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.

Vegan Mommy Things

Group Prenatal: Signs of Labor

If you didn’t know, I had what is considered a home birth, though I didn’t have my son at home. I had him at a birthing center and you can read my birthing story here.

Even though I am not longer pregnant, I still attend group prenatal to give advice to to currently pregnant first time moms. This past Sunday, the topic was signs of labor. Each women shared her signs of labor. For me, my signs were pretty basic: contractions, loss of mucus plug, and water breaking, in that order.

I love going to group prenatal to see the moms that I used to be pregnant with and to see the moms who will soon meet their mini. It’s also a reason for Boo and me to get out the house and interact with other adults. Plus, there’s always vegan food, and as a breastfeeding mama, I needs the food.

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.

mommy must haves, Vegan Mommy Things

Mommy Must-Haves #1

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may or may not get paid per link click.

As a new mom, there are things that make life so much easier and allow you to get things done. I had a baby carrier before he was born and after he was born, I wore him in it. It did not have any back support, so he was just hanging, which pulled on my back and my not yet healed stomach. I knew that wasn’t going to work. So, I headed to Amazon and found a carrier that I knew would work.

This carrier by Infantino is the absolute gag. It offers great support, he sits up higher and he’s not just hanging. He’s actually sitting in it. I can now do so many household chores, cook, go on long walks, etc., with him attached to me. I swear by this carrier. I don’t know if I would ever be able to do anything without it.

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One thing I did everyday when I was pregnant was walking. I knew that once he was born, walking would become more consistent. My coworkers got me this stroller as a gift when they threw me a surprise baby shower. It’s pretty much a jogger, though I stopped jogging a couple years ago. This stroller is lightweight and it comes with a car seat. Once he gets older, though he won’t be able to always fit in the car seat, he can still sit in the stroller.

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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?

All Black Everything, confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #6: The Talk

And I’m not talking about the sex talk either. As a black mother to a black boy, we have to have a talk that our white counterparts don’t: being a black boy in a society that sees him as dangerous and a threat because of the color of his skin. It’s a shame that I have to even have this talk with him and to say that I’m terrified of it is an understatement.

Why do I have to tell my son that because of the color of his skin and he’s a male, he was born with a target on his back? Why do I have to tell him about obeying the police no matter what and not to run even if you’re innocent or they will shoot you down? Why do I have to tell him that no matter what the cop says, don’t become defensive or combative, just cooperate? Why do I have to tell him that if he’s hanging with his white friends and cops come around, he’ll be the one they look at while his friends get to go free, or that he’s the reason for there being any trouble?

Why do I have to explain to him that in school if he seems to be smarter than the rest and he isn’t properly accommodated, his acting out will automatically have him labeled ADD or ADHD or even SPED, when in reality he is just smart and ahead for his age? Why do I have to explain to him that he won’t be able to do everything his white friends do because his skin doesn’t allow him that privilege? Why do I have to explain to him that he will be stereotyped until the day he dies with people assuming he’s a ball player, can run fast and has a big penis?

Why do I have to explain to him that some, not all, white women will go after him for his penis or his money if he decides to play ball? Why do I have to explain to him that he will be fetishized by white women and gay white men? Why do I have to explain to him that there is a certain way he has to act around white people just to make it in this world?

But you know what? Why do I have to explain anything aforementioned to my black son? Because that’s the world we live in and if he’s not careful, he’ll find himself at the barrel end of a gun. I’m not even looking forward to having to have this conversation with his father about when we should talk about these things with him. I know that someone will say why is race always involved. If you live in America and anywhere that black people, especially black boys and men, are shot down for no reason, you’ll understand. Coming from a black mother, our worry about our babies is ten times worse than those of any other race, including those of biracial children.

Vegan Mommy Things

Exercising for fitness postpartum

Since giving birth to my son, working or has been the hardest to get back into. I lack the motivation to do so. I was stoked that I got back down to my prepregnancy weight, however, I have put on about 5 lbs since then and I am not happy about that. It’s weird because I exercised my entire second and third trimester to prepare for birth and now that I’m no longer pregnant, I find it a struggle to workout.

Beginning last Thursday, I started back doing yoga and I’ve also been taking Boo on my walks. When it comes to yoga and walking, for whatever reason they both don’t seem like exercise to me. I see them both as ways to relax, keep calm, selfcare and bonding time with Boo.

