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What I Learned on Pregnancy Bedrest

How sitting still for 2 months helped prepare me for motherhood.

What I Learned on Pregnancy Bedrest

At 12 weeks pregnant I started bleeding. The doctors at the emergency room discovered a large oozing blood clot in my uterus and told me I was now a high-risk pregnancy. I went home and stayed there, on medically required bedrest, for the next two months.

Life as I knew it screeched to a halt that day. Work, school and activities like grocery shopping and walking the dog all stopped. Rushing and busyness did too, as well as the importance of a clock, a calendar and all these props that have always kept me on track. I was off track now, uncomfortable. All that structure kept me humming and safe. With abundant tasks, a full schedule and a race for time, I felt purposeful, and my identity was all worked out: I was what I did.

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“You’re grounded!,” my baby stated resolutely. “If you want me, I need to be your priority. Figure it out”. He may have been less curt than that, but I admit to feeling conflicted and angry at him for abruptly inserting himself and his needs into my life in such a way that derailed everything I had going on. But anger soon gave way to fear, and fear entered as my primary companion. No one could tell me that my baby would be ok. Everyone just looked at me with upraised crinkled foreheads and could say nothing conclusive.

I became desperate. I ached to connect in some way to my baby. I needed to see or feel him, to sense him in some way. Was I suffocating him with my fear? Was my body uninhabitable for him with all its coursing unrest, adrenaline and frustration? Everybody I knew sent me prescriptions that amounted to, “Don’t worry, be happy- it’s better for you and the baby,” which infuriated me further. How could I not worry? How could I be happy? My doctor gave me a tidy list of what I couldn’t do; it was a recipe for how to become an invalid.

Clearly, I had a lot of personal work and reframing to do. And fortunately, I had time to do it. First, it occurred to me that I might call upon my baby for some help. Eliciting his support -- making a team with him -- forged a line of communication between us. He needed me to believe in him, and I needed him to tell me he was ok.

So I set about checking in with him constantly and attempted to interpret his answers through the pulses of intuition I received. They came in as fragments of feelings, somewhere between a thought and a sensation. They settled in me like a peppering of snowflakes that melted on contact: a little rush of warmth, a momentary quietness, a sense of settling, a color, a symbol. I learned to trust that he would tell me that he was ok. I imagined that by believing in his ability to communicate this with me, I was helping him expand even further into being. As we evolved together, I was learning to become a mother and he was freed to grow into a safer place that now welcomed him and believed in his well-being.

The major piece of reframing that was useful to me was the idea that I had entered my postpartum phase prematurely. Once a baby is born, we all expect months of quiet. It’s a time when little can be accomplished, everything slows and all that matters is sleep and nourishment. New parents tune in to their babies as their babies tune into them. Observing, memorizing, imprinting. New forms of dialogue emerge. Focus is singular.

Although my baby had not been born yet, I had been launched into postpartum and its abundant lessons. This time was given to me to learn to just be, not do. It was delivered in this out-of-order sequence to make me learn how to be quiet, how to be in my body, how to put someone else first. I had to discover how to nurture my baby on the inside before he could join me on the outside. I had to get out of my own way and realize that my biggest accomplishment was not my work in the exterior world -- it was the infinitely wiser work that was in me.

The fact is that, bedrest can be an opportunity to begin transforming into a mother long before your baby arrives. It affords a quiet, focused time to synch up with your baby, to hone your dialogue and begin your teamwork. It gives you time to try on a new identity see how you do. Sometimes you’ll struggle and let your emotions blur the line of communication with your baby. That’s ok. You can take your time and be as sloppy and messy as you need to be. This is something of a dress rehearsal. Your baby doesn’t expect perfection; you, like he, are a work in progress. This ‘setback’ might well help you both shine all the brighter on opening night.

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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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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