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This is what friendship *really* looks like after kids

Having a baby changes all. the. things.

This is what friendship *really* looks like after kids

We all have that one friend. You know—the one who has been through everything with you. She is the one who has seen you at your worst and loved you anyway. She’s gotten you through bad breakups, held your hair back for you after you indulged in five too many cocktails and laughed about all of it with you the next day. She has also encouraged you to be your best. She has congratulated you on your first “real” job after you both waited tables through college, and she was on the other end of the phone smiling from ear to ear when you told her you were pretty sure you had met “the one.”

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She’s your go-to girl.

Lifelong friends know more about you than you even want to admit. They are the friends you have fought with, laughed with, and cried with. They have been there for all the big moments in your life, and while life is constantly changing, there is probably no bigger change than having your first child. If you have a friend who tells you that having a child will not change things, you might want to look for a new friend. Having a child changes all the things. ALL. THE. THINGS.

A photo posted by Nataly (@natalydavies) on

I know this because I was the person who thought that having a baby was not in any way, shape, or form going to change my friendships. Let me tell you something—having a baby changes your friendships. Some friendships grow stronger and others become weaker. Some become so weak that you wind up losing them forever, while others become so strong you know they will last a lifetime.

My visions of bringing home my first baby were just that—visions!

I had no idea how difficult those first few weeks were actually going to be. There was the sleep deprivation, the sore, cracked nipples, the inability to pee without wanting to cry, the sleep deprivation, and did I mention the sleep deprivation? I can tell you without a doubt in my mind that if someone ever crosses my family, I would wish sleep deprivation and sore, cracked nipples on them for all of eternity. Let that be your warning.

When I came home, I was beyond overwhelmed. I had been one of those pregnant women who went on and on about my birth plan and the fact that I would only breastfeed. Here is another warning for you. Try not to scream these things out loud too much, because I can promise you the universe is listening and laughing. You know that saying about the best-laid plans? Yeah. That.

Breastfeeding was anything but easy for me. I had a hard time making milk and I tried everything. My nipples were so cracked and raw that I was certain they were actually going to shrivel up and fall right off my breasts. My sore, hard-as-a-rock breasts were going to be nipple-less for the rest of my sleep-deprived life.

A photo posted by Nataly (@natalydavies) on

To make matters worse, my son had acid reflux, so getting him to latch on was beyond difficult. My husband worked 24-hour shifts as a fire lieutenant, and despite the fact that he was given a decent amount of time off after the baby came, once he went back he was gone A LOT. I was lonely. Not just “Hey, I’m bored, where are all my peeps?” lonely. No.

I was cry-by-myself-and-wonder-how-on-Earth-I-am-going-to-survive-this lonely.

One night, as I sat in my living room with my screaming newborn and my dog staring at me with what I can only describe as a ‘Lady, you have no clue what the hell you are doing’ face, I knew what I had to do. I picked up the phone and I dialed as fast as I could. When I heard her say hello, all I could do was cry. The only words I got out through the tears were, “This is so much harder than I thought it would be. I am so lonely and he won’t eat, sleep or stop crying.

Ten minutes later, there was a knock on my front door. There she stood with a bottle of wine, nipple cream, a smile and wide-open arms. I am going to tell you something—there is no one who could have made me happier at that very moment in time. Had I opened the door to find Publisher’s Clearing House announcing I was the winner of the big prize, there is a good chance I would have slammed the door and cried on the floor. Instead, it was her, my lifelong friend, ready to show me that having a baby changes a lot of things—but that is not always a bad thing.

She came in, took my son, calmly swaddled him, and somehow got him to fall asleep in his crib. She opened wine and passed me the nipple cream. She sat there while I cried until the crying turned into laughter. We laughed about the fact that out of all the things we had been through together in our lives, this was by far the craziest of them all.

I learned two things that night. I learned that wine and nipple cream are like gold, and that babies really do change everything. Change is not always negative, though. That night I learned that my friendship with my lifelong friend was never going to be the same, and for that, I am forever grateful.

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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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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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