This past weekend, I went to Baby and ame yoga (pics soon to come, will probably be in a separate post giving a review of the yoga class). It made me want to start incorporating him more in my home practice of yoga. Though he slept most of the class, it was nice having him there, comforting in a way.

I ended up having to purchase a new carrier to wear him due to me being top heavy and he was adding extra weight with dangling from the previous one (will give details in another post). So now with this carrier, it’s less stress in my back. I can go for long walks when I don’t feel like fooling with the stroller.

Another way I exercise is by strapping him to me and doing house work: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cooking, dusting, etc. Having to squat with him is like squatting with dumbbells: gives that extra weight to make you work harder and use your muscles as well as building them.

Once I am completely healed, I’ll be getting back into kickboxing, but right now, I am just keeping it low impact and easing back into my workout routine. What motivates me is the fact that I have a son and they tend to be more rambunctious than girls, as well as adventurous and require more endurance and strength.

What are some ways you workout as a mom after having your kid(s)?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #5: Co-parenting

Co-parenting is not always something that just works. You have to work at it. I know that I never thought I would have a child, and on top of that, if I did have a child, co-parenting was never a thought in my mind. I for sure thought I would be married if I ever had a child. Funny how the universe throws a wrench in your plans.

When I first found out I was pregnant, my son’s father as not onboard. He wanted nothing to do with the pregnancy or the baby after birth. Was I devastated? Shit yeah! I had just given up my career in China to stay in the US and be a mother. I felt it was selfish of him that I had to completely change my life and he was just going to go on about his as if nothing happened. I was pissed and heartbroken. Did I want to be in a relationship with him? Absolutely not, but I did want to have some sort of relationship when it came to our child. When I found out Boo was a boy, I knew that he needed to have his father, but I wasn’t going to press the matter.

We went my entire first trimester without speaking and that went well into my second. Midway through my second trimester, he suddenly had a change of heart. He came around more and was helping me out. He always asked if I needed anything. I was grateful, but leery of accepting that he was being genuine. I felt deeply that he had an ulterior motive. In the beginning he wanted a DNA test, but after Boo was born, he wasn’t as adamant about it. He still wants one but isn’t pressing it like he was. After all, Boo is the spitting image of him, just a lighter, cuter version, and he’s not denying that. Boo also looks like his father’s late sister, who was also a childhood friend of mine.

Co-parenting so far has been so-so. There have been phone hangups and heated conversations that lead to some days without speaking. With me being hormonal and he being the person he is, sometimes it’s like vinegar and water: we just don’t mix. He and I were never in a relationship, just physical. Now that we have a son, we are trying to at least be friendly for Boo’s sake. I know that not all co-parenting situations are like mine, some being better and some being the pits of hell, but for now, it’s somewhat working. I can only speak for seven weeks of co-parenting, for that’s how old Boo is. As he gets older, I’ll speak more on it.

One thing that motivates me to make this work is that I grew up with a father who didn’t want to be a father. He took care of me out of obligation, aka child support, and even then, he tried to weasel his way out of it any way that he could. I didn’t want that for my son. I don’t want that for my son. In some aspects, his father is a great role model and I know he’s going to be an amazing father. I love the way he loves our son and seeing them together warms my heart. I can’t wait to see their relationship grow, something that I will never understand with having an absent father. I guess that’s why it means so much to me that he’s around and is there for our son.

Now, granted, Boo is definitely not his father’s top priority and I won’t get into too much detail about that, but that is something that puts a strain on our relationship as his parents. It’s something that gravely pisses me off and I’m hoping one day his father will change that about him. As for me, being the primary parent, Boo is my top priority above any and everything else. I always think of him first, and if his father did the same, I think our relationship would be much better.

If you are co-parenting, what is your relationship like with the other parent? How is their relationship with your child?

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/

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #4: Loneliness and Meltdowns

Being a single mom from conception is hard as fuck. I won’t even sugarcoat it. Being a single mom period is hard as fuck. There are good days and there are bad days and the bad days make it seem like they outnumber the good. The past couple of days have been trying.

With the transition back home, I’ve felt a sense of loneliness, even when Boo’s dad comes to see him, which has been almost everyday. At times when Boo doesn’t stop crying, I feel helpless and like I have no one to turn to.

There are times when he’s awake for hours at a time and it’s exhausting to the point of severe frustration. I had a complete meltdown today because he was just fussy. He wasn’t wet or hungry and he didn’t want to play: just screaming and crying. It’s hard because he can’t tell me what’s wrong and I have to do my best and try everything.

