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.
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.
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! 💙
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!
New and expectant mothers (parents) experience a variety of changes—hormonal changes, physical changes, changes in lifestyle, changes in sleep patterns and changes to the daily routine. Pregnancy and birth can be an exciting time and it may also bring about unexpected mental health concerns. Let’s face it—bringing forth new life is stressful. The love for the newborn does not erase the sleep deprivation, isolation, added responsibilities and the inability to partake in self-care. Talk about an emotional roller coaster that seems never-ending! Unlike a roller coaster at the amusement park, this ride can last well after the first year following birth.
“Maternal mental health disorders typically occur in what is called the perinatal period. This includes the prenatal period, or time that a woman is pregnant, and the postpartum period, which is the first year after the baby has been born.”
I am a mother, social worker, therapist and lactation counselor. I never envisioned that lactation would become such a major aspect of my life following the birth of my daughter in 2017. The books I read throughout pregnancy made breastfeeding look relatively easy. By no means did it look comfortable; but it certainly looked relatively easy. Latch the baby on after birth and life goes on. Simple… Simple was not my story but for now I will spare the details. Let’s just say that I focused on one hour at a time in addition to living my life in three-hour increments. We were the little engine that struggled for a variety of reasons.
My name is Salimah (she / her / hers). I am a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and I run MaziwaTribe. Maziwa Tribe is a safe space that provides breast / chestfeeding support and brings attention to maternal mental health matters. My interest in lactation came following the birth of my daughter in 2017. Stay tuned because I plan to chronicle our journey in a future blog.
I am also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) specializing in individual, family and group therapy. I have provided counseling in a variety of settings including private practice, in-home, hospital inpatient / outpatient psychiatry, collegiate and various community environments. I work with adolescents, adults and families. Mental health is a career switch from the corporate arena (most thought I was absolutely insane). In my past life I worked as a Packaging Engineer for a number of years with several major consumer products companies. Navigating corporate spaces taught me the importance pursuing my passion and taking charge of my personal happiness. I exited the corporate world almost 10 years ago and I haven’t looked back.