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6 Things You Should Know About The First Year of Motherhood

Baby Chick shares some of the things she learned as a mom.

6 Things You Should Know About The First Year of Motherhood

The realm of motherhood is an entirely new world -- it's magical and beautiful and filled with love, but it's also messy and tough and, well, surprising at times. This is why Nina Spears became The Baby Chick -- to help moms and babies during that first year, when they are figuring each other out.

You see, in 2010, Nina left the corporate world and worked at a local baby store, where she quickly discovered her passion for moms and their babies. “Over the past eight years, I’ve helped over 500 women and have supported over 200 mothers during their births,” said Nina, who became a birth and postpartum doula, a certified childbirth educator, newborn care educator, infant massage instructor, a licensed massage therapist and more. “My husband was the one who said to me that I should start a site sharing all of my tips and tricks to expecting and new moms, so that’s what I did -- to educate, inspire and uplift mothers everywhere.” In 2015, she launched Baby Chick, an online community that provides pregnancy tips, educational resources, postpartum support and parenting advice from experts and everyday mothers alike.

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Nina is a mom now, too. And she knows firsthand how significant and challenging the transition to motherhood can be. Which is why, in honor of her son Liam's first birthday, she is sharing with us the things that surprised her during her first-year of motherhood.

Here are 6 things The Baby Chick wants you to know about the first year of motherhood that may surprise you.

1. Hemorrhoids after childbirth really suck, and it’s not talked about enough. In fact, a lot of things about childbirth are not talked about enough for women to fully prepare for the challenges of giving birth and postpartum. Add on trying to recover from childbirth, having engorged and leaky breasts, wearing a diaper yourself, sitting on a donut to heal your hemorrhoids, a house that doesn’t magically clean itself, food that needs to be prepared and eaten all while caring for a newborn baby that relies solely on you. Yes, motherhood is wonderful, rewarding and awesome in so many ways, but it can also be exhausting, overwhelming and lovely. Enlist family members, friends, or a postpartum doula to regularly help, as you heal and navigate this new role in your life.

2. As long as everything is medically okay, don’t overthink breastfeeding. Each woman is different, each pregnancy is different, each birth is different, and each postpartum experience is different — including my own. I try to always leave expectations and thoughts of what one woman’s experience might be at the door because her experience is going to be unique and her own. But more often than not, it’s a supply-demand type of thing. So listen to your baby and your body -- they communicate well with one another --, and don’t overthink it. Just keep trying and when in doubt, whip your boob out.

3. Finding your baby-work balance can be tricky. This is what surprised me the most. I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t realize exactly how tough it would be juggling working full time on Baby Chick and caring for my son full time. That's why I have significantly slowed down accepting new clients, and as a result, I have found a new rhythm that works for me, our family and business. It did not happen overnight, but with help from family, our team and hard work, everything is getting done and everyone is still alive. 😉

4. Finding your baby-partner-work balance is even trickier. I feel very blessed that I get to work with my husband. But work can completely take over our personal lives, and it can be difficult to turn off. And then when you have a baby, it's easy to put baby’s needs ahead of your partner’s needs. Sometimes that is necessary for survival, but remember, your partner was there before baby. So try to make time for one another.

5. There will always be someone to give unsolicited advice or say inappropriate things. I felt confident with my choices during pregnancy because I had done all of the research for all of my options years prior and knew what was best for myself, my family and my baby. I wanted a midwife and a home birth with a doula and videographer. I wanted to breastfeed my baby and knew the right products to have, how to use them, what positions to try, and how to get support if I needed help. In order to tune out unsolicited comments and advice, you must educate yourself on the options that are available to you. The more you know, the more confident you become about the choices you are making, and the more those other voices don’t matter. Those unnecessary comments will always be around, but your knowledge of what’s right for your family will provide you comfort in the end.

6. It goes by so fast. I know everyone says this, but it’s really true. Cherish every moment, even the tough ones. Before you know it, you’ll be looking back to today wishing you could relive these moments.

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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