I found that 9 times out of 10, he’s fighting his sleep. Even though I can call my mom, I still feel lonely with no one here. It’s funny because I live in the same city as my entire family and all of my friends, yet I still feel isolated and secluded.

Mad I had this meltdown while rocking Boo, he just stared at me and smiled as if to say, “It’s okay mommy, we’re both learning.” I cried even harder. It’s moments like that when he just looks at me and smiles, let’s me know I’m going to be okay; we’re going to be okay.

Motherhood can be lonely sometimes, whether you’re single or married, doesn’t matter. You’re the mother and no one else can replace you. What I’m learning is I need to reach out to my mom friends and meet up with the kiddos. Today, I am going to Mommy and Baby yoga and I cannot wait.

One of the best things to combat loneliness is to get out of the house and surround yourself with people. Being around other people can break some of that loneliness, even if you are an introvert and don’t tend to interact with other adults.

Do you ever feel lonely as a mother, despite having a support system? Do you lack a support system and the loneliness is unbearable?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #3: Dancing Fish, Talking Dogs & Loud Houses

I didn’t believe that when you became a mom, what you watch on television changes. I don’t have cable, but I do have a fire stick (best thing ever invented in my opinion). While staying at my parents’ house, I spent a lot of time watching Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol and The Loud House. Needless to say, now that I am home, that has not changed.

What’s funny is I now know the them song to each show and actually dance with Boo when they come on. I also want to give a shoutout to YouTube for making these shows available and the networks that they’re on (I was able to purchase the entire series of Bubble Guppies on YT for $5, talk about a win!).

So now, I have to watch my shows and YT videos during me time, which is after 9 PM, but I don’t mind. Fascinating thing is Boo actually watched the shows when I put him in front of the television. He’s content at max for 30 min, which is sometimes all I need.

What is something that you find yourself doing as a mother that you never thought you’d do?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #2: Home, Sweet Home and Closing the Door

Yesterday Boo and I finally went home from my parents’ house. We had been staying with them for the past 7 weeks. We had adjusted to him being out of the womb and I was getting used to my parents helping out and watching him while I sleep, as well as doing a bunch of other things for me.

Scared was not even the word to describe how I felt about leaving my parents’ house and doing this on my own. Granted they live literally 3 miles away, they are currently out of town. My son’s father helped me to move all of our stuff back into my apartment. He then left right after for an emergency. I was left alone with Boo. That’s when the crying began. He would not let me put him down so I could begin unpacking. At one point I left him in the room and closed the door. I felt a panic attack coming on. Then all of a sudden, the crying stopped, so did my heart. I went back in and he a was laying there with a string of snot coming out of his nose. He looked up at me and my heart broke.

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I picked him up, wiped his nose and cuddled in the bed. I nursed him and he fell asleep. As soon as I got out of the bed, the crying started again. I put him in his vibrating chair and let him watch cartoons on YouTube. I cleaned up a bit until my mom came. She stayed for a little while and he was completely calm. After she left, he cried on and off for the next five hours.

Around 10:30, I called my mom. I put her on speaker so he could hear her voice.  He was calm again. After we got off the phone, I nursed him and he went to sleep. He slept the entire night until I woke him up at 5 to change his diaper and to nurse. He quickly went back to sleep.

I still feel bad about leaving him in the room to cry. I feel like a terrible parent for doing that.

If there are any tips or trick to soothe a crying baby that is not hungry, wet, or sick, please leave them in the comment section. Being a single parent living on my own is hard as fuck.

confessions, My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #1: Be Still, Cherish the Moment

There are times when Malakhai just won’t stop crying. Like today. We went to my apartment and it was his first time there. He cried and cried. I was trying to get things done with my blog, apply for jobs, plan new content, eat, and a cohort of other things. I started to think that he hated being there. Every time he would go to sleep, I’d lay him down and he’d throw an entire fit. He has never cried like that before and I was becoming frustrated. I changed him, I fed him, I rocked him, but what he really needed was my full attention and to cuddle with him. See, being at my moms house, we spend a lot of time cuddling and just us time. I haven’t really been trying to work like I did before I had him. Finally, I got undressed, cuddled him in my arms, got under the covers and laid down. He instantly stopped crying and went to sleep. So did I. In that moment, he taught me a valuable lesson. I have plenty of time to work but moments like that will soon go away, so I need to be in the moment, be still and just cherish it. Turn off YT, Netflix and Hulu. Put my phone down. Before I know it, he won’t want to cuddle anymore. So, I’m learning to take advantage of him wanting to be near me, close to me and just being still with me.

