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I’m holding onto that sweet spot between baby and becoming a child

I had forgotten what two was like.

I had forgotten what it was like to hover on the ground below, my heart in my boots, as she climbs higher and higher. "To TOP Mommy!" I had forgotten the fear, the tingling in my fingertips and the sweat on my palms.

I hover, my hands just an inch from the backs of her legs, poised to catch the inevitable fall. She turns. "NO Mommy—I do it! BACK MOMMY!"

I had forgotten the defiance. The stamping of feet and the crossing of arms and the way the word "NO" sounds when it is yelled at toddler-pitch—how that single syllable can burst at its seams with all the injustice and determination and disappointment and guts that a human heart can hold.

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I had forgotten the mess. The crumbs and the spills. The new toilet roll, unraveled and stuffed into the bowl in one enormous concertina of destruction. The bottle of bubble bath, emptied in one squeeze into the water and my new lipstick, smeared across a face, never to be the same again (the lipstick, not the face). The contents of my wallet, strewn across the floor.

The chaos that reigns.

I had forgotten the noise. The squeals and the chatter, and the theme song to Sofia the First sung so marvelously and recklessly off-key. That totally unique sound of the Lego box as it's held aloft upside down so the pieces crash and tumble to the ground, scattering far and wide (a stray one invariably escaping to lie in wait for an unsuspecting barefoot long after I thought I'd tidied them away). I'd forgotten the satisfaction on a small face at having achieved such havoc, as she turns to me with a grin and a deeply insincere, "Sowee Mommy".

I had forgotten the tug on my heart as she pulls away from me. Her fearlessness matched only by my certainty that something unthinkable will happen if I divert my attention for even a moment—because it will! The push and pull of her independence versus my caution, a dance as old as time—one which I've done before but am still woefully amateur at.

I had forgotten the stubbornness and the boundary-pushing and the willfulness and all that CLIMBING.

I had forgotten that this is two.

It's not for nothing that these days are referred to as the "Terrible Twos"—they are indeed terrifying. They are ruled by watchfulness and the continual pre-empting of injury, of calculation and negotiation and running after her scooter because there's a hill ahead that she thinks she can go down as fast as her big sister.

They are days of abandoned cups of coffee and conversations, and reluctantly questioning the necessity of that cherished afternoon nap. Two is exhausting and challenging and terrifying and you think you're going to lose it as often as not—two is everything it says on the box.

But there's something wonderful in the terror of two, too. Because even as I watch her, she's changing before my eyes. I didn't know she could reach the top of that climbing frame and she didn't either, but she tried it anyway. I didn't know she knew the words "amazing" and "flamingo" and "sandwich" and "magic" but she said them all to me yesterday.

Two is that sweet spot between baby and child. They still make onesies in her size and she still reaches her arms to me for "uppy." But that little tan line in the roll of her thighs is disappearing as her legs lengthen and will soon be gone forever. Her kisses are still sloppy and baby-like, but now when I ask for one I can see her considering if it's something she wants to part with. She is leaving her babyhood behind.

But before she does, I'll hover as close as she lets me. I'll pick her up when she asks. I'll get down on the floor and join her in the mess she makes—and I'll try to take some lessons in fearlessness. This is two. And it's racing by.


This essay was previously published here.

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.

$159.99

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!

$29.99

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.

$29.99

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. 🙌

$9.99

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.

$14.99

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.

$24.99

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.

$8.99

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.

$7.99


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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