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Working motherhood doesn’t have to mean saying ‘I’m sorry’

“You certainly don’t need to apologize for birthing and raising a little human.”

Working motherhood doesn’t have to mean saying ‘I’m sorry’

I remember sitting home with my 3-month-old, about a month before going back to work, vacillating between total bliss and immense sadness and guilt at the thought of leaving him. I was a rollercoaster of emotions and the anxiety of going back to work was overwhelming.


And then my first week at work came and went, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

What made it okay was quickly learning and adopting a set of working mommy mindsets and practices. I found this helped me blend my two worlds together, in a way that worked for me and my family.

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Here’s what got me through the last year as a new working mama, and what I have integrated into my new working self.

Educate your colleagues

If you were like me — available 24/7 for my colleagues and clients with no boundaries on my time, coming back to work post-baby required “training” my colleagues and clients on my new working hours. For me, that meant preserving 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. in the morning and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the evening to be with my son during the week.

And I mean 100% with my son—totally present, in it and not doing work email or calls. This meant leaving the office at a set time each day and getting back online when he was in bed to finish my work. While these boundaries were tested the week I got back, I held them firm and made sure I only deviated from it for rare and important occasions. Soon, everyone got used to my new working norm and respected it, as well as me for prioritizing my family.

Don’t apologize

You don’t say you’re sorry when you have to take time off because of a knee surgery, so you certainly don’t need to apologize for birthing and raising a little human. While reality clearly changes when you have a baby, I noticed myself feeling guilty and uneasy as I tried to embrace this new reality.

I noticed the pleaser, go-getter part of me felt I had to apologize for having to pump between meetings, or leave at a certain time each day. I assumed my colleagues were disappointed by the new mommy-me, when really, I just had to reset expectations with myself. So I quickly figured out the new work schedule I needed to be the mom I wanted to be, and then lived by this new norm — without asking for permission or forgiveness and without feeling guilty.

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Humble thyself on weekday workouts

This was a big one for me, as I was used to working out regularly, pre-baby. Once I went back to work, I found it virtually impossible to get a weekday workout in without jeopardizing time with my son or an extra hour of much needed sleep—both things I was not willing to do.

Others may have a different set-up, approach or level of discipline and can make it work. But for me, being a working mom meant letting go of the weekday workouts and giving myself the space to get into a new routine of being a full-time working mom.

Embrace your new working mommy superpowers

I was someone who prided myself on being really efficient, but I’ve taken that to a whole new level.

As my mommy skills developed, my work skills improved as well.

Now, my work is laser focused on all of the things that will help me have the highest impact possible. I don’t get lost re-doing, overthinking or second guessing my work. My presentations are more succinct, and confident and the self-doubt I used to have around facilitating in front of senior clients flew out the window.

I also used to fall into a lone wolf mentality, taking on more work than I should, and not asking for help. I quickly realized that this was no longer a good way for me to work, so I started to lean into developing others which created more space for me to focus on the more critical things that only I could do.

Be open to new possibilities

While on maternity leave, my small, family-like company was acquired by a much bigger organization. So I came back to a new working world, one that required more travel and other compromises on family time that I wasn’t willing to make. While this was unsettling, I wasn’t prepared to think of exploring anything else because I loved my colleagues and my work.

Then, my favorite client offered me a full-time role working for them, doing the work I love to do, working closer to home, and with no travel obligations and a family-friendly culture to top it off. It was something I never would have explored before I had my son, but given my new reality, it was the perfect fit. Now I have a balance in my life that brings me more fulfillment on both the work and home-front.


This post was written by Bria Martin, Senior Director, Organizational Strategy and Development at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. It appeared on Maybrooks.

Maybrooks is a career resource for moms. Search jobs, research family friendly companies, and find tools to navigate your career.


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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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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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