I loved breastfeeding. And no one was more surprised about that little fact than me.

I mean, it was always something I knew I’d wanted to try, but it was also something that always seemed a little intimidating and daunting to me. I wasn’t sure if I could do it or, to be perfectly honest, if I wanted to do for the long haul.

While breastfeeding has a ton of health benefits for baby and mom, I am not someone who insists that it’s the right choice for everyone. Some women can’t, others don’t want to, and who am I to say what’s best for them? Their bodies, their babies, their decisions. The way I see it, fed is best. As long as baby is eating and happy, it’s all good.

So I gave myself deadlines—first three months to hang in there, then four, and then I didn’t need those deadlines anymore. This was the right choice for me and baby, and we were a great team. It was our time, our little dance. And even though we were both ready to wean at almost 13 months, I still cried when it happened.

Much to my surprise (again), after more than a year of not breastfeeding, I still miss a few things about it—5 things, in particular.

Instant soothing. Crying, be gone! And it was—instantly!—because of Mommy’s Magical Boobies. Yes, that is what my husband and I called them, and it was ever-so-accurate. Even when baby wasn’t hungry, they worked their magic before bedtime, after shots at the doctor’s office and whenever I couldn’t figure out what else was the matter. No need for Harry Potter when you had these wondrous things.

That sweet, dopey milk-drunk look. No matter how tired you are, you can’t help but smile when you see that sleepy, completely satisfied look on baby’s face when he’s done eating. Babies are like drunk little men…but in the cutest possible ways. Even with the spit-up and inappropriate groping in public places.

Eating whatever you want. Mommy confession: One of the things that initially appealed to me about breastfeeding was the calorie-burning. And it’s amazing. We’re talking around 500 calories per day. So I never felt guilty for that ice cream sundae with the works or eating marshmallow fluff out of the jar. (What, like you’ve never done that?) Biology is brilliant: Watch the calories go in, then disappear! Until you stop breastfeeding…and then they suddenly don’t.

Baby immunity. My son was never healthier than when he was getting all of those wonderful Mommy antibodies. I nursed him even between bouts of the stomach flu, because I knew it was the best way to protect him from getting sick. And you know what? It worked. I felt like Superwoman, and he was Superbaby.

Being the one he looks to for comfort. And, if I’m being totally honest, being his whole world. My boy loves his mama—and he’s always loved his mama’s hair, which is, I think, a direct result of our breastfeeding days—but at 26 months, he’s also grappling with his independence and separating from me. All good and healthy, of course, but there’s nothing like the intense intimacy of breastfeeding and knowing that you are the moon and the stars for this perfect little creature who you created and is your complete responsibility. And did I mention the snuggles? Oh, the snuggles. The. Absolute. Best.

And 5 Things I Don’t Miss…

Being the sole provider of his comfort. Sometimes you really need to do laundry. Sometimes you really need to do work. Sometimes you really need to be there for a friend. Sometimes you really need a break.

Breastfeeding in public. I am seriously in awe of women who do this and do this well. And I have many friends who do. I, on the other hand, am apparently wildly uncoordinated. Boobs out, shirt tangled, bra somehow at my chin, cover not doing the covering it’s supposed to be doing, baby and mom completely uncomfortable—it wasn’t pretty. So unless we were at a Mommy and Me movie at our local (and very dark) movie theater or going to a friend’s house, a bottle usually came out with us, just in case. That said, I loved knowing that I could feed my child if I really needed to, in any dire circumstances, and at that point, I knew I wouldn’t care about flashing random strangers. Still, I am determined to get better at this with Baby #2.

Pumping. You never feel less sexy than when you have a pump hooked up to your boobs. Personally, I felt like a cow—there, I said it—even though the importance of what I was doing was always at the forefront of my mind. Don’t get me wrong: Pumps are wonderful inventions, and they help to extend breastfeeding when you have to go back to work or just need a break. But God, did I hate being hooked up to that contraption after baby was asleep to get a few ounces of liquid gold. Which, mind you, my kid refused to drink under any circumstances, but that’s another story.

