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Less than two years since it’s inception, Bébé De Luxe has already quadrupled their sales year over year, and delighted customers and influencers alike. Bébé De Luxe has been featured in Vogue, by Jillian Harris of Bachelorette fame, and on countless other family and lifestyle blogs.

Amanda Toth is the powerhouse behind the brand. She’s like a superhero really: By day she works full-time as a paralegal at a high powered firm in downtown Vancouver. In the evenings she’s a loving mother to her two year old son, Rian. And then when the rest of the city goes to sleep, she puts on her cape and runs Bébé De Luxe - a line of luxurious bath and body products for babies and adults.

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As you might imagine, the road to balance and success is paved with potholes. With so much going on, how does Amanda balance it all? And what happens when a copycat throws a wrench into her best laid plans?

What motivated you to start your own company, and this one in particular?

Amanda Toth: My son Rian has very sensitive skin and would often get red and patchy eczema symptoms, which would worsen after a bath with conventional baby washes.

I happened to go shopping with a couple of mama friends and our littles to a “fancy” baby store one day and saw a milk and oatmeal bath. That lightbulb moment of “I can make this” came on for me and I started researching right away.

I loved the idea of using coconut milk rather than cow’s milk since it is the fat content in the milk that makes your skin so soft, I figured I could get more benefits with the fattier coconut milk. Plus it has natural antibacterial, anti fungal and antimicrobial properties, it just seemed like the perfect base for a gentle, organic baby wash.

It was kismet actually because we later learned my son had a pretty harsh sensitivity to cows milk, including burn-like reactions topically. Had we made the original formula with cows milk, we wouldn’t be here today! I can’t say that I’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur but once I started, things just kept falling into place nearly effortlessly.

What makes your product unique?

Amanda Toth: I know most companies, especially small businesses, believe wholeheartedly in the products they make and I am the same. We use our signature Coconut & Oat Milk Bath blend for Rian’s bath daily, washing head to toe (including his hair) for nearly two years now. It is intended to be used as a replacement for conventional soap, some people feel weird about not lathering up with bubbles but my wildling child doesn’t stink so I’m pretty sure it works!

All silliness aside, our formula is especially great for babes and littles as the natural antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties of the coconut milk cleanse the skin while helping to soothe all sorts of irritations, diaper rashes (which are often fungal) and won’t strip the skin of their natural oils.

Because the formula contains no soap and no harsh chemicals, even when your little one has eczema or a severe diaper rash, it won’t sting like a soap or body wash would. We have had excellent feedback from customers using our signature coconut and oat milk bath for eczema, rashes, sunburn, and made into a paste it also helps to exfoliate cradle cap and can be used as either a face mask or facial scrub for mama.

How do you communicate that to customers?

Amanda Toth: The natural beauty industry is a growing trend that is beginning to really resonate with consumers. Recently a couple of trusted brands in the baby care business were discovered to have been less than honest and/or selling products which had known cancer promoting chemicals in their formulas. People are looking for natural products that they can trust, especially for their children. In nearly every social media post, article or marketing material we focus on the fact that our formula is simple, no-nasties, organic and made with food-grade ingredients.

How do you deal with copycats, or legitimate competitors?

Amanda Toth: I’m going to be honest here and hope that others can learn from my experience. The first copycat really stung and I called them out for it. It was a true copycat in that this person targeted me specifically and not only recreated my formula but the aesthetic of the brand I worked so hard to create.

Bébé de Luxe is my second child and I felt protective like a mother bear.

It was a great lesson to learn in my first year of business and I am grateful that I had those growing pains so early on to get them out of the way. I am now more confident that my own branding, formulas and passion shine through every aspect of Bébé de Luxe and allow all of these things to speak for themselves. The old adage is true, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. While it may not ring true in the moment, know that if you have an imitator, you are a trailblazer and have created a product that inspires recreation. That is a beautiful thing.

How can you tell the difference between a copycat and a competitor?

Amanda Toth: To me a copycat is someone who maliciously imitates your brand. A competitor is a fellow entrepreneur who has created a quality product that I am proud to have Bébé de Luxe next to on a shelf.

A few of my favourite competitors that I have mad respect for are - Herbivore Botanicals, Tubby Todd, K’Pure Naturals and Haven Living. These are all brands I recognize for their aesthetic, natural formula and ethics and I use products from each line personally.

Collaboration over competition is the key to success in a market saturated with start-ups and I am proud to work alongside some of the most collaborative and welcoming women.

