What I Wish First Time Moms Knew About Breastfeeding

What I Wish First Time Moms Knew About Breastfeeding | Baby Chick

What I Wish First Time Moms Knew About Breastfeeding

When I was expecting, the concept of breastfeeding felt vague and distant. I just knew that moms nourished their babies through their breasts, but there was another choice — formula — that many seemed to prefer.

Naturally, I was a little freaked out about everything from childbirth to changing diapers. I’m that person who attacks fear with knowledge, so before long I hit the books.

Among all the sleep training and diaper changing advice, I found clusters of general tidbits about breastfeeding. I learned that:

  • “mother’s milk is liquid gold”
  • Feeding promotes a unique bond between mommy and baby.
  • Breastmilk has all kinds of nutritious advantages over formula.
  • It provides babies with these magical, invincible antibodies for protection throughout childhood.

By the end of my pregnancy, I was set on exclusive breastfeeding. It was the path for me. I wanted the very best for my baby. But, frankly, nothing prepared me for how hard and emotionally taxing this journey might be. No one told me it wasn’t smooth-sailing at first, and that if I encountered rough waters, I shouldn’t feel bad. I shouldn’t give up. And I shouldn’t let someone else make the choice for me about how I’d feed my child.

Here’s what I wish first time mothers knew about breastfeeding. If you’re on the brink of motherhood, I hope this helps you enjoy feeding your baby with more confidence.

What I Wish First Time Moms Knew About Breastfeeding

Your Milk Doesn’t Come In Right Away

Did you also envision a happy baby who knew how to feed right out of the womb, or was that just me?

Some articles I read painted an image of flowing breastmilk, bonding and bliss immediately after birth. When this wasn’t the case, I felt like I failed at the whole mom thing right out of the gate.

I thought giving birth would trigger some magical milk switch in my body. I’d set baby to the boob for an endless supply. Instead, I got stitched up after a c-section as my newborn was whisked away to get washed, weighed and warmed. Because such is life sometimes.

My milk didn’t come in that day or the next. It started coming in on the third day, as my doctors pressured me to supplement with formula because “baby needed to eat.”

Sure, baby was getting droplets of liquid here and there, but mature mother’s milk was nowhere in sight. and you know what? That’s okay.

When you first give birth, your breasts let down colostrum, a sticky, thin substance affectionately called “liquid gold.” It’s chock-full of protein and antibodies, and it’s exactly what your baby needs, even if in tiny doses.

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If you’re anxious to produce more colostrum, try hand-expressing it between feedings. When you’re still in the hospital, your nurse or doula can coach you through it.

Once you get a few droplets of colostrum through hand-expression, feed it to baby with a tiny spoon. Finger feeding is okay as well. Don’t get pressured into supplementing with formula if your plan was to breastfeed exclusively. No, your baby isn’t starving, and yes, she’s getting all she needs until your full milk comes in.

Latching Doesn’t Always Come Easy

Though newborns have a natural rooting reflex, they don’t automatically get the latching thing down. They need some coaching and encouragement.

If you’ve had a vaginal natural birth, direct skin-to-skin with your baby might be possible as soon as he’s born. This promotes latching. Under most circumstances, though, it’s a learning process for both mom and baby.

Since my son was born via c-section, we didn’t have the opportunity for immediate skin-to-skin contact. Like all other newborns whose moms receive pain management meds, he had a little bit of residual medication in his system. Both of those factors probably interfered with latching at first. I didn’t know that having an epidural might affect my baby’s latch.

Your Medical Support Makes All The Difference

Before we left the hospital, my medical team was there to coach us through the initial feeding phase. But while some of the professionals were eager to help us breastfeed successfully, a few decided that making it work shouldn’t be my priority.

When my son wouldn’t latch on the first day, a nurse gave me a nipple shield to facilitate the feedings. I wish I knew that a nipple shield should be used after a few days as a last resort. It can further confuse baby’s latch if introduced too soon. I was scared into supplementing with formula by the third day of my baby’s life. I wish I knew that my milk wouldn’t come in immediately, and that bottle-feeding would definitely prevent my baby from learning to latch sooner.