Leaky boobs. And those telltale wet spots in the worst possible places. And bra liners, which are basically pantyliners for your boobs. And that painful, engorged feeling when you’re away from baby and pump and your body truly aches for him. Let’s not forget sore, cracked nipples (which, with the right guidance from a good lactation consultant and lots of lanolin, should go away after a few weeks). The leaky boobs, on the other hand, will be with you for a while even after you stop nursing.

Nighttime wakings. At some point during those first few weeks (and months), you start looking like a zombie from The Walking Dead. Scratch that—you make the zombies from The Walking Dead look good. Feeding baby every two hours in those early days can take their toll. That said, as tired as I was, I did love those middle-of-the-night cuddles and that quiet time just staring at baby, my perfect little miracle. So…that’s something I don’t miss but also kind of really do. Motherhood is complicated and confounding sometimes, huh?

This post was originally featured on Dawn’s blog, Momsanity

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You probably thought you’d never see a full musical number about cracked nipples, but yet, here we are. The parody-happy company HelloFlo! has released a teaser for their new video “Postpartum: The Musical,” which will be released in its entirety next week and looks like it’s going to be a hilariously spot-on production about what happens after the baby comes, if the fact that they rhymed “chapped” with “trapped” is any indication.

SEE MORE: Drunk Moms Talk About Their Kids

Sometimes (maybe even lots of times), we all need a little “mom juice”. In this beautifully touching video, moms were prompted with questions ranging from “what do you love most about your kids?” to “what was pregnancy like?” The latter prompted this succinct response: “That’s the weirdest shit anybody can ever deal with.” Truth.

SEE MORE: Breastfeeding Anthem Will Make You Laugh While You Cringe

If you have “nipples the size of plates” then this song is for you!

This post was originally featured on NickMom

My postpartum body is amazing. Really. No, I haven’t lost all of the baby weight, and it seems like it’s going to be more of a struggle this time around. (Thanks, second baby and advanced maternal age!) And I’m not talking about breastfeeding, even though I do think it’s pretty badass that I actually produce food.

No, what I’m talking about is the sheer amazingness of skin-to-skin contact. It is so magical and so wonderful, and yes, I totally sound like I’m high because that’s what it honest-to-God feels like. And I’m kicking myself for not doing more of it with my newborn once we left the hospital.

My life has been so frenetic since this poor kid was born eight weeks ago, and I’ve been feeling guilty about that as well as overwhelmed with the amount of crap I need to do. So last Saturday, I asked my husband to take our 3-year-old to the park while the baby was sleeping so I could get some stuff done.

READ MORE: BREAST IS BEST…BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST?

Yeah, you can imagine how that went.

The baby decided to boycott her regularly scheduled nap, so the laundry stayed unfolded, the house stayed messy, the writing stayed unwritten and I stayed unshowered. That last bit had to change, though, because, frankly, it had been a few days, and more important, we were seeing people who showered regularly later that afternoon and I wanted to be semi-presentable.

When I finally managed to get the baby to sleep, I jumped in the shower, and, of course, she started crying almost immediately. Sigh.

I rushed through my shower to pick her up, but she wouldn’t go back down and she wouldn’t be soothed just by rocking. That’s when I decided to employ my superpower: Mommy’s Magical Boobies, as my husband and I had nicknamed them back when my son was little.

READ MORE: CONVERSATIONS WITH MY BREAST PUMP & OTHER POSTPARTUM TALES

Fresh out of the shower, I was still in a towel and she was just in a diaper once I took her out of her swaddle. We plopped down on the couch, I popped her on a boob and the crying stopped immediately. When she was done, she cuddled up on my chest as she always does, but this time there was no barrier between us, not even a thin piece of fabric.

And I took a breath. A deep, calming, present breath.