Why do you think really understanding what makes your brand unique is important?

Amanda Toth: I think today businesses are a dime a dozen and new products and brands pop up on the daily. It’s imperative that you create a unique product or brand to stand out from the crowd.

Knowledge is power and understanding what makes your brand unique equates to power.

Our customers truly identify with the struggles we have had with my son’s skin and find comfort in knowing that our products are natural, organic and food-grade. Especially with handmade and local consumers, having an identifiable connection to the brand or product really hits home. Let’s face it, shopping handmade and local costs more than buying mass produced products at a big box store, people are recognizing the value in higher quality products and shopping locally but your product has to connect with them in some way before they will spend their hard earned money.

What’s more important: being passionate about your company OR making real money?

Amanda Toth: I believe passion is key and that the “real” money cannot be acquired or attained without it. There has to be something driving you to hustle harder than your competition when you feel like you’d rather get some shut eye or hang out with your friends. Sacrifices are a very real part of growing and grooming a business, you have to love what you’re doing or you’ll flounder.

Do you struggle balancing being an entrepreneur and a mother?

Amanda Toth: Of course. Women wear so many hats in society. Not only am I an entrepreneur and a mother, I am a wife, a full-time career-driven women (a career separate from my business that I have busted my butt at for 13 years and I am not ready to let go of). I am a sister, daughter, friend and so many other things.

It is the sum of all of these things that make me unique but also causes me to struggle at times in any one or more of these arenas. One of my biggest struggles is finding patience and stepping back to allow the little moments to unfold rather than micromanaging every aspect of a day. Being a busy mom, entrepreneur and also working full-time, I have a lot to squeeze into 24 hour but toddlers go at their own pace. I need to allow myself to enjoy the process rather than get frustrated that we aren’t keeping my usual pace. It’s a blessing really, as my usual pace isn’t sustainable so being a mom to Rian often forces me to slow down.

What makes you unique as a mother?

Amanda Toth: I don’t know that I am unique as a mother. I’m just an average 33 year old who doesn’t really feel like I know what I’m doing half the time.

I’m a big fan of winging it - motherhood, business and life.

While I have a ton of Type A traits, mostly enjoying the feeling of being in control, becoming a mom and an entrepreneur has shaken things up for me and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not really in control, ever.

I think being a mother has made me realize that it is a universal thing. Across any age, race, religion or economic status we all love our children above all else and none of us are experts. It has really opened me up to connection in a way that I have never been open to before. Insecurities always made me a bit of an introvert but now those same insecurities cause me to seek advice and commiserate with other mothers.

There is power, strength and magic in acknowledging that we don’t really know what we’re doing.

How does being a mother affect the way you run your business?

Amanda Toth: I would say that being a mother makes running a business more difficult but I don’t have any idea of what it’s like to run a business without being a mother.

And if I weren’t a mother, I wouldn’t have a business.

So to me, being a mother and running a business go hand in hand. Because my business is primarily marketed as a baby care company, I think it gives me the perspective of wanting the best for my child which translates into how we market and connect with our customers.

Is there any one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring lady bosses?

Amanda Toth: Find your passion. Don’t start a business thinking you are going to make it rich. It takes true grit and determination to make even the best products into a successful business.

It also takes so much more money, time and effort than you can ever imagine. Patience is paramount, even the little things will take longer than you expect but getting it right is worth it.

Everyone imagines that being their own boss is this wonderful thing but there is something to be said for the security of a steady paycheck and being able to leave your work at the door when you clock out. Knowing your family is housed and fed by doing your 8 hours at the office is actually pretty amazing.

That’s is one of the reasons I’m not yet ready to let go of my career. I am a Taurus which means I need to feel stable and secure. Having a job with steady pay, benefits and a pension plan gives me those things without the stress of having to push more online sales or attend more markets.

What does the word “motherly” mean to you?

Amanda Toth: I think we all have an ideal definition, and it’s not always achievable. We read books and blogs, research and ask questions all before babe even arrives. Most of the things we think we know about being a parent go right out the window as soon as that baby is put into your arms.

At the core of being a good mother, we should be loving and patient above all else not just with our children but with ourselves too. We are hardest on ourselves, but if we were to ask our children what being a good mother means they would likely give us a simple definition of love, kindness and patience. We all need to be reminded of that. 