A couple of professional angels made it possible for me to feed my son for as long as I did. On our last night, a seasoned nurse came by as my fussy baby struggled to latch. She took away the nipple shield and whipped out a small spray pen. She spritzed the shield and gave it back.

“Sugar water,” she said. “You’re welcome.”

That little droplet of sugar water motivated my little guy to wake up and work on his latch.

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Consult A Lactation Specialist

My postpartum hospital stay lasted four days. A jaundiced baby and a mama whose blood pressure wouldn’t go down is a recipe for a longer stay. That entire time, I struggled through our latching ordeal. With mixed emotions and disappointment, I tried latching, pumping, and supplementing with formula.

On our last day, my team sent over a lactation consultant . . . What? Is that a thing?

During our visit that was entirely too short, my consultant taught me how to hand-express my milk. (It’s more effective than pumping during those first few days.) She showed me how to properly position my baby, taught me some tricks for waking him up during feedings, and how to tell when he was full.

She talked to me about cluster feedings. She was appalled that my doctors made me supplement before they called her in to help. Most importantly, she taught me to speak up for my right to breastfeed. I felt more comfortable with that one professional while feeding my baby than I had with the various rotating doctors.

When in doubt, ask for a lactation specialist. If your hospital doesn’t’ have one on staff, ask your pediatrician or doula for recommendations. A specialist is your number one advocate for breastfeeding. She might be just what you need to get to that finish line with confidence.

Dads Can Feed Breastfed Babies

One common reason why some moms choose not to breastfeed is: No one else can be in charge of feeding. It’s understandable, honestly. Moms need a break sometimes; a nap here and there while daddy feeds the little one sounds heavenly, for instance.

But guess what? You don’t have to compromise your resolve to breastfeed in order to let daddy share in the fun. Dads can feed the baby too if you’re able to express milk.

Since I was already supplementing with formula, we bottle fed the milk I pumped. There were better options, though. Bottle feeding a breastfed baby can create nipple confusion. Babies are instinctually resourceful. They don’t want to work for their food if they discover it’s not necessary. Since milk flows easier from a bottle, babies introduced to that aren’t keen on going back to the breast.

Dads can simulate breastfeeding. That’s what this dad did when his wife couldn’t breastfeed due to medical reasons. He got a lot of flack for it on social media, but he wasn’t afraid of the public’s judgment if it meant doing what’s best for his baby. This is a genius alternative if your baby’s dad is up for it.

READ MORE
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You’re Not A Failure If You Don’t Continue Breastfeeding

In a perfect world, I would have breastfed until my baby weaned himself, perhaps around a year old or so. I wouldn’t mind if it was longer than that. But we all know plans and parenting don’t often go hand in hand, right?

My milk started drying up by the sixth month. Between pumping, feeding, and trying to increase my milk supply, I was too exhausted for anything else. My life was all about fenugreek, Mother’s Milk tea, hand-expressing (it’s more effective than pumping sometimes), and marathon breastfeeding sessions with a baby who was increasingly frustrated.

I knew my milk supply was decreasing and that maybe I wouldn’t be able to do much to bring it back up. The truth is, my supply was never so abundant that I could stop supplementing with formula. But as a mom who was desperate to breastfeed, I was in denial.

Then, the feelings of failure flooded over me. How was I unable to feed my child for a full year? How could I let my supply get so low? How could I give up at this point? It wasn’t fun feeling like a malfunctioning mommy.

I wish I knew then that I was far from a failure. I tried very hard to breastfeed from day one. We both hurtled through some minor medical challenges. I contended with a weak initial support system for breastfeeding. I pumped after each feeding, and when my baby wouldn’t latch, he still had the benefit of his mother’s milk.

I’m not a failure because I couldn’t continue to breastfeed. Neither are you. If you struggle with milk production, there are options for you to prolong feeding your baby. If you feel like you’ve exhausted every option and you’re just unable to sustain milk production, you aren’t a failure. You’ve given your baby all the milk you can produce, and every bit counts toward her overall well-being. If you still want your baby to benefit from breastmilk, you can look for a local donors’ bank or a mom who produces more than she needs. That’s what I did when I finally accepted that my breastfeeding days were over.