The frenetic thoughts were silenced, and I just stopped. It was just me and her against the world, and my heart felt like it was going to burst. Even when the boys returned home, we stayed in our little mommy-baby bubble. Nothing was getting through it and nothing fazed me—not the Tasmanian Devil running circles around us or the fact that his dad gave him the iPad for an ungodly long time shortly thereafter.

With my son, I pretty much walked around topless for the first month of his life. For starters, I had read a ton about kangaroo care. All of that skin-to-skin cuddling releases oxytocin in both you and baby, and it promotes attachment, decreases stress (and even the potential for postpartum depression) and just makes everything better. This works even if you’re formula-feeding and also for dads.

READ MORE: THE STORM OF MODERN DAY PARENTING

But past that, as a first-time mom, I’d also been having a hard time with breastfeeding. I couldn’t be bothered to keep unhooking my bra and lifting up my shirt because he wanted to be attached to me at all times—and I was just too damn uncoordinated to do it gracefully. My solution? I just left it all off.

With my daughter, though, I’m an old pro at breastfeeding, and baby and I are both very efficient. Maybe too efficient, because we get the job done quickly. It’s great because then I can tend to my 3-year-old and shuttle him around town, and of course, I’m not struggling or in pain like the first time around. But on the flip side, I’ve been missing out this amazing bonding time, and I didn’t even realize it.

Well, now I do, and that’s why I’m making a vow to go topless as much as possible for the next two weeks. (At home, people. I’m not freeing the nipple that much.) I’ve only got a little time left in this magical phase, and I’m not going to squander it, no matter how much laundry there is to fold.

This post was originally featured on Dawn Yanek’s blog, Momsanity. Featured image via.

There are a million books for new and expecting parents out there, but every mom I talk to has said that there are things she wishes someone had told her, before she had the baby.

I felt that way, too. So I’ve compiled a list of my top 8 things I blundered through the first time I had a child. These are also things I am having to remind myself that I have learned, now that I’m doing it all for the second time, so that I don’t think I’m being all high and mighty by sharing this shit. I’m just trying to pass anything that might qualify as “wisdom” along.

1. Whatever piece of hell you’re currently going through right now? It’s going to change.

Nothing lasts forever with babies. This means that those crazy nights of colic will come to an end. Or that sleep regression will disappear as strangely as it showed up. I know it doesn’t feel like it’ll end, right now. But it will. For real.

And you smug parents in the corner, with kids who started sleeping through the night at 3 weeks? It’ll change for you, too.

2. Breastfeeding can be fucking hard. Trust me, it ain’t all instinct.

And it’s not for the faint of heart. However, if you decide to feed your child, you are still a good mom. Unless you’re giving him caramel frappuccinos or something. Just sayin’.

3. At some point, you will find yourself touching your child’s poop with your bare hands.

That’s right. You will get shit under your fingernails, find yourself scooping a turd out of the bathwater at the speed of light, or something else that you would’ve found beyond disgusting in your pre-baby life. Don’t worry. If it hasn’t happened already, it will.

4. You will find yourself holding a handful of your child’s vomit.

Don’t believe me? When you’re over at your friends’ place and your kid gives you the 3-second warning like, “Mommy, I don’t feel so good”, you will automatically shove your hands in front of his mouth to prevent that puke from hitting your friends’ sofa. A better option than footing the cleaning bill, right?

5. You will inevitably compromise on one or another impossibly high standard you set for yourself as a parent, and then feel guilty about it for years.

Try to forgive yourself.

6. You are not alone and whatever you’re going through with your little one right now, you are more than likely not the first one to experience it.

In other words, Google that shit. If you need support, I bet you’ll find someone out there who will give you advice, or just commiserate.

7. It will all be over in the blink of an eye, so cherish every moment!

Just kidding. Some days will feel like they are fucking WEEKS long but they will come to an end. Most likely, there will be a glass of wine (or a pillow) waiting with your name on it after it’s over.

8. Your child will be an asshole, at some point or another.

And trust me, you will not be a bad parent for thinking this. You will still love your child, despite thinking this. She or he will still be an amazing, intelligent, fantastic human being, despite this stage. Why else do you think I called this blog “The Joy of Cooking (for little assholes)?”

