Lifestyle & Blogging

Celebrating Motherhood: Month’s End

We’re at the end of Motherhood month and I am grateful for all the wonderful mothers who participated in my posts about getting pregnant, pregnancy, newborns, and toddlers. Reading their responses made me realized I know a lot of wonderful, strong, and amazing mothers. A lot of role models for me to look up to and ask questions from as I raise Jai.

I was also surprised at the emotional impact, for myself, in writing about my struggle to get pregnantJai’s birth story and my decision to extend Jai’s breastfeeding. I realized I have some unresolved concerns about the healthcare I received postpartum and I want to make other mothers-to-be aware of possible concerns or risks. Western care still has a long way to go in how it treats mothers.

Most importantly, this month reaffirmed for me the diversity in parenting styles. Everyone parents their little one differently and as long as the little one is safe, it doesn’t matter how different from my style of parenting it may be. I believe in being non-judgmental to other mothers’ approach because there may be something in their style that I hadn’t considered adding to my own.

I think it’s important to embrace other parents and listen to what lessons they might share rather than criticize what they do differently. I want to maintain this attitude and roll it over to all aspects of my life (and hopefully pass acceptance on to Jai).

I hope you all enjoyed reading these posts as much as I did writing them and that they were helpful or brought comfort in a time of need.

Happy June, everyone!


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Featured image credit: Arlene Farms Art 

 

Parenting

Extended Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a controversial topic. I will admit that I participated in the controversy before getting pregnant.

A couple of years ago, I saw a mother allow her two-year-old lift up her shirt and feed on the playground. I was appalled, not by the public feeding – I was all for normalizing breastfeeding, but at the age of the child and the perceived lack of discipline on the mother’s part. I swore I would never allow my child to breastfeed past a certain age, especially in public.

And then I started doing some research on the matter.

I will admit this before going further: I completely changed my mind on the matter and became more open to the idea of breastfeeding a child past the recommended 6-12 months and didn’t care when the feeding happened. If a child is hungry or in need of comfort and I wasn’t bothering anyone, then I will take care of my child.

My (old) Personal Hangups

I hold many Western notions closely in judgment for a lot of things, especially concepts that make me seem prudish. I blame growing up in New England. Before getting pregnant, breastfeeding was right up there.

When I saw women breastfeeding toddlers or read articles about women who extreme breastfed, I thought something Oedipal was going on, particular mothers of boys. It seemed inappropriate to be breastfeeding a child, a son no less, past a certain age where there was the potential for them to remember and cause psychological issues.

I thought that mothers were setting their children up for a lifetime of emotional stunting because breastfeeding past the age of one was massively inappropriate. I kept my thoughts to myself whenever I encountered a stranger breastfeeding, but I may have made faces and commented out of earshot to Ash or a companion.

Continue reading “Extended Breastfeeding”

black cat cuddling baby
Parenting

Breastfeeding Struggles

For today’s post, I featured a photo I took when Jai was 3 months and my favorite cat used Jai as a bed. This doesn’t make for an easy nursing session and while it’s fun to show off silly pictures of cats making nursing difficult, struggling with breastfeeding is no laughing matter.

I struggled at first and then it got better. And then I struggled again and that got better.

This was my personal experience, so what worked for Jai and myself may not work for everyone, nor will you have to deal with the same issues I did. Please take what is contained in this post as suggestions/anecdotal evidence and not as universal fact. Please speak with a professional if you have any major concerns regarding breastfeeding.

Something to Remember

Prior to giving birth, I attended a breastfeeding class, took a bunch of notes because it is hard to shut the academic off most of the time, and requested a lactation consultant (LC) once I was in the recovery room. One thing that was never mentioned in the class or in the hospital, and this may be a failing on my birthing hospital’s part, was that there are two people in the process of breastfeeding.

It was only Jai and me.

