Vegan Mommy Things

MyGym @ Atascocita

Saturday, Malakhai and I went to a class at MyGym. It’s a little gym for our tiny humans. There were about six other little tykes there. We began with some warm ups then stretches with out minis. Afterwards, we had free time to roam around the gym and enjoy all that they had. There were slides, a ball pit, a parachute ride down a ramp, swings and so much more. Towards the end, there’s what’s called separation time where the parents leave the kids in the circle to play with toys and each other. Malakhai did so well!

I’m going to see if I can work MyGym into my budget. It’s only $82 a month which is awesome and we would be going every week. It’s worth the investment. I bonded with two other moms there and it’s a great way for Malakhai to meet other kiddos outside of daycare. If you have a MyGym near you, I highly suggest it. The first class is always free.

Playing in the circus!
Doing a flip on the bar. Of course he cried.
He didn’t too much like the ball pit.
He seemed to like one of the teachers.
Clearly he loved the swing.
He did not like the parachute ride lol.
Separation time.
He did amazingly well!
Just chillin!
Vegan Mommy Things

Sensory Time: DIY Paint

So, Malakhai has reached that age that he wants to touch any and everything. I open the fridge, he has to touch everything in the door. Anything I have in my hand, he has to touch. I figured it was time to start some sensory activities, and I can’t wait to continue this series.

I wanted to start with painting but I didn’t want to use actual paint because it’s toxic and he’s at that age where everything goes in his mouth. I wanted to make something that I knew I wouldn’t care if he ate it. I chose vegan vanilla yogurt. I got just a small cup and I split it between two containers: one for red and one for blue, although they came out a pinkish red and purple.

1 container of vegan vanilla yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, clothes you don’t mind messing up, and a fun attitude

I squeezed 3 strawberries in one container and stirred it with a spoon. In the other, I tried mashing blueberries, but they weren’t juicy like I expected. So, I took a handful and put them in a small pot. I added water just to cover and let them boil until they popped. This made the water a dark blue. I poured that in the other container of yogurt. It actually turned out purple but oh well.

I tried getting Malakhai to paint on paper but he just wanted to rip it up, so I poured some paint on the towel between his legs and let him have at it. He rubbed his hands and feet in it. It was a new feeling for him and he thoroughly enjoyed it. He even decided to paint me as well. Here are some pictures from our painting session.

Vegan Mommy Things

Will He Hate Me?

This thought has run through my head time and time again, sometimes all day. When Malakhai gets older, will he hate me?

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that Khai’s dad and I don’t have the best relationship. In fact, we don’t have a relationship at all. We don’t coparent. I won’t get into all of the reasons why, but I always wonder of when Khai becomes old enough to understand, will he blame me for the lack of coparentship his father and I have.

Granted I will tell him the truth of everything, but will he forgive me? Will his father and his father’s wife say things about me to make it hard for him to believe me?

I always think about these things because if Khai ever resented me, I don’t think I could handle that. Granted as I grew older, I came to my own conclusion about my biological father and I’m hoping to do the same with Khai, let him see for himself.

If you are in a similar situation with your child’s other parent, how are you coping? Are your kids old enough to understand? How are they handling it?

Vegan Mommy Things

Narcissism

Dealing with a narcissist is probably one of the hardest things to do if you don’t know how to handle them. My son’s father is a narcissist. He’s very controlling and demanding. He wants everything to go his way or no way. Well, the thing is, he has yet to control me.

Sometimes dealing with him aggravated me, but I have to take a deep breath and then react in a way that he least expects. Narcissistic people tend to want to get you riled up. It fuels their behavior. The best way to deal with them is to react the opposite of what they want.

I’ll give you some examples. My son’s father, let’s call him Tyrone (I know right?). Tyrone likes to give me a deadline of when something needs to be done and usually he wants whatever it is done that day. Me being the petty person I am, depending on level of importance, I’ll do it a day, or two, or three, hell even a week later. I’m a grown ass woman. Nobody demands anything from me aside from my son. He can make demands from his wife and our son, but not from me. I bow down to no one.

