A Safe Space to Unpack Motherhood, mental health & milk
Mommy. Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC). Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Therapist. Entrepreneur. On a personal mission to normalize breast / chestfeeding. I write about motherhood, mental health and milk. She / Her / Hers.
Recently I had the pleasure of being a guest on the SPILLED MILK PODCAST for season two! This podcast is hosted by my good friend, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Mrs. Kendra Shelby. She is doing phenomenal (and I mean phenomenal) work in Chicagoland to support women and families through pregnancy and postpartum. Click HERE to learn more about her work!
I have spoken about my journey throughout this space and getting to year five is monumental. I wrote about it last month (click HERE) and provided several links to the science which supports my rationale to keep on keepin’ on! This podcast is the perfect compliment because Kendra asks the pressing questions that everyone wants to know. Was the journey always easy? Why keep going? What do others think? Is it uncomfortable? What does it look like at age five? Does your child lift up your clothes in public to nurse? We talk about it and then some! Listen to our conversation below to get a better understanding about what breastfeeding entails at age five!
Several months have passed and I last checked in during the holiday season. Happy New Year! Happy Black History Month! Happy Women’s History Month! Daylight Savings Time is here and today is 313 Day (shout out to Detroit). It was 70 degrees in Chicagoland eight days ago (sadly it snowed two days later) which lets me know that Spring is slowly approaching. I took a brief hiatus from writing and so much has happened since December. In my time away my blog turned two and my baby had a birthday. I am now the proud mommy of a five year old; a five year old that breastfeeds! We are still going and there is no immediate need to stop now.
The holiday season is here and can cause an interruption to your regularly scheduled routine—time off from work, winter break for children, day care closures, holiday festivities, and the list goes on. These temporary changes can also interrupt your breast / chestfeeding routine. Science tells us that breastmilk production is supply and demand—essentially the more milk you remove the more your body will produce (source). Let’s explore ways to keep your breast / chestfeeding routine on track in the midst of a temporary interruption to your routine.
I am eagerly anticipating the countdown to January 25, 2022! On that day I will officially have a five year old! I am a mixed bag of emotions because the day also marks my fifth straight year of breastfeeding. It feels like she was just born and we were struggling to find our breastfeeding rhythm (we had our share of challenges). The calendar says five years but somehow time has paused. My internal clock tells me that we were discharged from the hospital yesterday, however, reality says that I am five years into my motherhood journey. I am excited to report that our breastfeeding challenges no longer exist! My baby and I are truly in sync with no end in sight if she has her way! Stay tuned.
Here are a few of my takeaways. Enjoy and share with a friend! 💙
Creating a Gratitude Jar can be a great way to savor memories, celebrate events and honor where you are in the moment. Take time daily to write what you are grateful for onto slips of paper and place it into your gratitude jar—do so several times per day if you wish! A gratitude jar can bring about appreciation for self, celebrate strengths and bring about a sense of connectedness. If you are a pregnant or breast/chestfeeding person consider adding details about your journey to your jar. This could be a cool method of chronicling your experience!
Recently I had the pleasure of being a guest on the SPILLED MILK PODCAST hosted by my good friend, Mrs. Kendra Shelby. Kendra is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and is doing phenomenal work in Chicagoland to support women and families through pregnancy and postpartum. Learn more about her HERE. She is a pure blessing and I am grateful that our paths have crossed!
Within the podcast we unpack the ins and outs of perinatal mood disorders and counseling. We both get real about our pregnancy journeys, birth plans that did not go according to plan, adjusting to a newborn and the aftermath. We are both in the field and doing the work that we were born to do, yet we both had challenges along the pregnancy / birth journey. We seek to normalize the conversation, be transparent about our experiences and provide you with tools to move forward.
Many have asked about the impact of the covid-19 vaccine on pregnant and breast/chestfeeding people. It is totally understandable that parents are concerned and have questions. I am a nursing parent and I had questions throughout the pandemic and as the development of the vaccines were underway. Trust that all of your questions are valid! It is imperative to ask questions to get the reassurance that you need to make a decision about the vaccine. I always stress the importance of obtaining answers from knowledgeable individuals equipped to provide evidence-based answers rooted in science. Opinions (we all have them) are awesome, however, this is a dynamic where facts matter. Please speak with your Primary Care Physician, Midwife, OB GYN or other medical professional to obtain accurate information tailored to your medical needs.
Today marks the birth anniversary of the Peace, Love & Breastmilk Monthly Subscription Box. Year #1 is officially in the books! The idea written on scrap paper in March 2020 is reality and I couldn’t be happier! I am excited to continue bringing breast / chestfeeding necessities to your doorstep without you having to step foot outside of your home!
I look forward to this week annually because it is a week to salute Black Breast/Chestfeeding parents. I always eagerly anticipate the unveiling of the theme in the weeks leading up to August 25th. The 2021 theme, The Big Pause: Collective Rest for Collective Power, honors Black Breastfeeding and the power of rest as a revolution for our communities (refer to photo). The theme is fitting for the steps required to restore our minds, bodies and communities as we continue to provide nourishment to our little ones.
Last year we were in a different space and the call to action was to revive, restore and reclaim our breastfeeding experiences. I wrote about it extensively here. An entire year has passed, yet systems and outcomes for Black parents and infants remain the same. Black Breastfeeding Week is still needed because racial disparities in breastfeeding rates have yet to be eradicated. We are also still in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic which adds additional complexity to an already complicated dynamic. Two factors—the current reality and our collective need for rest—can exist simultaneously because the work can be exhausting. We are tired!
“Don’t pick up your baby too much because it will spoil them.”
“Feeding your newborn too much spoils them.”
“Let them cry it out. It will teach them how to self-soothe.”
“Breastfeeding your baby will keep them attached to you and they won’t like anyone else.”
“You don’t have to respond every time your baby cries.”
How many of the above statements have you heard? To spoil or not to spoil is the million dollar question. Many people have varying opinions and usually their input is well intended. Initially I was receptive to unsolicited “wisdom” from others because I was a first-time mom. Over time I grew annoyed because my thought process is rooted in the understanding of human development. The above statements negate science, human development and an infant’s cognitive ability. Contrary to popular belief; it is impossible to spoil an infant. Here’s why.