As a new mom, it’s important to arm yourself with information. It’s also great to make goals and picture ideals, but plans don’t always pan out, and breastfeeding is no exception. The best you can do is advocate for your choice to feed your baby, and take avenues that enhance your chances of success. That in itself counts as a positive experience.

About the Author /

Bernadetta Pracon is a freelance writer and a mom to one little boy. She enjoys coffee, loves dogs, and appreciates her freelance lifestyle.

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I've had several clients take HypnoBirthing classes, but I wanted to learn more. What is HypnoBirthing really? How does it work? Who is this method for? What are the benefits? For today's podcast episode I had the privilege of chatting with Cliodhna Griffin, the founder of @bornfreebirthing and Houston Placenta Services. Cliodhna is a certified and experienced HypnoBirthing Educator, Master Trainer and Faculty Member of the HypnoBirthing Institute. Cliodhna answered all of my questions and more. She's pretty incredible and her passion is obvious. {To listen to today's podcast episode, click the 🔗 in our bio!}⁠
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Board by: @treasuresfromjennifer
📷: unknown⁠
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Anger. Rage. Frustration. Guilt. Shame. Remorse. A Anger. Rage. Frustration. Guilt. Shame. Remorse. Apologies. Self-digust. All make mothering complicated and layered with conflicting emotions.⁠
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Comic from "Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts" @familiustalk @brooklyn_rabbit⁠
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Crawling is correct. 🤣⁠ (quote via @mytherapi Crawling is correct. 🤣⁠
(quote via @mytherapistsays)⁠
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📷: @momhashtags⁠
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TRUTH!⁠ 😂⁠ (quote via @nottheworstmom via T TRUTH!⁠ 😂⁠
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How would you finish this sentence? . . .⁠ You k How would you finish this sentence? . . .⁠
You know you have a newborn when _______.⁠
📷: @healthiest_baby⁠
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You’ve spent the past 9 months preparing for the You’ve spent the past 9 months preparing for the arrival of your beautiful baby. 🤰 Labor and delivery has come and gone. Now its time for your 6-week postpartum check up. 🏥  So much of life after delivery is focused on your new bundle of joy that you can sometimes forget to care for yourself. This is exactly why I believe the postpartum appointment is so important to you as a new momma – because it’s all about you! 💗⁠
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Sure, your provider loves to fawn over your sweet baby, but this appointment is about mom. How are YOU doing? Self-care is so important to your health and recovery after having a baby, so let this appointment focus on your well-being. 😊⁠
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📷: @tailsandwings⁠
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YES 👏 IT 👏 DOES👏⁠ Go and find your troo YES 👏 IT 👏 DOES👏⁠
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📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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An amazing story from a determined mom to breastfe An amazing story from a determined mom to breastfeed her #triplets. 💗 With hard work, determination, help and support, anything is possible.
Words & 📷: @triplets_and_toddler
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“I breastfed my first child so I knew I wanted to #breastfeed again. People were skeptical about me #breastfeeding triplets, and this drove my determination! 💪 My boys were born at 29+3 and therefore it was so important for them to have #breastmilk! 🤱
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After having an emergency C-section, I knew there was no time to rest, so I started hand expressing within the first hour. I set an alarm to ensure that I expressed every 2 hours during the day and every 3 hours overnight. ⏰
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Being separated from my boys was hard so having pictures/video links helped whilst I expressed. Seeing my teeny, vulnerable babies in their little incubators drove my determination to provide them with my milk! I also rotated muslin squares between us so that I could smell them and vice versa. This also helped me whilst I expressed during the night away from my boys. Their smell on the swaddles kept me focused! 💙
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Twice during our #NICU journey my boys were split between hospitals over an hour apart! This was the hardest time and meant I was separated from 2 of my boys for a couple of days. During this time I kept up with expressing and ensured that all three of them had enough milk to take with them until we were all reunited.
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Looking back I feel it is my sheer determination that has really enabled me to successfully breastfeed my triplet boys! Not once have they needed donor or formula milk. It required a massive commitment both physically and emotionally but I am so proud of my achievement! My boys are now 11 months and are still breastfeeding." ❤️