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Vegan Mommy Things

Helpless in Houston

On Tuesday, my son was admitted to the hospital with a temp of 100.4. We woke up that morning and he felt extremely warm and was sweating. We headed to Texas Children’s Hospital in The Woodlands (btw it’s a fancy ass hospital). We went to the ER and was immediately taken back to get vitals. His temp had gone up to 102.

They poked and prodded him. I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do. He was fussy. Each time they had to do something to him, I had to step out. I can’t stand to hear my baby cry. He took most of what they did like a champ.

Then, they finally said they were going to admit him for two days. I had a melt down. I was scared, worried, confused, and, again, helpless. What was wrong with my baby?

We waited for hours for a room to become available. Our room was pretty swanky with a bathroom, shower, and the most beautiful view. The nurses were amazing, helpful, and waited on us hand and foot.

I was famished by this point and they said that I had to pay for the food I wanted to order off of the menu. Later I found out I got to eat free even though I wasn’t a patient, but since I’m breastfeeding, in order for him to eat, I have to eat. They had vegan options but not a wide variety.

I stayed in the room most of the time because I have trust issues. Even though my mom was there with us the whole time, she did have to sleep. The nurses feel in love with Boo and I had to make sure he didn’t come up missing.

It was a while before we heard anything from all the tests they ran. This morning they said he had E. Coli in his urine, which was and easy fix. They had had him hooked up to a machine to give him antibiotics through an IV.

We are home now and he’s doing better. His appetite never changed neither did his dirty and wet diapers. This whole experience taught me that I can’t control everything. Not everything can be fixed by me. There will be times when there are things that are out of my hands.

To my mamas, or anyone for that matter, when have you ever felt helpless?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

My Reason Why

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“Mom” is the best and most important title that I hold. It’s more than a job: it’s a lifetime of love, tears, trials and triumphs. When I became pregnant, I didn’t know how drastically my mindset would change. I think so much differently now. I don’t only think about myself, I think about my child first.

1. Malakhai is the reason I am on this debt free  journey. Getting out of debt has never been more important to me than it is now. I began budgeting towards the end of last year and I was even able to get my savings to 4 digits, which is something I have never been able to do before.

I’ve always been a spender instead of a saver, but now I think long and hard about purchases I make. I have a complete list I run through before I make a purchase, which I will share in another post.

I’m also doing this debt Free Journey so that he and I can travel. By the time he is school age, I want to be able to work part time in order to spend more time with him, teaching and traveling the world. I feel the best kind of education is done outside of the classroom. I want him to be well-traveled and know that America is not the only place there is.

2. Malakhai is the reason I eat healthier than I do prior to becoming pregnant. I now have to decide if what I’m about to consume is going to benefit him. It’s no longer about just benefiting me, but him as well. Since I’m breastfeeding, he consumes what I do.

3. Malakhai is the reason I want to work for myself so that he can see that he doesn’t have to punch in for anybody but himself, hence why I want to be debt free so I can focus more on my business and become a certified health consultant. I want him to be as open minded as I am and to think outside the box.

4. Malakhai is the reason I haven’t lost my shit after giving birth. He’s how I’ve been keeping it together as far as adjusting to motherhood. Looking at his sweet face and holding him, makes me feel like we’re going to be okay, that everything is going to be fine. I am an awesome mother and he is an awesome child. He is why I know I am going to be the best parent I can be for him.

5. Malakhai is the reason I want to better myself: mentally, physically and emotionally. Since he’s a boy, I’m going to have to be in the best shape physically in order to run around and play with him. He’s also more than likely going to want to play sports and go on adventures and I need to be fit to be there for every single thing. Raising a boy into a man, I am going to have to be emotionally and mentally stable to show him that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help or talking your feelings out. I don’t want him to hold anything in. If he’s having a hard time, I don’t want him to hesitate coming to me.

Malakhai is my reason for working towards living the best life I can. He makes me want to do better and be better. It’s amazing how having a child can make you see the world through different lenses.

If you have a child, how did they change you?

