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Morning Musings: Anoma Whittaker

This Brooklyn-based fashion director shows us that even the most mundane morning can be cause for celebration when your baby is one-year seizure-free.

Morning Musings: Anoma Whittaker

Very recently I had the pleasure of getting reaquainted with a beautiful woman named Anoma Whittaker. Jessica and I knew Anoma in our pre-baby magazine days, back when the biggest problems we had were which event to hit up each evening. At first we were simply eager to catch up with Anoma--she’s got style for days and is smart as can be. She’s one of those people who looks cool even if she just rolled out of bed and threw on workout gear (as you can see in the photos below). In the years since I’d last seen her, she and her husband have raised a gorgeous little family--her son Etienne is now 5-years-old, and their little girl Isa is 2. “They are hilarious together. It's non-stop moving, dancing, hugging, squashing of noses, shoving, wrestling and all-round sibling love/annoyance,” says the Boerum Hill mom. “It's been so wonderful to witness pure love and comfort unfold with those two. Their eyes light up for each other, and they both are able to make the other laugh and cry in seconds.....ahhh, siblings.” That pure love she speaks of pours out of their warm home. And while Anoma pre-mama was someone who glowed from the inside out, there is a new level of life appreciation that radiates from her as a result of her recent experience. At around 7-months-old, her daughter Isa began having seizures. She spent several months on a wide range of intense drugs and diets, and was in and out of the hospital. Isa was having around 25 seizures a day, and sometimes more than 50. At age 13 months, a cortical dysplasia tumor was located in her left frontal lobe. The seizures got more intense, and the side effects of the many drugs affected her so much that the family opted for brain surgery. In April 2013, Isa underwent a multiple stage surgery. The doctors removed the tumor and surrounding brain, and she was in intensive care for a month. Fast forward: the family just celebrated Isa’s one-year seizure-free anniversary. “The last few years, with all the challenges, have been the most intense and scary of my life. However, I have to say, they have been truly beautiful and reaffirming of my love for my husband, parents, mother-in-law, sisters and friends. I feel and appreciate the power of positivity and the need for connected community more than I had before. I say ‘thank you, world’ every day, that we live a wonderful engaged life. It's not been easy, but we are living it fully,” says Anoma. But that full life doesn’t just stop at the benefit of others. Whittaker has somehow learned to balance her life as not only a mom, wife and art and fashion director at a menswear label, but also as a woman who takes care of herself. “I started running recently as I had all this adrenaline from the stress and high-focused attention to detail with Isa's care. I had to release it, or I felt I may go even more batty. I've been practicing yoga for 15 years, but just couldn't find my center calm at all. So started to run. It hurt, and I was crap at it, but that toughness felt right to me...a psychical pain that I could put my mental attention on. The upside benefit was getting my stress-eating/hospital-staying body back in shape,” says Anoma. “Now I enjoy running because of the group of women that I run with. Also, being outside in the city before most wake up is quite magical and cinematic.” I drank up all the inspiration that I witnessed during the time we spent together. And now’s your turn. Here’s a look at what a morning looks like in the life of Anoma Whittaker and her family. 5:20am -- Rise, fight the urge to go back to bed, drink water and stretch(ish). 5:50am: Leave the house, run, stop running, ask myself "why am i doing this," keep running. 6am: Meet the other running mums, try and keep up as we go over one of the bridges. 6:50am: Everyone has to run faster and split to get home. 6:55am: COFFEE (instagram if i have a good picture or time). 7am: Back at house, jump in shower, do hair and makeup, get dressed. 7:30am: Give kids meds, food, pack lunch and negotiate everything with them. 8am: Get kids teeth, face and hair decent and negotiate everything when getting them dressed. 8:15am: Leave house, stay calm as Isa screams while trying to put on her coat or shoes. Get in car. 8:30am: Drop Etienne at school, smile at Etienne’s teacher as she asks me to stay for one or another event, as i remind her again, I won't be able to as i'm working, and stay calm as Isa screams or pulls off her shoes or wants to stay at Etienne’s school. 8.45am: Pick up Isa's shoes and socks that she's kicked off and drop Isa off at sitter’s house. COFFEE and time to chat with Damian (husband) about the week’s going on and get to the office or studio. Take a deep breath and start the day. Photography by Lindsey Belle

FEATURED VIDEO

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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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

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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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