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

After Work Checklist

1. Pick up Khai.

2. Nurse Khai.

3. Take him home.

4. Unload everything in the wagon and bring him in the carrier.

5. Spend time with Khai (watch his fave shows, play with toys, read a bedtime story.)

6. Bathe Khai.

7. Nurse Khai to sleep.

8. Change Vick’s pad in humidifier.

9. Shower.

10. Sterilize breast pump parts and then repack in work breast pump bag.

11. Layout clothes for tomorrow.

12. Clean kitchen.

13. Clean up bedroom.

14. Eat dinner.

15. Me time (journal, yoga, read, drink tea or golden milk, budget planner, catch up on YouTube videos, watch a show on the fire stick,  meditate)

16. Say a prayer over Khai, then myself.

17. Tie hair up, wash face, brush teeth.

18. Turnoff all lights.

19. Recheck everything is ready for in the morning and turn alarm on.

20. Go to bed.

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

Bedtime with Khai

Each night, I make it my mission to ensure Khai gets an excellent night’s slumber. I give him a bath in his new tub. He’s in a big boy tub now (cue the water works). I bathe him, wash his hair, let the water out and then fill it with clean water up to his waist. I let him play with his toys and I stand back and admire how much he has grown in the past six months.

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When we’re all done, I pat him dry. His hair is so curly and silky, that I have to make sure it stays healthy, as well as his scalp. I use either mineral oil or grapeseed oil in his hair. I rake it through with my fingers and then comb small sections at a time. Next, I lotion him up and put his footie pjs on. He either sleeps in a silk bonnet or one of his hats so his pores can close.

 

Now is my favorite part: bedtime stories. He loves for me to read to him, especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I think he likes all of the colors and my animated voices.

By story’s end, he’s sleepy. I lay him down to nurse until he falls asleep. Once he’s sound asleep, it’s me time. I tend to clean up from his bath time and clean whatever else I need to. I also spend this time writing and scheduling blogs, journaling, meditating, taking long baths, or reading. Bedtime for Khai is usually around 7 o’clock, so I start getting him ready for a bath around 6 or 6:30. During the time from when I get off work until bath time, we are playing, watching Puppy Dog Pals, or singing.

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What is your night time routine with your little one(s)?

xoxo Moniqua LaShae and Malakhai Lee

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?

Vegan Mommy Things

No Days Off

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Today was a student holiday so the kids didn’t have to go to school. Today was supposed to be a PD day however, we too got the day off. And low and behold, yours truly gets sick. Not sure if it’s due to allergies, getting wet in the rain and then entering into the cold of my apartment and not changing clothes immediately. Who knows? All I know is I keep sneezing, I had a sore throat (it’s gone now), and I’ve been blowing my brains out (I wonder if you can pop a blood vessel from blowing your nose too hard).

Even though I had today off from work, I didn’t have today off from being a mother. As a parent, there are no days off, even if your kids are with relatives. You still worry if they’re  okay and anxiously waiting to be reunited. I knew this is true for me.

It’s hard being sick and having a four month old who still needs you to take care of them. My son wants to play with me and laugh and have fun, and all I want to do is sleep. However, I had to push through. Sure I could’ve dropped him off at my parents, but they keep him everyday while I’m at work. I know they need a break too (though they’ll never admit it).

Along side of needing to take care of my son, I had to do laundry, meal prep, speak with the people to get my Child Safety Kit, sign up for life insurance and re-enroll for health insurance. Today has been quite busy, as have been the last two days.

All in all, I perservered through the day and now it’s finally time to go to sleep. I’m hopping this ginger tea and the humidifier will knock whatever this is out.

Fun fact: when a breastfeeding mother is sick, she should still nurse her child. The antibodies that are fighting her illness will pass to the child through her milk to build up their immune system and antibodies.

How do you handle being sick and being a mother/parent?

