What went viral this week: A mom gets her doctorate + a BFF photoshoot

Here are the stories that made us smile this week.

What went viral this week: A mom gets her doctorate + a BFF photoshoot

We're almost through September and there have been so many interesting stories in the news this week. Baby Archie and his royal parents are visiting South Africa, new breast pump improvements have mamas celebrating, and doctors are talking about the extreme pressure moms are under when it comes to breastfeeding.

There were also a lot of good news stories and viral photos piquing our interest.

Here are the stories that made us smile this week:

Viral photos capture why having a BFF is so awesome

We've heard of engagement shoots, maternity shoots, newborn shoots...but best friend shoots aren't really a thing. That is, until now. Two moms recently decided to commemorate their long friendship with a series of adorable photos, and the Internet is loving it.

Samantha Clark and Christina Arthur have been best friends for 23 years, and when they hit their friendship anniversary this year, they decided to celebrate by posing for professionally-shot photos. These images capture both their personalities and friendship so perfectly!

"I thought it would be perfect for us because anytime we get together, we just laugh and act goofy and just straight up always have a good time with each other," Samantha tells Inside Edition.

These women have been friends since they were 7 years old and have been together through so many major life moments, from the teen years to their weddings and subsequent divorces, to the births of their children.

But while Samantha and Christina have definitely seen each other through their most serious moments, this photoshoot is pure lighthearted fun. They even shotgunned beers and ate chicken wings on camera—and if that isn't #friendshipgoals, we don't know what is.

"We've seen each other at our highest and we've seen each other at our lowest. Through thick and thin, we have been able to count on each other. Even if we went weeks without talking or seeing each other, we always picked up right where we left off," Christina wrote of the friendship in a post published on Love What Matters. "It is truly a beautiful thing and a blessing to be able to call each other friends. Besties. Ride or die. Partners in crime. Soul sisters!"

We couldn't love this more. Not only are the photos so cute and fun, they also represent something really powerful. It's easy for us to get caught up in our own lives, especially after we become mothers—but our friendships are so important. This is an important reminder that we should treasure and celebrate those bonds...whether that's with a photoshoot or not.

The photography business that captured the images, Easy Breezy Photography, is totally starting a trend with the BFF themed photos! Another BFF shoot in Target proves this photographer just gets mamas.

Kids congratulate mom on her dissertation defense and it's too cute

As Good Morning America reports, a mom who earned her doctorate in higher education from Maryville University near St. Louis, Missouri is going viral this week for the sweetest reason. After 30 stressful minutes defending her dissertation, Candace Hall saw her three waiting kids cheering for her.

And they didn't just cheer, they danced a perfectly choreographed dance to "We Did It" by 1K Phew.

"I was shocked. I was happy. I was proud," Hall told GMA.

The mom of three works full-time as an academic program coordinator at Washington University in St. Louis and goes to grad school at night. Her best friend (her kids' godmother) taught them the dance and helped them make the signs to congratulate their mom on her big day.

Hall told GMA people often told her she was crazy for trying to raise three kids, work full-time and get her doctorate, and that's why this day meant so much to her. She's grateful for the support of her BFF, her husband and her kids.

"I hope my kids take away that they can do anything that they set their minds to. I know people say that all the time to kids growing up, but I hope that I've demonstrated that," she said.

Yes you did Candace! Congratulations! 🎉

This moms viral photo proves why representation matters 

Four-year-old Maren Anderson happens to use a wheelchair. What she doesn't happen upon often is representation of other people using wheelchairs. That's why when Maren saw an ad on a Ulta store last month featuring model Steph Aiello, she literally stopped in her tracks, says her mom Carolyn Anderson.

Carolyn took a picture of the moment and posted it to Facebook, where it went viral. She captioned it: "Well Ulta, you absolutely stopped my girl in her tracks this evening. It was mesmerizing to watch her stop, turn and gaze at this poster. So thank you."

That was a month ago, and this week, as NBC Washington reports, Maren got to meet the model she could relate to.

Maren and Aiello hung out at Ulta and picked out nail polish together. For Aiello, the experience proves that what she's doing matters. This isn't just about modeling products, it's about modeling diversity and letting kids see themselves reflected in the world around them.

"This is what the world needs," she said. "The world needs this to be our community as opposed to just my community."

This teacher is going for viral for carrying a student when she needed it 

Field trips can be hard for kids with accessibility needs, and when Shelly King learned her daughter Ryan's class was heading to the Falls of Ohio on a field trip she was worried, Today reports.

Ryan uses a wheelchair and her mom figured she would need to carry Ryan all day in a backpack carrier if she wanted her daughter to participate in the trip.

"Normally with field trips like this, when they're not accessible, we take an educational day and she and I go out and make our own field trip in the city," King explained, but the Falls of Ohio was something she wanted Ryan to see, so she was willing to carry her daughter all day.

But one of Ryan's teachers heard about King's backpack plan and stepped up to save mama's back. Fourth-grade science teacher Jim Freeman wanted to make sure Ryan was included so he offered to carry her in a child carrier. King was touched by the teacher's act and posted photos of the trip on Facebook, where the story went viral.

King is happy the story did go viral because she wants the world to know how much she appreciates her daughter's school.


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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.


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!


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.


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. 🙌


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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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