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.
Are you searching for that perfect baby shower gift? Perhaps you may be visiting a new baby for the first time and you don’t want to show up empty handed. Are you the person that is challenged in the gift buying department and wondering what gift would be truly helpful for a parent starting their breastfeeding journey? Well, look no further!
We know that a adopting a positive mindset (easier said than done, right?) is the first step in getting off to a healthy start with breast / chestfeeding. A positive mindset also helps one to overcome hurdles, seek out support and reinforces the need to look inward when we are facing self-doubt.
The Affirmation Cards for Breastfeeding Support card set was developed to assist throughout the entire breast/chestfeeding experience. The front side of each card contains a beautiful illustration and the backside contains an affirmation related to breast/chestfeeding. Be prepared to read affirmations like:
I began writing about my breastfeeding journey in February 2020. That year marked the start of this blog and the third year of my journey. I recall laughing throughout the years because there was no way I could have predicted that I would last beyond six months given our challenges. My body is amazing and I am forever grateful that it allowed me five and a half years of nurturing my daughter.
The start of our journey (2017) had its issues. I had a traumatic birth, a premature baby with a low birth weight, a low milk supply and latch difficulties. I remember the emotional toll during the first few months despite being fully prepared for the journey. Preparation was an understatement because I read books and researched online yet nothing could prepare me for our particular challenges. I felt like I had failed my daughter because our experience differed from all that I had prepared for. I recall the sleep deprivation of having to pump around the clock so that she could have expressed milk (recall that she could not latch). I was the food supply and my baby was solely dependent on me to figure it out. Those around me questioned my dedication and could not fathom why I hadn’t given up. My journey was far from what I thought I was signing up for but somehow we kept on going.
June is here and I am excited to celebrate Pride! This month you’ll notice tons of Pride Parades and other celebrations taking place across the nation. There is a rich meaning behind the need to celebrate for a month, however, it does not mean that injustice has disappeared. The ongoing pursuit for justice and equality continues every month of the year and throughout June. I urge you to learn more about the history of Pride and the significance of it being celebrated in June. In true Maziwa Tribe fashion you’ll find resources below along with links to definitions throughout this post for further reading.
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.