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*This story is not to bring any mothers down that choose to formula feed. (I, personally, had to give my son formula at 7 months old!) We share this mother's story to inspire mothers and celebrate our victories! ✨
If you are having breastfeeding struggles and want to succeed, contact a good local IBCLC and receive support. Find new mom friends who are also breastfeeding who can encourage you. And if you choose to formula feed, we honor you too. 💕 #mommychick
WTF 😑⁠ (via @thenatewolf via Twitter)⁠ .⁠ WTF 😑⁠
(via @thenatewolf via Twitter)⁠
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Repeat after me . . . 💗⁠ (quote via @friscoar Repeat after me . . . 💗⁠
(quote via @friscoareamoms)⁠
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🧠 4 Ways to Promote Your Child's Mental Health 🧠 4 Ways to Promote Your Child's Mental Health 🧠⁠
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Your child’s mental health is fairly complicated. It's also critical to their overall health and wellness. We often think of mental health as it pertains to adults, but just like growth and physical development, research shows that mental health is something that should be considered starting at birth. ❤️⁠
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When children are very young, their brains are extremely sensitive to environmental stress. Toxic stress, defined as high levels of prolonged stress, can have life-long effects on children. Limiting stress for young children is critical for their early mental health. One of the most fundamental ways we can help eliminate toxic stress is by building a strong relationship foundation from the very beginning of their lives. Your relationship with your baby is an integral part of their sense of self-esteem, independence, and confidence; three key factors in mental health.⁠
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Building that relationship with your child can be broken down into four key concepts . . . {Click 🔗 in bio to find out what they are!}⁠
📷: @vlentine⁠
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#parenting #parenthood #parentlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Just in case you call her a boy, here's a MASSIVE Just in case you call her a boy, here's a MASSIVE bow that shows she's a girl . . . yet still somehow get's called a boy. 🤷⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
💤 Good Bedtime Routines for Babies of Every Age 💤 Good Bedtime Routines for Babies of Every Age 💤⁠
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If you’ve ever typed into Google, “Why won’t my baby sleep?” you’re not alone. In fact, you’re among thousands of other parents/caregivers who are likely as tired as you are. Chances are, if you have gone down the Google rabbit hole at 2:00 a.m. (or just asked your pediatrician for sleep advice), then you’ve most likely been introduced to the concept of a bedtime routine.⁠
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A bedtime routine can be an incredibly helpful tool in establishing healthy sleep habits and good sleep hygiene. Infants and young children thrive on routine; in fact, they are comforted by predictability (spoiler alert: most adults are this way, too!). Plus, a young mind is exposed to so much new information every day that it’s reassuring for a child to know that they can depend on certain events to have a predictable structure.⁠
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Bedtime routines are also a cue to their brains and bodies that sleep is coming. With a predictable bedtime routine, your little one will start to recognize the order of the routine and begin to anticipate what comes next. With enough repetition, this process happens automatically in a very Pavlovian way. A calm and successive routine will also make the onset of sleep come more easily. Can you imagine if you walked out of your workout and immediately someone told you that you had to lay down and fall asleep? This would be nearly impossible, and the same is true for our little ones. By allowing them some time to unwind, you are making the falling asleep process that much easier. Here are some tips on what to do for your little one's bedtime. ❤️⁠ {Click 🔗 in bio to read more!}⁠
📷: @hannahxruth⁠
Article by: @ohbabyconsulting⁠
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#babysleep #goodnight #bedtime #bedtimeroutine #nightnight #sweetdreams #sleepconsultant #babysleeptips #sleepcoach #parenting #sleeptips #motherhood #babylove #sleeptraining #parentingtips #sleeping #toddlersleep #sleephelp #parentinghelp #sleepcoaching #parenthood #sleepdeprived #sleeptraininghelp #babysleepconsultant #babychick #mommychick #momlife
THIS. The struggle is real.⁠ ⁠🥴 📷: @brit THIS. The struggle is real.⁠ ⁠🥴
📷: @britt.kav⁠
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#parenting #parenthood #parentlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #momhumor
It's the beeeeeessssttttt . . . 😬😑 (quote vi It's the beeeeeessssttttt . . . 😬😑
(quote via @smalltowntallgirl)⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
🤗 7 Tips for Raising Secure and Happy Kids 🤗 🤗 7 Tips for Raising Secure and Happy Kids 🤗⁠
