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32 vintage photos that celebrate the strength and beauty of motherhood

Motherhood deeply bonds women to one another throughout place, and time. But in the daily grind of our busy lives, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who has ever nursed a difficult baby (more on that below) or struggled to get it all done in one day. We searched for some of the earliest photography available depicting scenes from motherhood, and felt a deep connection to the strength and beauty of the mothers we found.


Mother and child in bathroom of new home in Greenbelt, Maryland. Marion Post Wolcott, photographer. Sept. 1938.

African American mother and her four children in their tenement apartment. Stanley Kubrick, photographer. 1949 Jan. 27.

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Woman breastfeeds a baby and a bear cub at the same time. Circa 1903.

Mexican mother with three days old baby, born in this home in Crystal City, Texas. Russell Lee, photographer. March, 1939.

Baby Frances Sayre, Jr., with mother. Harris & Ewing, photographers. Taken between 1905 and 1945. The boy, “born in the White House,” would grow up to be dean of the Washington National Cathedral.

A group of proud mothers and their babies, who they entered in the Hoover Play Grounds Baby Show. August 30, 1920.

Mother holding a baby in Chinatown, San Francisco. Arnold Genthe, photographer. Photo taken between 1896 and 1930.

Mother and child in the sunlight. Edward Steichen, photographer. 1906.

Japanese mother and baby. Carleton Graves, photographer. Circa 1902.

Firefighter interviews a mother holding her son, who accidentally lit the curtains on fire with a fuel-oil lamp wick. Washington D.C. Firehouse Station No. 4. Gordon Parks, photographer. January 1943.

Twin sisters give birth hours apart at Columbia Maternity Hospital in Washington D.C.. Harris & Ewing, photographer. April 7, 1939.

The proprietor of a saloon-restaurant with her daughter in Gemmel, Minnesota. Russell Lee, photographer. August 1937.

This mother, Mrs. Dora Stainers, started working in an Atlanta mill when she was seven. Her little girl Lilie is the same age she was when she started work, but the mother said, “I ain’t goin to put her to work if I can help it. I’m goin’ to give her as much education as I can so she can do better than I did.” Photo taken by Lewis Wickes Hine, March 1915.

The daughter of a tobacco sharecropper comes inside to get a snack from her mother, who was doing housework. Dorothea Lange, July 1939.

Mona Grimm, two, and Carol Grimm, five, are put to bed by their foster mother, with whom they live during the week. Sundays Mona and Carol go home to their mother, a 26-year-old widow with six children under 12. Marjory Collins, photographer. May 1943.

Gertrude Kasebier O’Malley with her infant son, Charles O’Malley, posed in Oceanside, Long Island. Photographed by her mother, Gertrude Kasebier. 1900.

Japanese mother balances two toddlers in a yoke. Circa 1928.

A mother and child in Petra, Jordan. Photographed between 1940 and 1946.

A group of Missouri mothers whose sons were killed in France during World War I visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. Harris & Ewing, photographers. Sept. 22, 1930.

A 32-year-old pea picker and mother of seven in Nipomo, California. Dorothea Lange, photographer. March 1936.

Roma mother and baby by a roadside near Orsova, Hungary. Circa 1913.

Eskimo mother and child. Lomen Brothers, photographers. Circa 1906.

An American mother bathes her child. Oct. 10, 1929.

Pueblo mother and three children. Circa 1902.

An American mother prepares a meal. Dec. 16, 1926.

A Mexican mother in California, who said, “Sometimes I tell my children that I would like to go to Mexico, but they tell me ‘We don’t want to go, we belong here.’” Dorothea Lange, photographer. June 1935.

Children have milk and cookies at a day nursery for preschool children of mothers engaged in war work. Washington D.C. Carlton Smith, photographer. May 1943.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, a mother nurses her infant. Ben Shahn, photographer. Oct. 1935.

A mother in Buffalo, NY, picks up her children from a nursery school, which cost $3 a week. Marjory Collins, photographer. May, 1943.

A mother and child at home in Washington D.C. Arthur Rothstein, photographer. Oct. 1937.

A mother carries her child in Nacogdoches County, Texas. John Vachon, photographer. April 1943.

At a public clinic in Questa, New Mexico, mothers wait with their children. John Collier, photographer. Jan. 1943.

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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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

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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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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