how-to at the hospital, practiced holds on those creepy baby dolls. Certainly, I was good to go! I'd know what to do when the time came, right?

But only after several exhausting hours of labor, when the nurse handed me my little girl with the words, "She's hungry" did I learn that nothing can really prepare you for the physical and mental toll breastfeeding can have on new mothers.

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And that absolutely nothing, nothing can prepare you for when it doesn't work.

We left for our daughter's first doctor's appointment a week after her delivery and I was feeling pretty good. Tired, yes, but I was healing marvelously and was in high spirits. I had gotten dressed, had breakfast and even brushed my teeth. My little one was calm and we were out the door on time. I felt like a superhero. I was made to be a mom.

But my euphoria died 16 minutes later at the weigh station when we learned our daughter was still not at her birth weight. How had I not noticed? I kicked myself as we talked in the car about how to feed her even more before our follow-up appointment a few days later. And while her weight rose slowly over the next few months, it never seemed to be enough.

Every time we went to the doctor, I'd leave in tears unable to put into words the disappointment I felt toward myself. I'd spend the rest of the week furiously feeding my child, trying to make up the weight or I'd walk straight down the hall to the lactation consultant to see if maybe this time, we'd finally have an answer.

Her latch was fine, my supply was good. She was eating every two hours, nine times a day for several months. I was doing everything I possibly could. I was a milk machine. I was physically exhausted and emotionally spent.

Why was my body, that had nurtured her for nine months, failing her? Why, after all this time, was it failing me?

Finally, as the doctor talked to me and my husband about supplementing, I couldn't even hear what he was saying. Instead, all I could hear was confirmation of my deepest fears: You are not good enough. You are not strong enough. You are not enough. Period.

I wish I could have told myself, "Being 'enough' doesn't mean you have to do it all alone."

I'm not a superhero, and even the most convincing of capes couldn't change that. I'm a beautifully fragile human, who needs to be kinder to herself. So I'll remind myself again.

Being "enough" doesn't mean you have to do it all alone.


I learned that then, and I remember it every day now.

I alone won't be able to fulfill her every need or stop her heart from getting broken. There are some scrapes and bruises and aches my kisses won't fix and tears I won't be able to dry.

Nothing about this life will ever exactly go according to plan.

And if I'm being honest, I'll probably never have this whole motherhood thing totally figured out.

While the issues we were having with weight gain were aided by formula supplements and my problems with breastfeeding fixed themselves over time, the early days in many ways shaped who I am as a mother and as a woman.

Over the 16 months, I was able to breastfeed my child, my idealistic visions of motherhood came to a crashing halt, but brought me deeper into the reality of who my daughter is and who I am.

I'm not perfect, and I'm certainly not the supermom I once thought I would be. I can't force my life or my motherhood to look a certain way, just like I couldn't choose how my breastfeeding journey would go, but both I and my daughter are the better for it.

I don't have to worry about fulfilling her or ensuring her lasting happiness, I just have to be her mom.

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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

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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.

$30

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!

$75

Detective set

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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.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

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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.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$100

Mini golf set

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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.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

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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.

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Wooden rocking pegasus

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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.

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Croquet set

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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.

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Wooden digital camera

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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.

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Wooden bulldozer toy

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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.

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Pull-along hippo

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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.

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Baby forest fox ride-on

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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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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 www.comfortsforbaby.com 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.

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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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