Do you have anything you wish you had known, early on, as a parent?

~g

This article was originally published on Glynis’s blog, Little Assholes. Featured image via.

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As a mom, we’re constantly seeking advice, referrals, opinions, and so forth from other parents. I have scoured the internet searching for “the best _________ to use for _____.”

Lately, I have had many friends become mommies and daddies and I have been asked many of these questions. As a new mom I always wished there was some kind of magic list, letting me know what products and brands to use and what not to use.

It has taken long hours of research, phone calls with my mommy friends, trial and error, but after three kids, numerous daycare kids, and other moms’ experiences, I’ve compiled my own list of my favorite baby/toddler/preschooler products and recommendations. I call it my “as close as you’ll get to a parenting manual” list. I know these things come in handy for all parents.

To Use for Diaper Rash: A & D Ointment (no cream…unless it’s the only thing on hand). When I notice red butts, A & D goes on immediately. A & D has vitamins to help heal but it also creates a barrier from urine and poop in the diaper, which is something cream and paste diaper rash products do not do. A visit to the doctor may be required if A & D doesn’t work or the rash gets worse. Yeast is a common problem in any child wearing a diaper and a bad diaper rash may require an ointment especially for yeast. If this is the case, use the yeast ointment first and apply a light layer of A & D over it to create a barrier so the yeast medication can do it’s job.

Best Diapers: Target’s Up & Up brand. They’re non-scented, cheap, super durable, and don’t have harsh chemicals. My oldest was a Pampers only kid, my middle was a Huggies only kid, by the time the third came we just wanted something to hold the pee in….and we found it. I highly recommend trying these diapers out. I was (and still am) surprised at how awesome these diapers are–I like them much better than Pampers and they hold up as well as Huggies.

Best Wipes: Target’s Up & Up brand non-scented wipes. They’re hypoallergenic, clean up the messiest of messes, and decently priced. I know some of my parent friends feel that they’re a bit too thin, but I’ve never had an issue with them.

Best Sippy Cup: Playtex sippys. All Playtex cups and valves are interchangeable with each other, which helps big time when reaching for a cup and can’t find the lid….just grab one off of another sippy! Playtex makes beginner sippys with handles, insulated sippys (which are a fav around here as they keep the kids’ milk and water cold for long periods of time), or lightweight sippys which are perfect for a little one year old’s hands.

Best Bottles: All three of my kids have used different bottles and my favorite among the three have been the Playtex Ventaire (they make wide and regular-I prefer the regular size). I know many of my parent friends recommend Dr. Brown bottles, but there’s just too many parts and pieces for my liking. The most helpful suggestion I received was to purchase several different bottles and try them out. Even doing that, we had to go out a purchase a couple of more until we found the one that worked best for each baby.

Best Burp Clothes: Skip anything that says burp clothes and go right for Gerber cloth diapers. These are so much more absorbant than any burp clothes I’ve used, easier to wash (they don’t stain as much), easier to put around a baby’s chin while drinking a bottle, and fit nicely on your shoulder.

Best Board Books: These are a MUST HAVE for babies and toddlers. I’ve recently discovered these are handy for children learning to read. For a while there, my two oldest had outgrown board books, but with Max beginning to read, these are the perfect books for him. Easy to read, large letters, and he loves reading them to his little sister! Two of my favorite children’s authors are Leslie Patricelli and Sandra Boynton. Another tip-look for their books (and all other board books) at TJ Maxx as they are usually half the price as book stores.

Best Infant Toy: Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes. I don’t know if it’s the music or the lights that captivate attention, but I’ve seen a five year old yank this toy away from a baby so they could take a look at it.. It’s small which makes it easy for little hands to hold, makes a great car seat toy, or easy to throw in the diaper bag when headed out. Best $9 you’ll spend on a baby toy.