Another example is when he gives me ultimatums. First of all, if you know me, you know I don’t take well to being required to make a choice. He gives me a choice of A or B and I take F. This is how our “relationship” has been for quite some time.

Narcissistic people get gratification from everything being centered around them and everyone doing what they want, how they want, and when they want. I can’t see myself letting someone try to belittle me that way.

Always meet narcissism with pettiness. That’s the only way to combat it. I could just not deal with him at all, but that would be me hurting my son and I’m not willing to do that. Yeah, my son is young, but I’m just not willing to start a habit that continues on to when he does understand and then I’m the bad guy.

Have you dealt with a narcissistic person? If so, how did you handle them?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Before Work Routine

  1. Wake up @ 4:30 am.
  2. Take a shower.
  3. Brush my teeth.
  4. Get dressed.
  5. Put coconut milk on to boil for my oatmeal.
  6. Pack up everything in my wagon.
  7. Put oatmeal in the pot.
  8. Fill up gallon water bottle.
  9. Pour oatmeal and toppings in a bowl.
  10. Wake up Malakhai.
  11. Change his diaper.
  12. Lotion him up.
  13. Nurse him.
  14. Bundle him up (weather is crazy cold right now)
  15. Strap him to me in his carrier.
  16. Turn alarm off and then back on.
  17. Load the car. 
  18. Head to my mom’s house to drop off Malakhai. 
  19. Head to work.
  20. Pump before school starts.
My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Bitter Baby Mama

There’s this notion that all single mom’s are bitter. This stems from people assuming we are mad because we can’t be with the father of our child(ren) or we are made that they don’t want us. Speaking for me and me only, both are false.

I am in no way bitter about anything, but me wanting my son and his father to have a relationship and me being passionate about it, comes off as being bitter. I didn’t, and still don’t, have a relationship with my father and I don’t want that for my son.

I think, and don’t quote me on this, most men who are on child support, are on child support because they aren’t financially helping the mother of their child(ren) take care of their child(ren). Because women are mainly the ones giving care to the child, men don’t see how expensive it can be to do it alone. They want to say we just want to take their money or we are trying to live off of them, when that it most certainly not the case.

Can I financially take care of my child on my own? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean I should have to, being that I didn’t get pregnant by myself.

My son is breastfed so in order for him to eat, I have to eat. I wash his clothes everyday since he has to be in cloth diapers. That’s water and electricity being used every single day. He has to bathe, right? That’s water again. Then, I have to be able to get him to my moms house and be able to get to work to afford a rough over our heads. That’s gas. He also has to have his booty wiped, his skin cleaned and conditioned, and his hair done. Then there’s toys and clothes.

See how that can get expensive? Then you have a man who doesn’t want to help financially, and thinks that all that’s important and being a good father is sololey just spending time with a child. No, dead wrong. A child needs emotional, physical, mental, and financial support.

As mothers, we want what is best for our children. We are natural born nurturers, whereas men, they just aren’t. I will spend my last dollar on my child for whatever he needs and wants, but I shouldn’t have to.

Next time you want to call the mother of your child(ren) bitter, don’t. Ask her what she needs and how you can help. Make her life easier, not harder. I can guarantee a myriad of men wouldn’t be on child support if they took the time out to sit down with the mother and laid out all expenses to see where he can contribute. All it takes is a conversation.

Now the flipside is there are many women who are bitter and vindictive towards the father, and do file child support to get back at him. What this does is make other women who file for financial reasons only, look like they’re bitter and vindictive.

Mamas, if he doesn’t want you, he doesn’t want you. Let that man and those feelings go. Worry about your child(ren) and your child(ren) only. You can’t be worrying about this man who not only doesn’t want you, but doesn’t want to be a father. Don’t battle with him. There’s a man out there who is going to love you and your child(ren) like his own. I’ve witnessed it numerous times.

What are your thoughts on the term “bitter baby mama?”