Vegan Mommy Things

2 Weeks Postpartum

Today makes two weeks since I had Boo and I have to say it has been an adjustment but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The first few days were hard because I was in some pain, but also he wasn’t feeding. I got really nervous and scared. 

I found out that he still had amniotic fluid in his throat that he had to spit up. Once all of that came up, he fed like a champ.

Sleeping at night was a challenge because he had his days and nights confused. I realized that he hated sleeping on his back because he can’t curl up like he did when he was in the womb. Now that I let him sleep on his stomach, we cosleep so I can keep an eye on him. He doesn’t do much moving in his sleep anyway, so I’m not worried about anything. Plus I can feel and here him when he makes the slightest noise or movement.

I’m now back to my prepregnancy weight and I’m stoked about that. I’m also embracing my postpartum body: the stretch marks and the small pouch. This body of mine did the most incredible thing that a body can do: it grew and nurtured a life, as well as delivered it and is continuing to nurture through breast milk. I still can’t get over how I brought this little human into the world. I did that. Me. 

Breastfeeding has been great actually. He latched on perfectly after he was born. Had no issues. He is a greedy one though, I must admit that. He’s been putting on weight and getting bigger. He was born at 7lb 2oz and is now at 7lbs 9oz. He Feds about every 1-3 hours (3 hours if I let him sleep that long). 

He is mighty strong to only be two weeks old. He pulls the glasses off my mom’s face, when he got weighed at the pediatrician yesterday he had a death grip on my arm and would not let go. I had to pry his hands off. He has strong kicks and as well (he uses my breasts as kick bags at night).

Diaper changes are still a struggle. Just this morning, Boo peed and it got in his face, on my arms, on the comforter and on his onesie. I ended up ordering some peepee teepees off Amazon. We are not going to keep doing this lol.

As for me, I am doing well actually. I’m so in love with him that it’s indescribable. This little human is mine and depends on me to love, nurture and guide him through life. I am honored he chose me as his mom. Truly humbled and honored. I’m going to be sure to give him the best life I can, a better life than what I had (and I had a damn good life).

The bleeding has slowed to spotting. The cramping from breastfeeding and my reproductive organs moving back to their position has stopped. I still experience some pain and pulling when I carry him while walking. 

My arms are getting stronger from picking him up and holding him while breastfeeding. I swear I have muscle definition now (just take my word for it). 

All in all, the first two weeks have had their ups and downs. I no longer cry from frustration or worry (not to say that it won’t ever happen again because I mean he’s a boy and boys tend to be reckless and get hurt constantly). 

I’ll try to work on updating y’all on Boo once or twice a month. 

Vegan Mommy Things

My Birth Story

Boo is a week old today and I am finally able to get on here while he’s asleep. Getting him adjusted to a breastfeeding schedule has been a little off but he’s adjusting well. He sleeps well through the night, which I could not be happier about.

Breastfeeding has been going well now that my milk has come in. He’s latching and I’m also pumping in order to prepare for when I go back to work in August.

He is the definition of perfection and I’m totally completely in love and obsessed. He has the sweetest face and now smiles at me when he decides to open his eyes and look at me.

But, I know you’re not here for that. I’ll do a post later on the first week post partum. Now on to my birth story.

April 20, 2018

I started having contractions about 9:30 that morning. At first I thought I was just cramping or that they were false contractions. They were about 40 min apart st that point.

I called my midwife at that point and she said to go on about my day. And that’s just what I did. My mom and I went to Hobby Lobby, grocery shopping and to another store I can’t remember.

We then went to happy hour at Los Cucos (clearly I didn’t drink), and my contractions had jumped to 5-8 minutes apart. When we got home, they were pretty intense so I called my midwife again. She had me to come in.

On the way there, the contractions were pretty damn intense but not as intense as they later would get. She examined me and I was only 1 cm dilated, so she sent me home.

Over the next few hours the contractions got closer together and became even more intense. Around 11:30 ish that night, I felt something pop in my lower abdomen. Contractions at this point were unbearable but not yet as unbearable as they soon would get.

I got up and I was leaking. I made it to the bathroom and my mucus plug came out. At that point, I just knew it was time to go see my midwife. I called her and she had me come in. I told my parents (they were the ones taking me and I’m also currently staying with them until I recover). By the time they got to my room, I was on hands and knees in pain. Soon as the contraction let up, I beelined to the car before the next one came.

Let’s pause for a second and talk about these damn contractions. Contractions feel like stomach cramps, but the closer they get, the more painful they become. The pain is on a whole other level.