Best Toddler toy: It’s a tie between two Fisher Price toysLittle People and Wheelies. These toys let your child use and develop their imaginations, they’re safe for the youngest of kids (no small parts whatsoever), and they can get lots of use-my five year old still somewhat enjoys these play sets.

Baby Gear You Can’t Live Without: Infant swing and bouncy seat. Lifesavers for a fussy or gassy baby or when your arms need a break. I strongly recommend looking into the Fisher Price two in one bouncy seat/swing. It sits low to the ground, has five speed settings for the swing and vibrates like a bouncy seat. I had never used one until I had my third child and I really wish I had had it for my other two.

Best New-ish Baby Gear: Fisher Price Rock and Play. My youngest slept in hers for the first seven months of her life. It cradles them just enough (for those babies that like to be held) and sits them slightly inclined which is great for those babies with reflux or digestion issues. I am now using it for a daycare baby who loves it just as much!

Best Onesies: Carter’s brand, hands down. They fit true to size, cute, and just the right price for those first few months when they’re constantly outgrowing clothes faster than you can buy them!

Best Baby/Toddler/Kids Clothes: BabyGap. Yes BabyGap can be pricey but shop sales (online they constantly offer 30-40% off) or clearance (pay attention to online deals at the end of a season. I got Elizabeth shorts and t-shirts for $2 a piece for next summer). I’ve also never had any issues with stains coming out of BabyGap clothes, which is the reason Old Navy did not get best in this category. Lately I’ve had MANY Old Navy kids clothes that I just can not get the stains out of. Old Navy has great clothes otherwise and are a great price. Check out ON sales and clearance and you can get some amazing deals.

Best First Shoes: Circo brand at Target. This brand makes one shoe in sizes 2-4 toddler, one for boys and one for girls, that is the perfect learning to walk shoe. It’s a semi-soft sole, seems to cradle their tiny little feet, and is absolutely perfect when they’re learning to pick their feet up. These shoes usually run about $15 per pair. I also love Nikes for the next step up, once they’ve mastered walking and you’re not worried they’ll fall over in the middle of the room. Try Kohl’s for your toddler Nike purchases. You can usually get excellent deals on his/her first pair of Nikes (around $19-$32 depending on the deal they’re running).

Best Infant Car Seat/Booster: Graco brand, all the way. Love the Snugride infant carrier and the Graco Nautilus is my favorite car seat ever made. Only down side to the Nautilus is it is forward facing only, so I’m counting the days until Miss E turns two and we can snatch her a Nautilus. The best thing about this seat-it’s the last seat you’ll ever buy your child. It has a five point harness, high booster, and then it comes apart for just a small booster seat. It’s incredibly durable, easy to take apart, and has a built in cup holder, which is a BIG deal for my kids (and me too so I’m not constantly chasing down rolling sippys in the van)!

Best Diaper Bags:

Skip Hop diaper bag – has tons of pockets and is durable. Mine lasted 4 years and 2 kids.

Petunia Pickle Bottom – more expensive, but has lots of pockets, roomy, and can be a backpack or over the shoulder bag.

My newest favorite is a clearance bag I found at TJ Maxx for $20. It’s a Thermos brand and is completely insulated. It was absolutely perfect for our outings this summer for the kids’ snacks, meals, and drinks. Doesn’t have a lot of pockets like the other two bags I mentioned, but definitely has plenty of room. I recommend this bag if you have toddlers.

Stupidest Baby Purchase: Boppy pillow. I know some of my friends can’t live without theirs, but a regular pillow works just as well. The only time this was useful was when my babes were learning to sit up on their own and it helped support them or as a head rest for myself during middle of the night feedings. Oh well, after three kids it got its fair share of use.

Best Baby Wash: Up & Up brand equivalent to Johnson’s & Johnson’s Shampoo and Body wash. Non scented and hypoallergenic, it’s great on baby skin and we still use it for our skin sensitive five year old.