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Old Time Christmas Tree Farm

This past Saturday, I took Malakhai to the pumpkin patch and as you can see below, we had a grand ol’ time. He loved touching the pumpkins and pulling up the hay.

It was $5 to get in, and they had numerous activities to do such as a hay ride, vendors to eat or buy things from, as well as thugs for kids to do. Of course, Malakhai is too young for much of the activities, but I did think the hay ride would be fine, however, I brought his stroller I’m not thinking, and there was no way I was going to be able to get it up on the car.

They also grow Christmas trees, so if you need a Christmas tree, you are more than welcome to purchase one, but you do have to cut it down yourself.

The farm is located in Spring, Texas off of Spring Cypress Rd.

All in all, it was a successful and well spent day with my baby love. Do you go to the pumpkin patch during pumpkin season?

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.

78A2886E-02D0-4A5C-83CF-100FFA14F178.png

My Life

Fall is fast approaching!!

fall_puzzler

It’s my favorite time of year and, yes I think I make this post every year, but I can’t help it. Fall is coming! That also means it’s pumpkin season. I’m an October baby so naturally I’m drawn and attracted to this time of year. I feel joyous and in my element. It’s also when I’m the most creative. I love the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin spice, leaves on the ground and sitting on my patio sipping tea.

I know I haven’t been on much and that’s because I have gone back to work. I started last Monday. School starts next Monday so I am doing the final touches on my classroom and getting ready to welcome the students back.

Fall reminds me of my childhood when all of my favorite movies came on Disney channel like Twitches and the Halloween Town quartet.

Though I live in Texas, we don’t typically wear fall wear until it gets closer to December and even then, it’s far and few in between. I remember this time last year I missed fall because I found out I was pregnant and was trying to adjust, also, Hurricane Harvey kind of swept in and damaged everything. I was also in the midst of packing to move into my new apartment. So it was all a blur.

This year, I vow to take in fall and all that it brings, though I’m sure it’s going to bring warm or scorching weather. There are no major hurricanes that are threatening to ruin yet another school year or fall, nine that I know of (🤞🏾).

Do you love fall? What’s your favorite part about it?

Boss Lady

Boss Lady: Amber Richbook from For the Love of Millennials Podcast and A. Richbook Coaching

4DE3B5B7-217E-4AC1-B763-790A0FBBAFA1

I met Amber through Instagram and I’m not sure who followed who first, but she’s such an inspiration. She’s dedicated to her girls and also empowering millennials. She has just this vibrant spirit about her that’s hard to come by. If you need inspiration, she’s the one to follow.

Let’s start by you telling me a little about yourself. Where you’re from, what you do, just whatever you want to share?

I am a single mother of three currently residing in Durham, NC.  I have a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting and one in management.  Fun Fact: I am a licensed cosmetologist in three states.  I host the podcast For The Love of Millennials, a podcast created to empower and uplift the melanin millennial. 

I learned that no matter what job position I am in, I find myself making connections to the people that I meet and learning about them in the unconscious effort to inspire and empower them to be the best of themselves.  

My favorite past times include writing poetry and searching for amazing vacation spots.

Now I know you have a podcast, For the Love of Millennials. Tell me a little about how you started with that. (Came up with the name, what made you decide to do a podcast as opposed to YouTube, what it’s about and what do you want people to get from it.)

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast.  is a platform created to inspire, empower, and uplift  melanin-enriched millennials to be the best of themselves. There are many podcasts that are published and have audiences that are targeted to the melanin enriched millennial.  Many discuss what’s popular today.  What sets this podcast aside from other millennial podcasts? While the podcast may discuss topics and events that are current, we aim to provide  information that has a long term benefit.  So if a listener tunes in months from the episode, they can still find value in the episode. 

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast will not have a limited scope as to music/politics/fashion-beauty/or simply gender related topics, each topic, carefully chosen to provide value to listeners, will thrive with the intention to fulfill the podcast’s purpose to empower melanin-enriched millennials to live their best lives. For specific episodes that will feature a guest, it is important to me to have melanin-enriched millennial expert(s) as a guest(s).

