Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Evenflow Manual Electric Pump

When I became I pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed, so I knew I’d need a pump. Well, at the time, I didn’t know manual pumps existed (I know right?!). I went with my mom to Just Between Friends which is like a thrift shop for baby and kid stuff. I found a bunch of bottles and pieces for my breast pump that was coming through my insurance.

In this pack was a manual breast pump part, one that you do by hand. I was intimidated by it and let it sit up for months. After a while, I pulled it out to use because I knew I’d soon be going back to work and didn’t want to bring my electric pump. I needed something mobile.

I tested out the pump and it was a game changer. It cut my time in half and I got out more milk. So when I went back to work, I used that one. After a while, I noticed that I had to use two hands and couldn’t multitask at work, which is something I need to be able to do. My breasts are too large to only hold the pump with one hand. So, I went in the hunt for an electric manual pump and low and behold, Walmart came through.

I stumbled upon the Evenflow breast pump by accident. Medela had the one I really wanted but it was $300 (gasp). I then saw this pump and the color of the box caught my eye (bright colors drive marketing). It was a manual, elective breast pump that you could use with the cord or could be cordless (insert batteries). I was too stoked.

I bought it and sterilized it at home. The next stay, I took it to work and used it for each of my pump breaks. It works like a gem and I don’t have to use both hands. It expresses more milk than my Medela manual one and the electric one.

The only con is it takes much longer, 20 minutes for each side. At work, I pump before school, mid morning (an aide steps in) and during my planning time. My mid morning break is only 15 minutes so that definitely won’t work. So I use the Evenflow at home, during nights where Malakhai sleeps longer than usual, and I still use my Medela at work.

The Evenflow pump can also be used when I’m driving since I only need one hand. For my breastfeeding moms, what breast pump do/did you use?

Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Black Breastfeeding Week

Today begins Black Breastfeeding Week and I have a short story to share. Earlier today, Malakhai and I met up with some ladies from this Facebook group that I’m in, Awkward Black Ladies. We met at this coffee shop called ThroughGood Coffee, which is black owned (though I saw no one black working there). It’s a nice quaint cafe off W 27th street.

After I sat down and mingled with the ladies, Khai became restless. So I tried to nurse him but he wasn’t hungry. I went to change him and there wasn’t a changing table in the restroom (I find that to be poor customer service but whatever). Three of the ladies left and that left just me, the moderator of the group (let’s call her Malissa since I didn’t ask permission to use her name), and Khai.

By this point, he had become hungry and so I nursed him. Then out of nowhere, I felt someone tap me on my shoulder. It was white woman in her maybe early 30s. She said to me, “I just saw that it was Black Breastfeeding Week and I just wanted to come over and offer my support and tell you to keep doing your thing.” I thanked her as I was in shock because I’ve heard such horror stories of white women coming up to black women breastfeeding and saying some atrocious things that include racial slurs.

Malissa just smiled and when the woman walked away, we both looked at each other surprised. Next thing I know the woman comes back and says, “Sorry to bother you again but I’m a doula and I just came from seeing a new mom and helping her to breastfeed, so that’s why I cam over and I’m glad you’re doing that.” I smiled back and thanked her again.

I just want to say how appreciative I am to see that there are still some decent white people in this world. From police brutality to the cops being called on us to us being called “nigger” for just being black, I was beginning to wonder. So to kick off Black Breastfeeding Week, here are some photos from today.

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Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Series: Too Good for Formula

So I am leaving my family reunion and I really don’t know what it is with the older generations and that damn formula. This is a conversation between me and a family member.
FM: *gives me some clothes for my son* I know they’re big but once he gets on formula, he’ll blow up and get into them.
Me: *gives her the look and y’all know the look, like how the hell you figure he hon be on formula? look* Oh he won’t be on formula.
FM: Whaaaaaatttttt? (The long drawn out “what”). What you mean he ain’t gonna be on formula.
Me: he’s breastfed, he doesn’t need formula.
Cousin: *walks away with a disgusted look on her face*

Then this happened when another family member came to us at the table and my mom was holding him.
FM: y’all doing all that holding and you nursing him, he won’t be able to stay with anybody.
Mama: that’s why I’m the babysitter.
FM: yeah but he won’t be able to go to anybody.
Mama: he don’t need to go to anybody anyway.

