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When the doctor said my baby needed to gain weight, we supplemented with formula

Before my baby was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. My husband and I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital and we learned so much. But even with all the knowledge gained, I obviously couldn't put anything I learned into practice until my baby was born. Truth be told, it never crossed my mind that it may be difficult or that I may have to feed my baby anything else other than my milk.

Cut to our pediatrician telling us that it was time to supplement my baby with formula so he could gain the right amount of weight. It almost broke my heart. I wanted to feed him breast milk100% breast milk. Up until that point, that is all he had consumed and the thought of adding something foreign to his little body made me upset.

I wanted to be feeding him 100% of what he needed, and it was making me feel like a failure when I had to consider supplementing. I went home and started pumping after every feeding. I pumped enough to supplement him, but I quickly realized that I couldn't pump after every session. I was already so sleep deprived as it was, there was no way I could take away any of the (very) few hours of sleep I was actually getting.

The doctor also had me feeding my baby every two hours during the day and every three hours during the night. I would never sleep if I continued pumping after every single breastfeeding session.

I paused all the chaos and noise and thought about what was best for my baby. My husband and I discussed our options extensively. He knows I have to talk things out in order to make a big decision like this. That's what this was to me—a big decision. And the facts were: 1) our baby needed to gain weight, and 2) I needed to sleep (at least a little).

After a lot of research, we decided it was best to supplement with formula. We had some free samples, but I felt more comfortable giving him an organic one. Luckily, he drank the formula from a bottle with no issues! He didn't have any nipple confusion, and he was able to easily switch between the two forms of feeding like a champ.

I made sure I always breastfed him before feeding him the formula because I wanted to breastfeed as much as possible. After a couple of months of supplementing, the doctor told us he was happy with his weight gain and we could exclusively breastfeed again if that was what we wanted to do. It was such a relief to hear my baby was gaining weight. And it is really comforting to know that our baby will take a bottle and formula if we need to rely on it again

There are several reasons why a mama might decide to supplement with formula. And because of my personal experience, I have learned to have more of an open mind. Being flexible as a new mother is so important because plans always change—we've never done this before, right?

I had my heart set on exclusively breastfeeding, but as I've now seen, I know it's not the only "right" way to feed your little one. I started out thinking this way, learned to adjust my plans and do what was best for my baby and I. Fed truly is best.

Every baby is different, every pregnancy is different, every labor is different and every mama is different. Every mother must make decisions for her and her child based on what is best for their family. There is no one "right" way to do any of this.

Follow those mama instincts that you have and do what is best for you and your precious baby. You're doing an amazing job. ✨

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Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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

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

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

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

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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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In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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