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast. supports and encourages the well-rounded development of melanin-enriched millennials in addition to inspiring and empowering US to live our best lives, whether as professionals (intrapreneurs) or entrepreneurs.  Who are millennials? There isn’t a clear timeline for the rise and end of millennial era, however most sources identify millennials as persons born in the early 1980s to the mid 1990s [approx ages 23 to 36].

I decided to do a podcast because I wanted the audience to be able to tune in whenever and whereever and not be so much distracted by the visuals.  However, at some point the podcast will introduce video. 

The name? For the Love of Millennials was a name I had for over a year. I wanted to have a YouTube with interviews to focus on regular degular successful millennials of color because there was starting to be a gap of  ‘successful”—I use quotations because success is different for everyone—people of color, from age groups to even careers/professions.  You can be successful as a technician just like you can be successful in music, or you can be successful in the arts just like someone can be successful in a professional sport.  I just wanted to reach the US that needed to hear some empathetic empowering conversation.  

You are now a single mom of three beautiful girls. How are you managing single motherhood on top of everything else you’re doing?

LOADED QUESTION. Lol. First and foremost as a solo parent you realize and understand that the well-being, welfare and security of your children rests in your lap.  SUCH a HUGE responsibility.  I remind myself daily that they chose me to be their mother, hence I say, “I get to” instead of “I have to.”  Being a mother is a choice in all actuality.  I get to be their mother doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, but what it does mean is I am owning every aspect of parenting.  

I keep a schedule in addition to keeping myself and my children in a routine.  It provides the structure and balance that we all need.  It’s not rigid as it provides flexibility for us to do other things.  One thing that’s certain is their 8:00PM bedtime.  No matter what by 8:00 they are ready for bed. And then they wake up between 6:30AM and 8:30AM it all depends.  

I make sure to schedule my life via my calendar on my phone and using the reminders.  I’m working on implementing a consistent self care routine because I do realize that’s so important.  BUT I PLAN PLAN PLAN. If my plan gets thrown off I go with it and PLAN again. 

What do you want to teach your girls or what do you want them to learn from what you’re doing?

I want my girls to understand endurance through adversity is necessary for the journey.  To understand that failure is needed to appreciate success.  To see the I’m Possible when the world says “impossible”.  To know the sun is shining, on a cloudy day and even while the night falls.  I want my daughters to learn through my actions that they are enough, whole, balanced and filled with everything they need to accomplish their wildest dreams.  I allow them to explore their creativity, their ideas and encourage the imagination.  I teach them to understand culture and diversity and to love themselves as they are magical.  All in all, I teach them that they are valuable and loved.  As a person of value people have the responsibility to treat us well just as we have the responsibility to treat others well.  

What projects, if any, are you working on now? (If you want to disclose any)

As of right now I am working on curating  spaces for healing and growth conversation.  Something like a group coaching experience.  In addition to sharing my story with others via speaking, For the Love of Millennials Podcast and my A.RichBook/aRichLife Coaching is my primary focus.    

What else do you do aside from the podcast and being a mom?

Aside from the podcast and being a mom,  I provide one-to-one and group empowerment coaching.  I find that I attract the fulfillment of my purpose on a daily basis.  

What is your ultimate goal as far as the podcast and your other projects? 

My ultimate goal for the podcast and any project that I associate with is that it empowers and inspires those targeted to receive the project’s message, and brings about change and transformation.  I want to see more people win, grow and blossom.  

Where can people find you?

People can connect with me on instagram @A.RichBook

Or visit my site arichbook.com

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?

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #9: Co-sleeping

I know from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I was going to co-sleep, no if’s, ands, or but’s about it. Due to the fact that I knew I was going to breastfeed, it only made sense.