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Parenting is hard. And ever so important. But sometimes it feels like we need to have a special degree in “Managing Toddler Mood Swings” to navigate some of the unexpected scenarios that come with raising secure and happy children.⁠
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Like how do we handle a child that likes to scream instead of talk?⁠
“Please, child, just lower your voice while we’re in Target.”⁠
Or what are we supposed to do when a child prefers to strip down every time we get them dressed or only eat foods that are the color blue?! (In case you’re wondering, there aren’t many blue foods.)⁠
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It can feel tricky and tiring to try and do it all right and then sometimes still feel like you’re at a loss. But the truth is, there’s never any way to make everything perfect. But there are things we can do that set our children up to feel secure and happy. And here are seven of my favorite tips. {Click 🔗 in bio to read more!}⁠
📷: @lauren.stewart_dc⁠
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#parenting #parenthood #parentlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Any oldie but goodie by @spiritysol⁠. ❤️⁠ Any oldie but goodie by @spiritysol⁠. ❤️⁠
Cesarean mamas--this one's for you. I hope you know that you are worthy. That you are such a warrior. That you are brave and powerful and strong as f✨ck. I hope you know that birthing your baby on an operating table makes you no less of a mother. No less of a goddess. Your birth story is holy and that beautiful scar on your belly is sacred as sh✨t. You are worthy of praise and celebration, honor and  admiration.⁠
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I hope that you know it was worth it. Knowing this does NOT mean you can't mourn your dream. It does NOT mean "you and your baby are safe--that's all that matters!" It does NOT mean you can't wish things had gone differently. But I hope that underneath it all, you can find beauty in what was. What is. Your baby. Your birth. Your strength. Your healing. Your story.⁠
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Your journey wasn't easy. Perhaps it unfolded much differently than you had hoped--perhaps it shook you to your core and left you feeling the immense weight of a "what if" and why".⁠
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Perhaps you're still wading through the heavy emotions of disappointment, anger, and grief. Perhaps you always will. But whatever feelings you hold in your heart and in your womb, I hope that you can look at your scar and say "Hell yes, it was worth it. And hell ya, I am worthy."⁠
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*This post was written for mamas who might be struggling with an unexpected or undesired cesarean birth. I recognize that there are mamas that choose to have planned/elective cesarean births who might not resonate with the message in this post. I honor them as well--as I honor all mothers, all women, and all beings.⁠
Words & 📷: @spiritysol⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #birth #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #cesareanbirth #bellybirth #postpartum #newmom #childbirth #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Because I gave him the wrong colored cup . . . whi Because I gave him the wrong colored cup . . . which is the color he originally asked for.⁠
🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️⁠
(quote via @HenpeckedHal via Twitter)⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Hope they're ready for us!⁠ 👯‍♀️⁠
📷: @myquestionablelife⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
" . . . Tears contain stress hormones. Why would w " . . . Tears contain stress hormones. Why would we have tears if they didn't serve a purpose? Little hurts can feel big when you are little. There is no such things as no reason to cry. Comforting a crying child is not the same as shutting them down, no matter how sweetly we shut them down . . . up actually." - Pam Leo⁠
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#gentleparenting #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #parenting #parentlife #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #healing #mentalhealth
"Every diaper change is a struggle⁠ Goldfish cru "Every diaper change is a struggle⁠
Goldfish crumbs are literally everywhere.⁠
Nothing stays in the correct place.⁠
Dramatic meltdowns are a part of our daily routine.⁠
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Being a mother to a new toddler is so challenging, and every day I'm not sure what to expect! But, even on the days where I think I'm going nuts, it's so worth getting to watch my daughter grow into her own person. I love seeing her personality expand with each day.⁠
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I won't lie though, I do get a tad bit freaked out sometimes! I mean I've never heard anyone nail the sound of a pterodactyl better than my daughter, when she's having a meltdown. 😂😳"⁠
Repost: @postpartum⁠
Words & 📷: @tori.mccain⁠
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Share your worst/funniest toddler meltdown stories below! I'm sure almost all of us mamas who have a toddler can relate. 🙋⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
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