Let me tell y’all, when it comes to my mama and her grand baby and me nursing him, she does not play. Idk what it is with the older generation thinking all babies need to be on formula and breastfeeding ain’t enough. My son’s pediatrician is impressed that he’s surpassing all milestones as far as his weight and size, just from breast milk.

One thing I know for sure is that children who aren’t held or cuddled as babies, tend to grow up with emotional issues and a disconnect emotionally and physically from others. I’ve seen this too often.

Mad my child is only 2 months old and cannot walk or crawl, what is he supposed to do if I’m not holding him? And just because I nurse him, doesn’t mean he won’t go to anybody else. Like his mother, he is choosy with who he wants to be around. Babies know. They can sense BS and ill intentions.

So what if my son only wants me. I’m his mother, why wouldn’t he? And I’m not the “cry it out” type. That kind of emotional deprivation is detrimental to a child’s emotional growth. That makes them feel unwanted and alone.

What are your thoughts on older generations and them imposing their thoughts on your parenting skills?

Boss Lady, Breastfeeding, Guest Bloggers

Boss Lady: Tassie from Tassie Teaches

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I met Tassie through instagram a little before I became pregnant with Malakhai. She had just an amazing spirit and so much knowledge about the female body, pregnancy, and motherhood. She was of great help throughout my pregnancy and I’m glad to have her in my life. So let’s find out more about this Boss Lady!
Hey Tassie! So glad to feature you. First, tell the readers a little about you.
I am a crystal toting, smudge burning, mystical mom of 9 from Mississippi. I am here, in this life, fulfilling my divine purpose and soul mission of  guiding wombmen into motherhood. I prepare wombmen for unassisted childbirths by educating, enriching, and empowering them to embrace the ways of our ancestors and birth how they want!
 
I know you have 9 kids. Did you always want a large family?
I did not always want a large family. My large family came about when I took heed to a more natural approach regarding my health, and said “No!” to hormonal birth control. I became a holistic, unconventional wombman. I am grateful for the ancestors that chose to come through me, in the form of my children.
How are you able to manage your kids and get me-time?
Managing 9 children  is a lot of work. That’s 9 different personalities, and 9 different ages (with the exception of my twins). We try to stay on a routine: doing the same things everyday. My “me” time is almost nonexistent. I’m up early before they wake up: I’m doing my tarot card readings, talking with my spiritual team, and posting on Instagram. Nights are spent reading and preparing for the next day.
Do you homeschool? If so, is it difficult to manage lessons with children of varying ages?
I do homeschool. Homeschooling is definitely a lifestyle. The older ones get started on their lessons while I work with the younger ones.
I see your posts posts all the time, advocating for unassisted childbirths. Tell us about why and how you got into that.
I became an advocate for unassisted childbirths once others started asking me how did I do it and why. Also, the maternal and infant mortality rate of black mamas and black babies is alarming! I believe we can change that by having healthy moms birth their babies at home.
For those readers who don’t know, you run your own business. Tell us a little about what that entails.
Yes! I do run a business: Tassie Teaches,  in which I offer unassisted childbirth consultations. We go over health and nutrition, prenatal care, birth supplies, birth certificate information, and more! It’s kind of like a virtual birthworker (doula). As the saying goes: when the student is ready, the teacher will appear! The professional doula teacher has appeared for this doula student!
With having an online business, have you thought of doing webinars or master classes?
Yes, I do plan to do master classes, and start up my YouTube channel in the near future!
What do you want women to know about unassisted childbirth?
I want wombmen to know that their body is DESIGNED to birth babies, just as it is DESIGNED to make babies!
Where can people find you?
Find me on Instagram at TassieTeaches, and stay tuned for a website!
Breastfeeding, mommy must haves, Vegan Mommy Things

Breastfeeding Series: Stop Wasting Breast Milk!! (Mommy Must Have #2)

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Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pumps Milk Pump Suction with Lid,Breast Milk Saving Made Easy,Flexible & Lightweight ,Pack of 2

 

 

If I tell y’all, every time I nurse Boo, I waste so much breast milk. How, you might ask? Well, the let down of the milk when he’s feeding on one side, leaks out the other. I legit waste 2 oz of milk every feeding. My breasts were not created equal. At any given time, I can pump a full bottle from my left breast but my right breast, I get 2 oz at best.