So we get to the birthing center, and I am only 4 cm dilated. My midwife didn’t want to send me home so she had me and two doulas (along with my mother) walk 3 mi to get boo to move down. Now this 3 mi trek was devastatingly and excruciatingly painful and uncomfortable.

April 21, 2018

Every contraction, they either had me to walk through it or squat. I was beyond tired within the first 10 min.  As the walk went on, the contractions got worse and closer together to the point where every step I took, I had a contraction. I was miserable. About two blocks from the birthing center, I had given up. I ended up sitting on a curb. I was exhausted, in excruciating pain and walking just wasn’t going to happen. My midwife ended up coming to get me in her car.

Once back to the center, I laid down and tried to sleep but those contractions were in full force. I eventually got undressed and got in the birthing pool. The warmth of the water was relaxing and helped ease the pain of the contractions, ever so slightly. I think I was in there for about an hour. I then started experiencing involuntary pushing. I really needed to lay down.

I ended up getting out of the pool and on to the bed. About 20 min later, it was time to push my baby out. They began to see the head during one of my involuntary pushes and told me to push with each contraction.

Pushing him out was honestly the easy part and the least painful. I don’t even think it was painful since I was full of adrenaline. At 5:52 am, I felt his head then the rest of his body. It was an emotional experience.

I remember the first thing I said after he was born was, “I want my baby! Give me my baby!” They laid him on my chest and he immediately stopped crying. It was an experience to remember. I will never forget all I went through to have my Malakhai but I swear it was all worth it. The journey, the labor, everything was worth it to deliver my sweet baby.

At one point during the walk, I wanted to just quit and go to the hospital to make the pain go away, but I couldn’t do that to my baby. I didn’t want any drugs or anything to hinder this experience. I had him in a positive, loving environment and I will forever be grateful for the midwives and doulas that assisted me in my birth (LaMonica, Althea, TiTi).

Afua Hassan is the best midwife and she has made this journey so calming and reassuring. She eased a lot of my fears and made this birthing experience what it was: beautiful, peaceful, and loving. Without her, I don’t think I would’ve gone through with it. Without her being who she is, I think I would’ve ended up having him in the hospital.

I didn’t experience any tearing or anything severe. My pregnancy was healthy, easy, and for the most part enjoyable, but I’m overjoyed that my baby boy is here.

If I could do it over would I change anything? Nope. Not a single thing. It could not have been a more perfect experience.

Vegan Mommy Things

What I Will Miss/Not Miss About Being Pregnant

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As today is boo’s due date (yet he has not arrived), I think about what I will miss and not miss about being pregnant. Don’t worry, this will be a short post (maybe).

What I Will Miss

1. The special treatmeant that women get for being pregnant by family, friends, and strangers.

2. Parking in the “expecting mother’s” parking spot (though I can park in the “customer with small children” spot)

3. Feeling boo kick. I think that is the best part of being pregnant. Laying in bed and feeling him kick and move around with my hand.

What I Won’t Miss

1. People touching my belly without asking.

2. Constantly being asked if I’ve had the baby.

4. Being asked everyday by the same people when my due date is.

5. People telling me I’m getting bigger as if I don’t stand and look in the mirror everyday, or look down and can’t see my feet, or am not able to bend down to pick something up off the floor.

6. The constant, constant, constant, never ending trips to the bathroom.

7. Not being able to sleep on my stomach or back.

8. Eating every 30 min (maybe I’m exaggerating, more like every hour or two).

9. Snacking in the middle of the night due to severe hunger pains and kicks from boo.

10. Not being able to do intense exercises like HIIT or kickboxing, like I used to (how I truly miss kickboxing).

11. Being asked am I ready for my baby to be here. I mean I don’t have a choice now do I?

12. Being asked every single day by the same people if I have everything ready at my home. If not, then clearly I’m not on my shit.

13. Being asked by the same people is this my first child.

14. Basically being asked by the same damn people, the same damn questions, every damn day.

15. The way my body smells. Being pregnant has a whole different kind of sweaty, stinky smell.

16. The discharge.

17. The anxious waiting of boo’s arrival.

18. Being told what I can and can’t do, or what I should and shouldn’t do.

19. Being pressed about my diet (though I know I’ll be pressed about boo being vegan).

20. The horrid first trimester. It was just awful.

21. The unwarranted horror birth stories of others.

22. Being asked am I sure I want to give birth without drugs and in the water,  and how that’s a brave thing to do. Being pregnant is a brave thing to do with all we have to endure. Getting pregnant was natural so why wouldn’t I have the baby natural?

