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To the new mama adjusting to motherhood—give yourself grace

Times may have changed, but you will find your new normal .

To the new mama adjusting to motherhood—give yourself grace

By Shelley Hopper


Hi sweet mama,

I saw you standing in front of that mirror, looking at your postpartum body being WAY too hard on yourself. Those dimples. Those stretch marks. Those bags under your eyes. Those new gray hairs and wrinkles. I see them because I have them, too.

I get it.

But you know what? All of those "imperfections" or "flaws" are your story. They're part of you to remind you that you are a mother. A beautiful human, inside and out, who brought life into this world.

I see you comparing yourself to other moms on social media—their seemingly "perfect" lives, "perfect" kids, "perfect" spouses, "perfect" families, "perfect" HGTV homes, "perfect" bodies....it's overwhelming to suddenly find yourself comparing every aspect of your life, your body and your soul to a stranger's.

That would be hard any day, but even harder when you're a new mama with fluctuating hormones and emotions. But let me remind you that social media (and media in general) is a highlight reel. Just as you should never compare your beginning to someone else's middle, you should never compare yourself to anyone, ever, online or in real life.

As mamas, we all know the real-life struggles.

The mama who planned on breastfeeding whose baby just won't latch or is failing to thrive and turns to formula. You are a wonderful mama, and fed is best.

The mama whose baby refuses to nap so is struggling to find a routine or her sanity. You are a strong mama, and this too shall pass.

The mama who heard breastfeeding makes you lose all your baby weight but is still struggling to lose any. You are a beautiful mama and remember that you are more than a number on the scale or the size of a waistband—live in the moment.

The mama who is struggling with postpartum anxiety or depression. You are an incredible person and mama. You are not alone. You are not ‘different,’ and you will get through this.

The mama who is struggling to find her village. You are an amazing mama, and we are here for you.

The mama who feels like her life is forever changed and nothing will ever be the same. You are _____ (insert your name here) 2.0. Yes, things are different and have changed, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find your new groove and a new kind of ...everything.

The mama who is struggling in her marriage as you became new parents. You are a worthy mama and partner, and you will get through this—don’t be afraid to seek out counseling or outside resources.

The mama who is feeling overwhelmed. You are a mama finding her groove, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Being a mom certainly challenges you physically and emotionally. There are body changes, hormone changes, and major life changes. Wherever your life path has been, and wherever you are headed, you are strong. You are beautiful. You are powerful. You are a mother. A spouse and a sister, a friend, an aunt, a human. An incredible human.

Times may have changed, but you will find your new normal and will write your story of motherhood. Give yourself grace, patience and the ability to embrace change and let go of "perfect," because, sweet mama, this journey is yours and no one else's, and that's what makes you and your version of motherhood so special.

Originally posted on FIT4MOM.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

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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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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