Being a good mother doesn’t mean only the best organic meals, having the smartest kid dressed in the best clothes. I think it is time we get back to basics with our children, who often learn more from our example than from our teachings. Slowing down and showing them we are patient, demonstrating true kindness and unconditional love will give them a good foundation to grow into a good human being.

Get your own, no-nasties Bébé de Luxe here!

Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 30, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If you're looking to stock up on some adorable fall (or maybe even next summer) outfits, you're in luck because Maisonette is currently having a huge sale of up to 50% off on really really cute clothes, baby to toddler sizes.

There are a bunch of dresses, shorts and swim suits that are limited to warm weather, but also plenty of sweat pants, polo shirts and hoodies that can be worn year round.

Here are 10 of our favorites:

1. Short-sleeve onesie in multi doodle print

This super cute and mega soft onesie is 40% off! It comes with snaps and layered neck for easy dressing and undressing, and the print is perfect for any gender and style.

$9.50


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2. Pink light up sneakers 

These neon pink sneakers are adorable even before you turn on the lights on their sole. They come with three settings and are USB rechargeable. They are currently 40% off.

$60

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3. Blue gingham dress

The dress features a peter pan collar and comes with matching bloomers making the entire outfit so so cute. Currently 50% off.

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4. Short sleeve button down in abstract shapes print

This shirt is the perfect match for pants, skirts or jumpsuits and it's easy to match with any color. Currently at 50% off.

$16

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5. Overall dress in pink stripes

These are a brand trademark and come with adorable bloomers for you little one to wear under the dress. Currently at 20% off.

$40

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6. Sweat suit bundle in blue doodle print

This bundle is perfect for Fall days playing outside. It can be worn all together or mixed and match with neutral pieces. Currently at 40% off.

$60

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7. Waist dress in red plaid

If you are planning ahead for the holidays this dress is a great find! Currently at 50% off.

$49

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8. Romper in light chambray 

Babies and rompers are the perfect combo, and this one with the extra ruffles just makes everyone look extremely cute. Currently at 50% off.

$19

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9. Shirt with all the animal friends 

Celebrate all the animals that children love (and maybe even practice the sounds they make) with this adorable t-shirt. Currently at 40% off.

$20


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10. Cool sneakers for mom or dad

These super cool vans come in adult sizes so mom or dad (or both!) can match their little ones. Currently 25% off.

$45

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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Getting kids back into a school year sleep routine is hard work. There were so many reasons for kids to stay up over the summer, like fireworks, campfires and the fact that the sun itself has been staying up so late.

Incrementally later bedtimes happen slowly over the summer, and at this time of year, parents are looking to reset the clock fast. But when you're six years old and you've spent the last couple months basically living a life of Saturdays, it might take some convincing to get you under the covers early.

Enter the Disney Bedtime Hotline. From September 16 to 30 parents in the United States and Canada can call 1-877-7-MICKEY at bedtime and a Disney, Pixar, Marvel or Star Wars character will tell your kids to go to bed.

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Mickey, Spider-Man, Yoda, Elsa, Princess Jasmine, Woody and other beloved characters are on the line, waiting to tell kids a little story before bed .

The Disney bedtime hotline may sound silly, but getting kids back into a bedtime routine (especially when they've grown used to staying up as late as the summer sun) is serious business.

According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, school-age kids need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night, and when summer ends, kids no longer have the option of sleeping in a bit on weekdays. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine goes even further, recommending between 9 and 12 hours of sleep for kids 6 to 12 years old. Kids 3 to 5 years old should sleep 10 to 13 hour (including naps).

"Among three to five-year-olds, lack of sleep is associated with memory consolidation and language development difficulties, and with a lesser quality of life," said Wendy Hall, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine panel that made those recommendations explained after their release.

"Children aged five to 12 years who get less than nine hours of sleep have significantly increased odds of obesity," Hall, a sleep specialist and nursing professor at the University of British Columbia continued.

"Sleep routines are critical for kids of all ages. Reading a book, telling a story, singing a song, or getting into a toothbrush routine help kids settle into sleep better," she explained. "Banning electronic devices from the bedroom also helps."

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a five-year-old who starts school at 8:00am (and needs an hour or so to get ready, eat and commute) should be going to bed at 8 or 9:00pm.

If your child's school starts early, or they have a long bus or car ride to get to school, you may have to call Mickey even earlier.

Thanks for the help, Disney.

[A version of this post was originally published August 13, 2018. It has been updated.]