Best Laundry Detergent: Purex. Skip the Dreft for your babies (contains lots of harsh chemicals that can irritate babies skin–something we learned the hard way with our first), try a Free and Clear detergent such as All, Purex, or (more pricey but good) Seventh Generation. I felt the Free and Clear detergents didn’t get our wash as clean as I would like, so I tried out Purex and have bought it ever since (4 years now). It’s a very light detergent, gets all of our clothes clean, and is gentle enough for our skin sensitive oldest child. Wins all around.

Best Blankets: Skip receiving blankets, invest in a swaddler (we loved the Summer infant swaddler), but don’t buy more than one or two as they use them for a very short time. Instead, invest in lots of fleece or light weight blankets. In my experience, receiving blankets aren’t large enough for swaddling and not warm enough to cover older babies. All of our receiving blankets are now being used as doll blankets for the girls.

Best Pacifiers: Whatever one your baby will take. I recommend MAM, but I know from experience, buy a package of each brand of pacis. Each child seems to have their own paci preference, but I do highly recommend pacifiers. In the first few months of life, sucking is a very important and comforting thing for babies. I know many parents who are freaked out of having their children become “paci dependent” but I call it my lifesaving “baby corker.”

Best Pack n’ Play: Graco. You can buy a simple pack n’ play or you can get a deluxe nursery pack n’ play complete with a bassinet, changing table, and storage area. Either way, Graco offers numerous types of packs (as we call them at our house) to fit your needs. I do highly recommend having one as it comes in handy. Packs are super easy to fold up and take with you anywhere and take up very little room.

Best Humidifier: Whether is warm mist or cool mist, I highly recommend Vicks brand. These run about $30 and come in very handy for sick kiddies. On top of running a humidifier when sick, use Baby Vicks on their feet-it actually helps the congestion and coughing!

Best Teething Remedies: Sophie the Giraffe is a miracle teething toy (with a super annoying squeak that you’ll manage to look past), Hyland’s teething tablets when their gums hurt and are having issues eating, a toothbrush to chew on for those nasty molars, and for those horrible, screaming, won’t sleep nights there’s Motrin….well, technically the Up & Up brand of Motrin. Repeated every six hours. For all of you mommies worried about “drugging” your child, trust me. Works wonders.

Best Gassy Baby Remedy: Mylicon gas drops (we used the generic Up & Up brand and worked just as well and waaayyy less expensive). Some of my mommy friends have used gripe water with success as well. For those constantly gassy babies, do frequent tummy time (helps expel the gas) or, at risk of being a “horrible” mother, let your baby sleep on his/her tummy. Just be sure you can check on him/her, but this has always helped our babies sleep better when dealing with gas and helps them expel it.

Stupidest Use of Floor Space, Yet Needed for Sanity Purposes: Exersaucers/jumperoos. Seriously, they take up sooo much room, but for those “my baby is crawling, trying to stand up, learning to cruise and is into everything” days it is a sanity saver. With my oldest two we had a Bright Starts Bounce Bounce Baby that was wonderful, took up minimal floor space, and the boys loved it. Sadly one of the toy bars on it broke and for safety reasons (sharp plastic on the end) in went on the curb. For our youngest, we purchased an Evenflo mega saucer. It was great, but was so big and took up so much room we only used it a couple of times.

Best Potty Chair for Potty Training: Fisher Price “froggy potty.” Can be found at Wal-Mart and Target for $12. Very simple, shaped like a frog, and all kids have loved these potty chairs (we’ve had to buy multiple of them because I like to potty train kids in pairs to help them along). Potty training tips that have worked well for us: a timer (set for every 15 minutes for the first few days, then 20, and work up from there in five minute increments until they get the “holding it” part) and we have the frog potty in our living room. Sound odd? Sure to some, until you have a house full of kids who don’t want to take time away from playing to pee. Works wonders and I’ve never had an issue with kids then transitioning to the big potty.

Best Outside Toy (for any child old enough to stand): A playhouse. Yes, they’re super pricey but Little Tikes or Step 2 makes super durable, will last forever, and will completely get its use playhouses. My youngest started to love ours when she was 8 months old and my five year old still happily plays with it.

