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The second I met my daughter, my heart felt complete

I was told time and time again about the incredible love I would feel for this little baby I had yet to meet.

The second I met my daughter, my heart felt complete

It was 2 am when I heard it—it was faint at first. Her little whimpers began to lull me out of a deep sleep. I tried to pretend I was dreaming— that the baby I just rocked to sleep two hours ago wasn't already hungry again. But as the whimpers turned into full-on cries, I pulled myself out of bed.


I walked to my daughter Adeline's crib with an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. I looked down to see her staring back at me with one of her famous grins and instantly, I felt giddy. No matter how tired I was—I still had so much love for this little bundle who had yet to learn the value of a full night's sleep.

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As I fed her a bottle, I watched her start to close her eyes, beginning to fall asleep in my arms. I glanced over at my husband sleeping so peacefully beside me and I was overcome with the joy of motherhood. This moment—this picture-perfect moment of my little family—was what life was all about.

That was hard to envision when I was pregnant—what life would be like, as much as I tried to, or as much as other people told me how it'd be.

Because when I was pregnant, I heard it all. The good, the bad, the...things I didn't want to hear at all…

I received warnings from veteran mothers advising me to sleep as much as I could, to take care of as many loose ends as possible and to enjoy a final vacation with my husband as if it would be my last. They shared stories about their children's arrival into the world, their first words, their first steps.

Above all, I was told time and time again about the incredible love I would feel for this little baby I had yet to meet.

I believed every word but that did not prepare me for the actual experience of it all. Upon Adeline's birth I truly felt this all-consuming love for my baby who I literally just laid eyes on. As she lay on my chest looking up at me, my heart's ability to feel complete became dependent on her.

When Adeline was a few weeks old, my mom graciously offered to keep her overnight so that my husband and I could go on a day trip together and get a good night's sleep. I so looked forward to our mini vacation but when we were there, I struggled to enjoy our time because I missed my baby so much.

I woke up every couple hours thinking I had a baby to feed, only to realize that she wasn't in bed with me. Again I felt a pang of heartbreak from this small separation from my baby. At 8 am the next morning, I was at my mom's—ready to get my baby back. Even though it was only one night we were away, it was almost unbearable.

Every feeling I had about motherhood in general was so big. I felt so deeply, it felt as though my heart was cracked open. I experienced plenty of moments where I've been so consumed with exhaustion, I had to just hold my daughter and cry. Days where my hormones were so jumbled that my poor husband got the lash that came from my irritability.

In the very beginning I often felt like I was losing my mind. I didn't have all the answers. I didn't know why my baby would cry for what seemed like hours on end, I didn't know if she was warm enough or too warm. I didn't know if I was giving her enough time on her tummy or enough time sitting up.

One day it all clicked. I didn't always know what I was doing and I didn't want to drive myself crazy pretending that was the case. If someone had a parenting tip for me, I would actually consider it and decided if it made sense to apply to our lives rather than immediately write it off.

Motherhood, I'm realizing, has humbled me. I am able to listen and learn from those who have raised babies before me. I've allowed myself to be vulnerable and have accepted help from others.

Giving up on the need to have control over every aspect of my daughter's life helped me calm down and accept that no one expected me to be perfect, so I shouldn't put that pressure on myself. My husband can vouch for the fact that when I lessened my grip on trying to control everything and I let go of the unrealistic need to do everything just right—I became more pleasant to be around, and I actually enjoyed motherhood more.

So, my friend, if you're feeling overwhelmed, or like these new mama feelings are all just too big—hang in there.

The hard moments will pass as quickly as they came and will be replaced with a darling smile or a sweet babble that will make you forget it happened. I can finally say after three months that I am beginning to feel like myself again. It took me a while to fully understand, but I've finally accepted that I am not able to run on a perfect timeline now that I have a baby.

I am now comfortable with the fact that my daughter determines the course of our days, at least for now. And I am okay with the fact that we're figuring this out together, as we go.

Motherhood is one of those "you don't know until you know" type of things. And now that I know, it's way better than I could have ever imagined.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com 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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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

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.

$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

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.

$40

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.

$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

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.

$40

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.

$121

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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