What are some things that you miss or don’t miss about being pregnant?

Health + Wellness, Vegan Mommy Things

Trap Yoga

Here we are again with Trap Yoga, only this time I’m pregnant!! It’s always fun going to her classes and I wasn’t going to let boo stop me. In fact, I went just to try to move him down. Needless to say, no such luck, but I still enjoyed myself. I can’t believe these pics are almost two years apart.

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I love the photos that were shot and shout out to @ShotbySham on IG for these.

Vegan Mommy Things

A Letter to My Son

 

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Dear Malakhai,

I remember when I first found out about you. My reaction wasn’t of joy but of pure sadness and disappointment. Not because I was single, but because I didn’t feel like a child fit into my life. As time went on, I realized that you were created for a reason and that alone had changed me. I’m not who I was 9 months ago. I’ve grown and morphed into a completely different woman: a woman that I never knew existed. As it is now time for your arrival, Idk how I feel about my seeing my heart outside my body, and that’s what you are: my heart. You are the greatest blessing that I could’ve ever received and I thank the universe (and I mean I guess your father, lol) for gifting you to me. I also thank you for choosing me to be your mother. You are loved by so many, more than you’ll ever know. A plethora of people are anticipating your arrival, but more importantly, mommy and daddy are. I want you to know that mommy is going to make sure you have the best life, a life that you deserve. You will never want for anything because mommy is a hustler. I say all of this to say that I love you so much and I can’t wait to shower you with my love and show you the world.

Love,

Your Anxiously Awaiting Mother

 

Vegan Mommy Things

Self-care Sunday

 

I haven’t been to a nail salon in years, so with boo arriving soon, I figured why not pamper myself today? I washed my hair and touched up my roots. Then I went to the nail salon and got a much needed pedicure, manicure, and eyebrow waxing. Since there will be photos and video footage of my water birth, I definitely have to be camera ready. Call it vanity, but I call it preparing for the future and having something beautiful to look back on.

Vegan Mommy Things

The Amazing Female Body

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It’s almost that time for boo’s arrival. Yesterday I had some cramping which was basically my uterus prepping for real contractions to begin. It’s funny because I am not the least bit nervous. I am more anxious than anything. As a first time mom, I am anxious and ready to meet my little mini. I have been growing him for 9 (in reality 10) months. I think it’s amazing to finally see what your body has done that is so amazing, beautiful and instinctual.

I think it’s beyond incredible that our bodies know what to do. They just know. I find it fascinating that our bodies know how to grow and nurture a baby, expand as baby grows bigger, create an embryonic sac and placenta, create an umbilical cord. How can anyone not think of how amazing that is. Not only that, but after all of those changes, our vaginas can then expand to push out something the size of a watermelon, though more cute, soft and cuddly.

I feel like women are the strongest creature on earth, especially with being able to withstand the pain of labor and childbirth. I think there is no greater pain than that. When it’s all said and done, our bodies miraculously heals itself and everything goes back to normal, well most of the time.

As baby grows, our milk changes to fit baby’s needs. Now that baby is on the outside, our bodies are still responding to this child that is no longer physically attached. Our bodies produce this milk that has protiens, nutrients and antibodies to help nourish and protect our baby, and then changes constantly. It literally blows my mind.

I learned something new today through the Ovia app (tells how baby os doing each day and also gives information as you get closer to birthing): let-down reflex. This is when your breasts leak milk anytime you hear a baby cry, and it doesn’t have to be your baby that is crying.

I know so many women who have had babies and I have seen the process, but to be experiencing it myself is overwhelming. I feel boo move often. He kicks, stretches, turns around, nestles, presses against my stomach with his butt, feet, or hands, and I just think to myself, “I grew him. This life inside me, I did that.”

I have been so conscious about what I consume because my body breaks down the food and gives boo his essential needs first and the rest is left to me. I have this internal pathway to get food to my child. Sometimes I think about what this process actually looks like. Call me weird, but I am just baffled and awestruck.

Do/did any of you mamas have/had the same thoughts about this? Let me know in the comments below.