At my last group prenatal, one lady had a version of Haakaa, which is a manual breast pump but is like a suction cup to catch the milk from the side you’re not feeding on. Mind was blown so of course I went to Amazon to buy one. Works like an effing charm and now, I can stop wasting breast milk.

*DISCLAIMER: I may earn a small commission for any link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you real information about motherhood, health, writing and all things lifestyle.

Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Breastfeeding Series: Discrimination and Harrassment

I was listening to the Badass Breastfeeder podcast and they brought up something that I find mind-boggling. People turn their noses up to women breastfeeding in public and are even offended, but it’s okay for women to walk around half naked. Where’s the logic?

Women have been asked to cover up, go somewhere private (often the unsanitary and disgusting bathroom stall), or to leave an establishment for breastfeeding, but let a woman walk in with cleavage and nipples about to pop out, no one bats an eye, except for men of course, specializing her. Why is there this stigma around breastfeeding? People act as if it’s just not natural.

I think most people don’t know that a woman’s breasts are first and foremost for breastfeeding. I can’t express that enough. Yes, it is pleasurable in sexual situations to have them fondled, nibbles or sucked, but breastfeeding was and is their initial function. It’s funny that it’s women that have more of an issue of a woman breastfeeding than men. That’s the part where I am completely baffled. WOMEN!! What the hell???

Is it because you couldn’t breastfeed and this woman breastfeeding makes you feel inferior or jealous? Is it because your SO is staring and you feel that it’s inappropriate (which any man getting arouse by another woman breastfeeding is creepy, weird, perverted and pedophile status)? Is it because you lack the knowledge about breastfeeding? Is it because it was something that was frowned upon in your family? What is it that makes women shame other women for feeding their babies the natural way they know how?

Even before I had my son, before I was pregnant, I never saw anything wrong with a woman breastfeeding. I didn’t even blink or think twice about it. In my mind, it has always been natural. So where does this stigma come from?

Even in the work place, though by law employers are to have spaces for women to breastfeed and allow them to, many make women feel so uncomfortable or inconvenienced for breastfeeding that the either quit or stop breastfeeding altogether because it’s next to impossible. I truly believe in word of mouth and using social media to get the word out about jobs and establishments like these.

Employers should be glad that us women come back to our jobs. Some of us want to while others don’t have a choice. As far as stores, restaurants and other places, making a woman feel uncomfortable or bad for breastfeeding, is bad for business. There are many advocates like myself who will speak up.

One example on the podcast was a woman was asked to go to the restroom stall to breastfeed her child at her brother-in-law’s high school graduation at her alma later. To me that would’ve been a slap in the face. Not only am I here for a graduation, but I paid damn good money to get a degree hear and you’re going to belittle me by asking to take my baby into a nasty bathroom stall to feed them? Instead of speaking up or asking for a manager, she went into the stall. I know she probably felt shamed already. The kicker is she was covered up. Her breast wasn’t hanging out.

Another example was a woman who went back to work after her maternity leave and her employer made it next to impossible for her to pump other than to go into the men’s restroom. The men’s restroom? Do you know how filthy that is? With the urinals and all kinds of stuff floating around. She wrote a letter to HR and the higher ups and never heard a single word back. That’s bad business. Atrocious even.

Luckily, I live in the great state of Texas and for other Texans, you can find the breastfeeding laws here. We also have the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksites. To find out more about that, you can go to http://texasmotherfriendly.org.

Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Breastfeeding Series: Benefits and Challenges

Breast milk is specifically tailored to fit a baby’s nutritional needs, all nutritional needs. It changes as your baby does when they grow. There’s nothing else on earth more fitting for a baby than breastfeeding.

When your baby is born, the first milk the receive from your breast is called colostrum. It is rich in proteins and antibodies which protect the baby from environmental diseases and illnesses outside the womb. This colostrum is how your baby begins to build their immune system.

As your baby grows, the mature milk contains a higher fat and sugar level to meet the demands of your baby. Breastfed babies have a decreased chance of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and diabetes. They also have better cognitive development. Aside from all of that, breastfeeding creates this bond between the mother and child.