Best crib mattress: Sealy cozy rest mattress. We found ours at Target for around $70. It has lasted for five years, three kids, and is still in excellent condition.

Best crib sheets: Seriously, they’re all pretty much the same and will be pooped, peed, puked, and chewed on. Save your money and buy LOTS (you’ll thank me when your child has the stomach flu) of the decently priced and decent quality Circo crib sheets. We still have ones from when our oldest was a baby. The only crib sheets I’ve been upset about are ones we bought at Wal-Mart. They were so itchy, scratchy, and shrank the moment when washed we wound up throwing them out! We did buy Carter’s sheets because they matched our youngest child’s room, but I can’t tell the difference in quality between Carter’s sheets and the quite a bit cheaper Circo brand.

Best Changing Table: Skip the table and the large changing pad. With the first two we had a large changing pad built in on the top of their long dresser, with the youngest we had an actual changing table. We stopped using both when each child was around 4 months old because I was too worried about them rolling off while I was changing them. Instead, I opt for a small fold-up and go changing pad I keep with my diaper caddy (found at Target, it’s big enough for a package of diapers and any creams, hand sanitizers, etc. fit into the side pockets).  I promise, it still gets the job done and is a little more convenient if you have more kids to chase after, making diaper changes in the living room a bit more sanitary.

Best Toy Storage: We use the cubby shelves (we got ours at Target and they have held up great) with cloth bins and Sterilite containers. So far these have worked great at containing the thousands of toys we have! We also have a few Sterilite 3 drawer shelves that work great. They’re not the most sturdy so I suggest tethering them to the wall so they don’t fall over, but they can sure fit lots of toys.

Best Educational Shows/Movies: Any of the LeapFrog movies are safe bets (can be found for $10 a piece in stores or several of them are on Netflix). As far as tv shows, I only let my kids watch PBS (we don’t have cable and I refuse to pay for it so PBS is all there is in this house!) and our faves around here are “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” (seems to be a favorite of all the kids no matter what their ages are) “Arthur” (great for preschoolers and early grade schoolers), and “Super Why” (great for the younger set learning their alphabet and letters, but older toddlers/preschoolers seem bored by it).

First Underwear: Gerber makes training pants, available in packs of 3 (I’ve found mine at Target from $4-$8). These are nice because they are a little bit thicker and absorb the urine when accidents happen. I discourage parents from going right to the “big kid” underwear because it is an even bigger mess.

Best Pull-Ups: Try out the generic brands of pull ups (Target’s Up & Up brand). They’re almost just as good as the name brand pull ups (keep in mind they’re not meant to absorb much anyways) and a few bucks cheaper. The only bummer is that they don’t come with cool Disney characters on them, just basic trucks for boys and fairies for girls. My kids didn’t seem to mind much though.

The Best My-Kid-Is-Potty-Trained-But-Still-Wets-The-Bed-Occasionally Solution: Goodnites disposable bed mats. These things have saved the boys’ mattresses and actually do their job. These can be found in with the pull ups at major retailers.

Best Breast Pump: Lansinoh Double electric breast pump. I know Medela gets the highest ratings and rave reviews for breast pumps, but try this one hundred dollars less breast pump and I promise you will not be disappointed. Mine lasted through three kids, hundreds of ounces of liquid gold, and still works.

Best Nursing Pads: For those first few days/weeks of constantly leaky boobs (sorry for the spoiler alert/mood killer folks, but TRUTH) Lansinoh disposable nursing pads were wonderful plus they come with a free tube of Lanolin (a very important must have for nursing mommas). Once we got a feeding schedule down, I switched to Reusable organic cotton nursing pads I found at Babies R Us. One of my best finds ever…too bad I didn’t discover them until baby #3. These absorbed magnificently and are super soft. I wouldn’t recommend wearing any tight clothing with these as they’re not the most discreet pads.