After Boo was first born, we stayed with my mom. He did sleep in his bed that she has at her house in the beginning, however, when he stopped wanting to be swaddled, I knew that sleeping in his bed was over. My mom really pressed the fact of him sleeping in his own bed. The thing is, parenting styles have changed since I was born (30 years ago) and many Millennial moms co-sleep just like many breastfeed. It’s funny how my generation, in many ways, is reverting back to a time when my parenting style was natural.

Co-sleeping, just like breastfeeding, is a taboo subject. Many people, mainly the older generation, don’t agree with it because it causes the baby to be spoiled, attached, not wanting to go with anyone, not wanting to sleep in a baby bed, etc., which is all not true. Boo is friendly and will go to anyone. He sleeps whenever and wherever. As for the attachment part, he is very attached to me, when I am around. If he can’t smell me nearby, he’s fine.

Much if what the older generation believes is due to what their moms told them, and what their moms moms told them. It’s really just a way of controlling how a woman raises her kids and getting her to do what the woman’s mom did. Many older women feel, in my experience, slighted because of the bond is younger women have with our children due to breastfeeding, baby wearing and co-sleeping.

It’s always said that it’ll be hard to get the baby out of my bed when he gets older and I personally don’t care. He’s my baby and he can sleep with me as long as he wants. As his mother, I know what’s best for the both of us and co-sleeping is it. I love having him near me and he loves being near me. I can check to see if he’s breathing (oh how he hates being touched when he’s sleeping), and when he’s hungry, I can roll him over, pop my boob in his mouth, and when he’s done, roll him back over (he’s a tummy sleeper and burps on his own).

Co-sleeping along with breastfeeding creates this close bond between a child and their mother. The closeness is as close as they’ll get to when the child was in the womb. Many days I miss him being in my womb where he was safe and I could take him everywhere (I still can take him everywhere now but I have to carry/wear him).

Do/did you co-sleep? If so, for how long? If not, what was your reasoning?

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #8: Single Mom Friends

*Disclaimer: This post is to piggy back off of Confession #4.

I can’t stress how important it is is to have single mom friends as a single mom. I used to trip off having single friends because most of my friends are either married or in a relationship, and then there were those who had kids, so we couldn’t really relate in life. It’s funny that I’m having an easier time finding single mom friends than I did finding single friends. Strange, right?

As a single mom, hanging around married moms or moms who are in relationships is not conducive to a relationship because they don’t know your struggle. Their kids have both of their parents in the same household, they aren’t searching for a man to potentially be a stepfather, they don’t have to deal with their child’s father’s girlfriend or wife, unless they were once together and now they are with other people, they have in-house help, they are a two-income household (majority anyway). They don’t have to go through what us single moms do so how can we relate other than both being moms?

I have a group of single mom friends and I’m thankful for them. We don’t get to hangout all the time but when we do, it’s so much fun. Having play dates and chatting it up about motherhood, our kids’s father’s, dating, sex, you name it, is relaxing and makes me feel sane. Sometimes I need adult interaction. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to my baby, but he doesn’t understand a word I’m saying and vice versa.

Not having single mom friends can make single motherhood stressful and seriously boring and lonely. If you’re in Houston, well technically anywhere, follow @singleblackmotherhood on Instagram and join the Facebook group. I will be posting an interview with the founder, Kim Williams during my Boss Lady series.

Breastfeeding, mommy must haves, Vegan Mommy Things

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

EB3B05E1-62B0-4D9F-A54F-3316B4A39739

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.

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 #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.

13D1F0AC-B174-4707-9745-81B5CE762F58.png

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.

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

My Reason Why

F5C5AC54-C89B-4638-B08A-2F84F6359713.png

“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

The Amazing Female Body

image

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

Issa Gender Reveal!!!

January 13. 2018 was my gender reveal. Even though I already knew my baby was going to be a boy, my family and friends didn’t. I wasn’t excited at first about having a gender reveal, but as it came closer to the day, I got really excited. My mom did a phenomenal job and I am anxious to see what she does for the shower. I was happy that it was a small gathering and that everyone that was there was someone that I knew.

Introducing, Malakhai Lee!