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Hilary Duff is refreshingly honest about working motherhood, home birth, and why it's all so different the second time around

Many millennial mamas feel like they grew up not just watching Hilary Duff, but with Hilary Duff. The actress had a huge impact on a generation though pop culture and she continues to impact the women who've grown with her through her work and her frank commentary on motherhood and #momlife.

In interviews and on her Instagram account, Duff is super honest about motherhood and how her first experience of it at 24 was totally different than her second experience in her 30s. She's also been super honest about how hard it is to pump at work, and why that simply didn't work for her.

On the latest episode of the second season of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Duff tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety that her candid Instagram posts aren't about clout or branding but rather a sincere desire to connect with other mothers and contribute to an important dialog.

"I want to be a part of the conversation," she tells Tenety. "I want to share my stories and I want to hear what people have to say, and I want a part of that team."

Duff is certainly a member of #TeamMotherly and we are so happy she's sharing her stories with us.

Here are a few of the topics Duff discussed on the podcast:

Motherhood in her 30s versus motherhood in her 20s 

When Duff welcomed her first child, son Luca, in 2012 she was 24 and making a huge transition in her life.

"I'd say it was a little isolating in the beginning because I didn't have any friends that had babies yet. But I had been working for such a long time that it felt like a natural step for me and I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I always knew that was going to be my number one priority in life. So I felt ready on some fronts and a little scared on others, but I really only got scared once I was pregnant," she tells Tenety.

Duff was afraid that she wasn't going to have all the answers as a parent, and she was also afraid of the birth process.

"I was really young so I was just like terrified of what was going to be like moving through my body. I actually wanted to have a scheduled c-section. My doctor was like, 'No sorry. You cannot. You have to try.' Which I was really appreciative for because I had a great birth," she explains.

When Luca arrived, everything changed for Duff. Motherhood became a priority in a way that she couldn't even predict before she experienced parenthood.

"I did feel like after I had him I lost a big chunk of my identity for like, maybe the first year and a half, but I don't think that was a negative thing. It was at times I was sad about it but you know it's full on. Like I don't remember setting him down for the first three months of life."

Giving birth the second time around

When Duff got pregnant for the second time she was in an entirely different headspace and an entirely different decade of life. By the time she welcomed daughter Banks with partner Matthew Koma in 2018, she had the kind of confidence that comes with having experienced motherhood before. She had more peers with kids and a stronger sense of community.

And she knew she wanted a home birth.

"With Banks, I was so much older and had kind of a different support system around me and I feel much more in tune with my body and I'm a lot healthier I think than I was then. I just wanted to try. I did a lot of research. I watched a lot of home birth videos," she tells Tenety.

As Motherly has previously reported, Duff doesn't shy away from telling her home birth story and is happy she made the choice to bring Banks into the world at home.

On juggling work and a newborn

Duff has been super open about how hard it is to breastfeed or pump while working in an environment that's not really conducive to it. She tells Tenety that juggling a bi-coastal career, a newborn, Luca's schedule (she shares him with ex-husband Mike Comrie) and the challenges of infant feeding made this last year the most challenging one she's had as a mom.

"I was pregnant and flying home like almost every other weekend to see Luca," she explains, noting that she'd land at midnight, get up at 5 o'clock in the morning and juggle 15-hour workdays as a pregnant person. It was intense.

"Then this year I had a newborn—a 4-month-old—and I was going back to work, you know nursing and trying to juggle that. It's really hard," she says, adding that she'd be carrying her pump around the set at work, but crew members didn't always understand that just pumping doesn't always happen when it's convenient.

"I'm talking to men who are like, 'Okay we have a break in the day you can go pump.' I'm like, 'it's not a feeding time. There's no milk.' They don't get it. You know so I can sit there and like pull at my nipples for however long but nothing's going to come out right now you know," she tells Tenety.

In the end, Duff decided to stop pumping and use formula, a decision she was super open about on Instagram.

Duff tells Tenety she is so open about motherhood for a couple of important reasons:

"I think I selfishly do it to get people reaching out and talking to me, you know because we're in the same struggle or whatever it is that we might be going through. So I like sharing. I like being candid. You know I love posting photos," she explains, adding that she tries to be candid, even about the moments that are not glamorous or aspirational at all. The moments when she's tired and unshowered with baby vomit in her hair.

"It's just this is what it is. It's messy and it's the best messiest thing ever."

That's a pretty great way to sum up motherhood.

To hear more from Duff, check out The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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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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