This post was originally featured on Ashlen’s blog, Kidspert

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Welcome to 2016! The year in which moms around the country might actually lose their minds if they have to explain ONE MORE TIME why breastfeeding in public isn’t a sexual, shameful act.

I honestly can’t believe that we are still having this ridiculous conversation, and yet here we are. Why? Because a Republican congressman just brought it up in a Facebook exchange with a Democratic colleague. Here’s the delightful quote from New Hampshire State Rep. Josh Moore (R):

“Who doesn’t support a mothers right to feed? Don’t give me the liberal talking points Amanda. If it’s a woman’s natural inclination to pull her nipple out in public and you support that, than you should have no problem with a mans inclantion [sic] to stare at it and grab it. After all… It’s ALL relative and natural, right?”

Let’s ignore his atrocious grammar and spelling for a second and focus on what he’s saying. A congressman—an elected official who helps to craft laws for our country and is supposed to protect all of its citizens—said that it is A-OK for men to assault breastfeeding mothers. (And any other women, lactating or not, if they dare to expose their nipples, which happens to be legal in his home state.)

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I’m going to have to cover my 4-year-old’s ears and put some money in my swear jar for this next bit, but…WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK?!

Oh, I know what people will say to defend him: He didn’t really mean it; it was just an analogy. Emotion got the better of him, and he didn’t think things through fully. He respects women, and he wants them to respect themselves by covering up. And babies? Who doesn’t love a baby? Just don’t feed it in front of his delicate man-eyes.

I have had it with this crap.

For the last two years, every other day has seemed to bring a new breastfeeding attack. A few highlights…

A Florida mom got kicked out of a psychiatrist’s office for breastfeeding in the waiting room.

A Georgia woman was told not to feed her baby in a gym locker room.

A Texas woman wasn’t allowed to nurse in an empty fitting room at Victoria’s Secret. She was told to feed her baby in the alley behind the store instead.

Another Texas mom was told not to nurse her son in a pediatrician’s office. (Oh, yes, you read that right—a pediatrician’s office.)

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Numerous women have been reprimanded for feeding their children in restaurants and coffee shops.

And let’s not forget Donald Trump, who called a female lawyer “disgusting” because she needed to take a break from a deposition to pump.

For as far as we appear to have come as a society, it seems that we haven’t come very far at all. In fact, a United Nations commission recently reported that the overall treatment of women in America is pretty appalling—from our country’s lack of paid maternity leave and problems with accessible reproductive health care to the lack of women in political office and the gender wage gap.

In case inquiring minds were wondering, I’ve mostly used a cover when feeding my daughter for the past five months. It doesn’t matter why, but I often wish that I didn’t. It can be hot and awkward with a cover, as well as difficult to get a newborn to latch on properly without seeing what’s going on. If you catch a glimpse of my nipple when I’m struggling to get her situated, I won’t be happy and I’ll likely be embarrassed, but so be it. My baby needs to be fed, and that’s the most important thing.

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The second most important thing is this: I do not want my daughter or my son to grow up with the idea that there is anything wrong with breastfeeding because there’s not. I do not want them to grow up with the idea that women’s bodies are shameful because they’re not. I do not want them to grow up with the idea that a nipple will send men into a frenzy of lust because it shouldn’t and, if you’re dealing with a mentally stable person, it won’t. And I certainly don’t want them to grow up with the idea that anything that a woman can possibly do would ever justify sexual assault because—and let me be very clear about this—there is not.

Women’s bodies are not communal property to be discussed, regulated, legislated about, criticized, gawked at and touched without permission. Those are the lessons—the family values—that I want my children to learn.

So, let me say it ONE MORE TIME for anyone who is confused, congressmen included: When women are nursing, they are not putting their nipples on display for your titillation, discomfort or amusement. They are feeding their children. Plus, it’s perfectly legal for women to breastfeed in the United States anywhere and in any way that they damn well please.

End of story.

This post was originally featured on Dawn Yanek’s blog, Momsanity. Featured image via.