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family in bed

Thud. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter.

Those are small feet. Can't be the big one. Must be the little one...

*Door opens*

"Mama? Daddy? I peed the bed," they say.

Oh! It's the middle one.

"I'll get the sheets," my husband says.

"Climb on in, baby," I say to my kiddo.

So in they climb and in we snuggle and once Dad is done taking the wet sheets off the twin bed, he climbs back in, too. And then the three of us fall back to sleep, curled tightly together in our queen-sized bed.

And we usually can fall back to sleep—quickly enough. Not each time, of course. But most times. If we didn't let them into our bed, we'd not only have to change our kiddo's clothes and make their bed again, but we'd likely have to lay with them in their bed until they fell back to sleep and then either (super) uncomfortably fall asleep in their bed on accident or wait too long to go back to our own bed, we'd be up for the day at that point.

There's really no sugar coating it: We are extremely tired people. We're extremely tired people with three children, we were extremely tired people with two children, and we were also—you guessed it!—extremely tired people with one child.


We have been extremely tired for more than six years.

We may not be extremely tired forever (TBD), but we are right now. So we will take any extra sleep or rest we can get. (Except when we're staying up until midnight when all of our children are sound asleep because we're binge-watching Cheer or Love Is Blind on Netflix and therefore, that supersedes sleep, and I will take no questions on that because we are the parents and we'll do what we want and that's how parenting works.)

So the one way we've discovered we can get extra shut-eye comfortably in our own bed is by allowing them to climb in when they wake during the night, or early morning hours.

Like the other morning.

Quite literally, our 6-year-old came into our bedroom a few days ago at 4 am and said, "Who's ready to paaaartaaay?" like she was Kristen Wiig in the movie Bridesmaids.

"Is this real life?" I thought to myself.

"No one is 'partying' now, Maggie. Climb on in, it's still dark out," I said, and she did, and we fell back to sleep for a little while.

There have been many nights of high fevers or vomiting which means an automatic pass to sleep in Mom and Dad's bed. I need them close to me, and they want to be close to us.

Growing pains? Climb on in, let me rub your legs.

Bad dream? There's room for you here.

We've been this way from the start of our parenting journey. As long as we were being safe, we've let them come in and sleep with us for whatever reason. It has been the quickest and most efficient way to calm them down and get them back to sleep. But it hasn't always just been for them—it has been for us, too. Like when I was nursing each baby for what seemed like round-the-clock hours, we'd let them lay with us while I breastfed so I could rest too.

The one piece of parenting advice we've always taken seriously is this—do what's best for your family. Because I know this doesn't work for everyone—but it does for us.

For now, anyway.

It's one of those "do what works for you, until it doesn't" type things. Our kids are growing faster and faster, it seems. And they won't always want to sleep with us (which is a good thing, I think), so we'll take the snuggles while we can get them. There have been times where all five of us are smooshed into our queen-size bed (at 6' 2 and 5' 11, we are not small humans), which sounds crazy now that I type that, but oddly enough, those are some of my favorite memories.

And I know they always will be.

"You can't sleep tonight, my baby? Climb on it. You are always welcome here.*"

*Unless the door is locked. Because let's just say, we've recently installed a door handle with a lock—for everyone's protection. 😉

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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