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

I Don’t See How You Do It

I seem to be getting this statement a lot from my coworkers being that I am 9 months pregnant and still working. To many of them it seems abnormal to still be working this long. Thing is, I am a parent who is single, therefore, there is no one at home to help me with the bills, and seeing as how I don’t get paid while I’m on maternity leave (which I find highly absurd), I have to work up until my due date so that I am not missing a lot of money. Luckily for me, I am a teacher, so I still get my summer pay, I just won’t get paid for the month of May. Also, the first 8 days of my maternity leave are paid PTO days, so in essence, I am not really missing that much, but still.

I always wonder why some women, and men, feel that a woman who works up until she goes into labor is something out of the Twilight Zone. I am healthy and active, and so is my baby. I don’t have a high-risk pregnancy and I have been active my entire pregnancy. I honestly believe that has a lot to do with why I am still able to work. Again, I am also a teacher so it’s not like it’s a lot of strain and I am able to sit, take breaks and have snacks. That makes it much easier, however, I still don’t understand why it was so difficult for my coworkers to be able to stay at work until they were ready to deliver. Then again, most of them had that option because they were married.

I think that staying active during pregnancy allows you to be able to work longer if you don’t have a physically demanding job. Along with staying active, drinking lots of water, getting a plethora of rest, and eating a healthy diet (I am going on 5 years of being vegan), can contribute to preventing things like pre eclampsia, swelling and fatigue. Now I won’t lie, I am tired, but that’s mainly because I am so far in my pregnancy that getting in a comfortable position to sleep has become rather difficult.

Something else that has helped me is not letting myself get stressed over things that are out of my hands. I don’t let the stressors of being a teacher weigh on my like some of my fellow coworkers and teacher friends. I am here to do one job and one job only: teach these kids to write to the best of my ability and to assist them in becoming confident and successful in their academic career. Everything else I tend to push to the side. I don’t have the time nor the energy for workplace drama, which comes with any job no matter, where or what it is.

If you are a mama who was able to stay at work until you went into labor, what are some factors taht you think contributed to that? Also, how did you handle people who constantly said, “I don’t see how you do it”?

All Black Everything, Product Reviews, Vegan Mommy Things

SmootiePie Baby and Belly Moisturizer

As a mommy-to-be, stretch marks are inevitable. For me, it’s been the dryness. As my belly expands, the dryer it gets and this moisturizer is life. Not only is it vegan, black owned and cruelty free (y’all know how important that combo is to me), it smells absolutely amazing.
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I am the type who is prone to dry skin and I’m also conscious about products I use so close to my baby. Anything you put on your skin, your skin absorbs. That’s why I go for natural products by the likes of @lovesmootiepie.
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I have to say this is moisturizer did take me by surprise. I immediately thought it was hard, kind of like coconut oil. To my astonishment, I dipped my finger in and it went straight through. It’s almost like a creamy butter that melts into this enriching oil. *
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Needless to say, this mommy approves and I will definitely be using this on my baby love, Khai, once he is born.

 

All Black Everything, Vegan Mommy Things

The Honey Pot Co. Mommy-to-be Wash

Now this stuff right here my ninjas (because I don’t use that derogatory word) is the truth. I am absolutely picky when it comes to products for my vagina. She doesn’t like fragrances (she gets straight ignant with the yeast infections from fragranted products). This feminine wash is for mommies-to-be (but I’m sure any woman can use it). It’s fragrance free, vegan, cruelty free and black owned. Not only that, but it works like a charm. All my pregnant mommas and those who have had children, know this discharge is something else. This wash keeps me fresh and leaves me feeling clean.

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Another mommy approved product for you mamas to try!

Vegan Mommy Things

Single Parent v. Single Parent

Most people have the definition of a single parent misconstrued. If you ask anyone, 9 times out of 10, they will say a single parent is someone who is single and a parent. That is actually not the case. A single parent is a person who is taking care of their child(ren) by themselves, without the help of the other parent.

Most single women who have a child(ren) are single mothers because the father is not around. For example, my mother was a single mother with me because once she and my father divorced, he was not around and found ways to get out of paying child support.

I currently am single and I’m a mother, but I’m not a single mother. My son’s father is involved as of right now (things can always change, but I pray that they don’t). There are even single fathers and I know of some personally: men who have kids and the mother is nowhere in sight, which is awful because how can a woman abandon a child she carried for 10 months?

The abandonment of a child by either parent is detrimental to their mental and emotional growth as they grow older.

All in all, their is a difference between a single parent and someone who is single and also happens to be a parent.