My son will be two months this Thursday and he can already push himself to stand, hold his head up, can turn his head from side to side while in his tummy, talk baby talk, focus in on objects, laugh, smile, has tremendous strength, scoot, turn his body so he can face me while he’s in his stomach, reach and grab objects, and can turn on his side while on his back. He is far developed than other babies of the same age and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s breastfed.

Some challenges are that around the world, according to the World Health Organization, only about 40% of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed. Given the number of people in the world, that is a great number, almost half.

Many mothers face difficulties likelatching issues, pain, discomfort, and not enough milk coming in. Another issue is babies feeding on demand, most mothers feel like they can’t get anything done or they’re always holding their baby. It almost becomes a burden.

You then have women of the older generations imposing their beliefs that babies should have solids earlier than 6 months in order for them to sleep longer. Why would you want a baby to sleep longer? That’s increased risk of SIDS. My son typically will sleep in 4-5 hour chunks. He will occasionally sleep for 6 hours if I bath and then nurse him. In my opinion, wanting a baby to sleep longer is for selfish reasons and not the best interest of the baby.

Breastfeeding is a learned skill for the baby and the mother and many mothers get too frustrated. For the new moms, don’t let the beliefs of others influence your decision to breastfeed. Don’t let the temporary pain and discomfort discourage you, because it’s just that: temporary.

If you breastfeed/fed, what are/were some pros? Cons?

Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Breastfeeding Series: How does breastfeeding work?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lactation consultant. I am also not trying to shame mothers who don’t/didn’t and/or can’t/couldn’t breastfeed. I am just sharing information and my experience.

Over the next few weeks, I will be running a series about breastfeeding. It is something that I can’t stop talking about and can’t talk enough about. As many of you know, I am a new mom and my son is exclusively breastfed.

The purpose of this post is to educate you on how breastfeeding works. I think that it is a magical thing to breastfeed and the way the woman’s body works to produce breastmilk, and change to fit the baby’s needs, is incredible. In today’s society, a woman’s breasts are oversexualized and that is not what their purpose is. Our breasts are to nourish our babies, it’s just that over time, they became something sexual and for men to ogle over.

The areola around the nipple, the darker skin, is what babies use to find the nipple. When I am feeding my son, I notice that first he feels my breast against his cheek and then turns his head and finds the nipple himself. There is little effort on my part other than holding my breasts for him since they are quite large. Latching is one deterrent of breastfeeding for many moms. When a baby doesn’t latch properly, it is quite painful and many women think that it is just painful and quit instead of realizing that the baby is just not latching correctly.

I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t hurt because in the beginning it did, a lot. I would pump just to keep from having to nurse. After about a couple of weeks, it’s not painful. That pain is not long lasting. What pushed me to continue was I knew that this was best for my baby. Another kind of pain is when the baby sucks, your uterus contracts and it feels like period cramps. Soon after birth, this pain is unbearable, but as your body heals and your organs return to their homes, the pain goes away.

When the baby sucks, two hormones are released: prolactin, which stimulates milk production and oxytocin, which causes the contraction of the lobules that hold the milk inside. All of that just from the saliva of our baby on our nipple. Our babies tell the milk to come down just be sucking. Isn’t that amazing? This entire process is called the let-down reflex. I know when my son cries, I get a let-down reflex and begin to leak.

Breast milk is then produced as your baby grows, as a response. The saliva from the baby tells your body how much milk the baby needs and what it should consist of. For example, if your baby is sick or getting sick, your baby’s saliva let’s your body know and then you body takes more of your antibodies to produce in the breastmilk in order to give to your baby. Mind blown.

I also found out that in other countries, babies aren’t even given milk first. They’re given other liquids or solids like water, sugar water, or traditional medicines, before being breastfed. I have to do more research as to why they do that because that is mind boggling to think to give a baby anything other than breastmilk. It is called prelactyl feeding, basically before breastfeeding feeding, which is especially dangerous because it can lead to internal diseases of the intestines, as well as diarrhea, dehydration and even death.

I plan to breastfeed my baby for at least a year.

Check back next Monday for the next installment of this series, Benefits and Challenges of Breastfeeding.

For more information on breastfeeding,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding

https://www.parents.com/baby/breastfeeding/