My Life

Hello September…

It’s September and I couldn’t be more excited. My birthday is right around the corner. I’m still in the works of planning my bday but I think I’m going to book a local air bnb. Of course Malakhai will be with me. Can’t leave him out of my festivities.

I’ve finally accepted that I have some form of PPD and I have been talking to someone about it. I’ve been ignoring it and trying to make myself believe it was something else but it’s PPD and apparently, you can get it even when your child is an adult. Imagine that.

Last week I wrapped up my Boss Lady series and if you haven’t checked it out, click here. I will be beginning a new series either next month or in November, but I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.

I finished my first week of school (I’m a teacher) and I’m about to start the second week. Funny we have a three day weekend for Labor Day and next weekend will be another three day weekend. I’m wondering who I need to convince to make school four days a week instead of five because that extra day on the weekend is necessary.

Busgeting has been rough, especially for the month of August. I did not stick to the budget and went over in every category. However, I won’t dwell on the past. It’s a new month and that means I can start anew and try again. I’ve learned that with budgeting, it takes time. I can’t continue to beat myself up over the mistakes or going over in one or all categories. Also, I get my first check since coming off of my temporary leave of absence, tomorrow. So I’ll be setting up my budget based on that check for the next two weeks.

I’m renewing my lease in my apartment because I’ve decided it’s best I pay off my student loans before investing in a house. I also need to pay off that emergency personal loan I got over the summer to float me until I got paid. My budget was going so well and I budgeted from when I went on leave, up until now. Not sure where I went wrong, but I did mess up somewhere.

I’ve been making some goals that I want to seriously work towards, one being to pay off my student loans before 2021. It’s definitely feasible, but I need another side hustle, preferably one that brings in an extra $1,000 per month.

Malakhai is starting to try to roll over. He has the gist of it, he just needs to follow through. He’s getting so big now and it’s going faster than I’m ready for. He is definitely a mama’s boy.

Some of my goals for this month are:

• stick to the budget

• cut eating out to maybe 4 times this month

• meal plan every single week

• only but groceries that I’ll be eating that week

• limit my time on social media

• take Khai out more

• make a conscious effort to post at least two blog posts a week (this may be doable)

• be consistent with financial Friday’s and my money FB group

• make a schedule to post videos for IGTV

• workout (I’ve lost all motivation to lose this baby weight)

• go out at least two times to meet ups or take myself out

• better prepare my lessons each week and have materials ready for the week

• get better organized

I know this is a long list, but I do need to get better about a lot of these things.

What are some of your goals for September?

Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Black Breastfeeding Week

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

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

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

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

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

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Vegan Mommy Things

Back to work…

Today was my first day back to work and I thought it would be a disaster since I’d be leaving Khai for longer than I ever have before. I expected tears, withdrawals, constant fidgeting and lack of focus. I experienced all of that minus the tears.

Luckily, I’m still decorating my classroom so my mom brought him up there. I got to play with him and my coworkers got to see him. It was perfect. Now tomorrow on the other hand will be a different story since my mom is not coming.

I did end up pumping two full bottles because I missed him so much and thought about him constantly. I thought it would be hard to pump but I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

I think I’m going to survive this year. For my mamas who went back to work after having your first child, what was your experience like?

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 #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)

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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.

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #7: I Could Never Love Another

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More so I don’t want to love another. As much as I love my son, I don’t think I could ever love another child like a love him and I don’t want to. He is my entire heart and my entire world. Honestly, having another child is just out of the question and I know women have multiple children all the time. But I always wonder if moms who have multiple children, love them all the same. I’ve heard some moms favor a certain child over the other(s), and I don’t want to end up doing that. I feel like I would love Malakhai more since he’s my first born.

So I’m wondering, for the mamas reading this who have multiple children, did you find yourself loving or favoring one child over the other(s)? If not, is your love the same for all of them?

For moms of only one child, can you see yourself being able to love another child like that one? Do you plan to have more children?

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?

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 #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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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

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.