A surprising amount of women surveyed don’t believe that moms should breastfeed (or pump) in public

The scientific benefits of breastmilk are clear. So why don't *all* women support this?

A surprising amount of women surveyed don’t believe that moms should breastfeed (or pump) in public

It's not exactly a secret that breastfeeding has some incredible benefits for mothers and babies alike. From its ability to fight off infections to its capability of slashing SIDS risk, breastfeeding has some straight-up super powers. And yet, moms across America frequently report being discouraged from nursing in public places even as public health organizations encourage us too.

With society being so judgmental of nursing mothers, some moms seek out private corners or end up in restrooms for nursing breaks, while others choose to pump and bring a bottle along when taking the baby out in public.

A new survey from Aeroflow published Tuesday found 28% of women do not believe new moms should be allowed to breastfeed (or pump) in public, and 22% of men agreed (although legally, moms can breastfeed in public in every state).

There is nothing wrong with pumping or formula-feeding (and we're very thankful to have both options) but there is something wrong when a society doesn't support nursing because research suggests that the bacterial benefits to a baby's immune system and metabolism are particular to breastfeeding, not just breast milk.

"We found that milk bacteria are different in mothers who pump their milk," says Meghan Azad, PhD, a University of Manitoba researcher behind this science. "We suspect that pumping may prevent the transfer of oral bacteria from the infant to the mother and might introduce other bacteria from the pump. Therefore, contrary or in addition to the hypothesis that milk bacteria come from the mother's gut, our results suggest that the infant's oral bacteria are important in shaping the milk microbiota."

This finding, which appears in Cell Host and Microbe, is based on the observation of 393 mother/child pairs. According to the research, mode of delivery can have a major effect on breast milk's makeup—which is to say, whether it comes from the breast or a bottle.

This news is definitely interesting and important, but it may be discouraging to so many moms out there. Nursing a baby directly just isn't always in the cards, after all. Moms who work outside the home, those whose babies have NICU time, those who deal with latch issues, or who don't have maternity leave or experience supply many of these women rely on pumping to maintain the breastfeeding relationship with their babies.

This science does not take away from that, but it does suggest that more public support for mothers is needed if public health experts want babies and moms to benefit from breastfeeding.

No matter what, whatever you do for your baby—whether that's nursing, offering bottled breast milk, using formula, or some combination (because breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing)—is beneficial and amazing. Because ultimately, it's about doing what works best for you and your family.

The researchers believe these findings give us some context about the powers of breastfeeding and indicate the need for more research. And while this may help us learn more about why nursing from the breast may carry a health advantage that pumping can't quite replicate, there's still a lot of value in bottle-feeding breast milk. Pumping is so hard and time-consuming—but it also represents a game-changing opportunity for moms who want to give their babies breast milk but can't (or choose not to) feed straight from the breast.

Take comfort in this: Much of the magic of breast milk remains when a mom pumps and feeds it to her baby in a bottle. "The number one thing that influences [a baby's gut microbiome] is what they're being fed," Azad tells the New York Times. "In some ways that message isn't for individual moms, but for society overall."

Ultimately, these findings are worth thinking about, and if they're encouraging you to nurse through your maternity leave or when you're able to be with your baby, that's great. But at the end of the day, figuring out the ideal feeding solution for your baby is a choice that involves so many factors.

Nursing from the breast may carry awesome benefits, but so does pumping while at the office, offering bottles to a baby who won't latch, finding peace in formula feeding, and any other solution that happens to work for you and your child.

Moms are just trying to do their best for their babies. It's time for society to support moms in all kinds of infant feeding, including nursing from the breast (even if they're at the pool).

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The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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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 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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Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

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Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

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