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Legendary journalist Cokie Roberts died this week due to complications from breast cancer, NPR reports. She was 75 years old.

Roberts made a huge impact on America and will not be forgotten. The Emmy Award-winning broadcaster made her mark in journalism at a time when it was difficult for women to be taken seriously in the space. She was a pioneer who remembered the pioneering women who came before her.

As a historian and prolific writer who authored several bestselling works on the role of American women in U.S. history, including "Capital Dames," "Founding Mothers" and "Ladies of Liberty", Roberts was dedicated to reminding the public of the crucial role of American women in U.S. history.

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Back in 2015, Roberts talked to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about what modern mothers should know about the amazing women who preceded them.

This is what she wanted us to know.

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Before becoming a mother, I had a film reel running in my head of the type of mom I would be. I would nurse. I would make organic baby food. I would set strict and loving boundaries: no screens before two, no co-sleeping, binky gone after the first birthday. I laugh as I type this up.

Our son is 14 months old now and he eats store-bought squeeze packs and goldfish crackers, he sleeps in our bed almost every night, he occasionally watches a show when I am overwhelmed and his binky is his best friend.

The mom I thought I would be in my head is not exactly the mom I am when the realities of life set in.

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When it came to breastfeeding, this was something I assumed I would just do. I knew it would initially be something I would have to figure out and learn in the hospital, but after that I thought it would be natural and comfortable. I was not overly concerned. I didn't even take a breastfeeding class. I heard stories of the initial challenges and pains early breastfeeding brought on, but I wrongly assumed that proper latching and sore nipples would be my biggest obstacles to overcome.

I was absolutely unprepared for the anxiety that breastfeeding brought on.

To say I struggled with nursing my son is an understatement. It was a battle I faced every couple of hours. There were tears and frustrations on both of our ends. I blamed it on a lot of external things: tongue tie, nipple shape, extra milk supply. It was so easy for me to externally justify why this breastfeeding thing was so challenging for me.

While some of these reasons may have been true, there was a bigger issue: my own head. Especially when it came to nursing in public, it almost always ended in disaster. My heart rate would increase, my mind began to tell me all types of lies and he would become frantic. My great challenges when it came to nursing went far beyond latching issues. Even an experienced lactation consultant cannot fully diagnose an issue when it has to do with your internal fears and deep insecurities.

This is something that not enough people talk about. I felt extremely alone and isolated in my anxiety with nursing in public.

I frantically Googled all day long in hopes of finding more women that also struggled with feeling uncomfortable feeding their babies in public. But most of my research made me feel like there was something wrong with me. So much of what I read revolved around embracing nursing in public, not even worrying about using a cover, and the pride other moms had in the ability to nurse wherever.

I read these articles and my heart longed to be like them, but I was stuck still feeling incredibly shy when it came to nursing in front of anyone except my husband. What was wrong with me? This is a totally natural thing. All those other moms seem to nurse out in public with such grace and confidence. Why can't I be like them? Why do I have to get so awkward, insecure and unsure? These were my constant thoughts in the early days of nursing.

Breastfeeding, for me, was much more than just learning the basics of how to correctly feed my sweet baby. It was a lesson in confidence. Even more, it was a lesson in embracing the fact that I do things differently. I am a slow learner. It takes me a while to warm up. I need time. I am shy, modest and slightly insecure. I so wish I could go back and fill those early months with more grace and patience. I wish I could tell myself it would be okay and that I would get there.

I did get there, eventually. I went from needing to find a hiding place each time my baby became hungry to nursing with confidence wherever we were: the park, the beach, an airplane. Part of this growth came from my son's own development, but a large part of overcoming the deep anxiety I once had was learning to be confident as a mom.

It took me a while to fully feel like I was made to be a mom. I had so much self-doubt and insecurity, which ultimately got in the way of something as natural as feeding my baby. I felt like everyone's eyes were on me when I attempted to nurse in public. I made up so many lies about what they thought about me. It's sad to admit, but when I breastfed in public, I was more concerned with how others perceived me than just focusing on my baby.

As I gained confidence in motherhood, my care in how others perceived me slowly lessened. My focus was finally on where it needed to be: my baby.

Gaining the confidence to nurse in public definitely did not happen overnight. It was a long and slow process. There was not one thing that suddenly granted me with courage. It was many little wins that overtime allowed me to be the mother I pictured I would be. The one that nursed her baby with grace and confidence wherever she may be.

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