I had the intellectual or logical knowledge of what to do and he had the instinctual knowledge. Unfortunately, I brushed aside instinct in favor of logic so I asserted what I thought was best on Jai. This is to say that when the LC came into the room, she shoved my breast into Jai’s mouth and snipped at me to listen for a swallow while holding his head to the breast. I tried to copy her aggressive manner of shoving the nipple into Jai’s mouth and keeping his head close so he wouldn’t move and prayed I would hear that swallow to indicate a latch.

Needless to say,  this manner of feeding was ineffective and did not work.

Both he and I got frustrated. I was frustrated because I wasn’t feeding my child and he was frustrated because he was hungry. I began to stress about my milk not coming in, that he’d be underweight and they wouldn’t release us from the hospital, the nurses were already getting judgemental over each box of newborn formula they brought in, and my hormones were working in overdrive.

I don’t remember crying, but I do remember feeling like a failure as a mother.

But the moment I shut out the intellectual learning and trusted my son to know what to do, he latched and within days my milk eventually came in strong. We were on our way to breastfeeding.

Continue reading “Breastfeeding Struggles”

Parenting

First-Time Breastfeeding

Immediately after Jai was born, I attempted to breastfeed him. Rather, he wanted to breastfeed after they put him on my chest. Even though I was caught up in the emotions of the moment, I couldn’t help but be amazed at his tenacity and instinct.

We worked through it together and he suckled a bit while the hospital staff bustled around us doing what needed to be done in those moments.

Nursing, while it may be a natural act, didn’t come naturally for me. I remember struggling to ensure a latch, that he was getting enough milk, and concern for nipple confusion should we need to supplement.

This week I am focusing on breastfeeding, the struggle to breastfeed, and why I decided to extend breastfeeding beyond the first year despite personal health risks.

Before going further, it is important that I make the following disclosure:

Better Fed No Matter What

While I will primarily be focusing on breastfeeding this week, I do plan to discuss formula feeding, both as a sole means of feeding a child and as a supplement.

My personal philosophy on the matter: a fed baby is the best kind of feeding for the baby. Whether you solely breastfeed, supplement with formula, or solely feed formula, as long as your little one is nourished and fed that is all that matters. I pass no judgment on a mother’s decision regarding how she feeds her baby. I recognize that some mothers aren’t able to breastfeed due to reasons beyond her control.

These posts are meant to be informational, though they are more anecdotal in nature based on my personal experience. I will be discussing the concerns I had early on about feeding and what information I found on the matter and why I arrived at the decisions I did. That being said, while I was able to make the choice to breastfeed and it worked out, I know that not every woman arrives at the same decision I did (or can).

These posts will try to reflect that as much as possible and provide a balanced view on feeding when possible.

Continue reading “First-Time Breastfeeding”

Parenting

Celebrating Motherhood

In the United States, during the month of May, we take a day to celebrate mothers. All the work they do, all the care they provide: it’s a chance for children to celebrate and thank their mothers in a special way.

Because motherhood is the third-prong of MS//Mommy’s mission, next to healthy living and living with MS, I wanted to spend the month talking about mothers and some of the aspects that go into motherhood.

I am hoping to make this a theme for every May, so to kick off my first year, I am focusing on some concepts near and dear to my heart: the beginning stages of motherhood and all I have learned about it. In subsequent years I hope to examine other aspects of motherhood in greater detail that may be missed or overlooked this year.

So what is this month going to look like?

What to Expect for the Month of May

Be on the lookout for posts that range from trying to conceive to the trimesters; from giving birth to breastfeeding. I am sticking with what I am familiar with this year and some of these posts will address motherhood and MS as well.

I am super excited that several posts will be featuring stories and advice from other mothers with the information they wish they knew before getting pregnant, having a newborn, and raising a toddler. I found that as I went through each stage there was a gap in my knowledge and a lack of awareness of that gap. I wanted to compile recommendations to provide for other mothers who might be in a similar situation.

What I will be striving to do throughout the month: presenting a non-judgmental look at motherhood. Everyone approaches motherhood differently and what might work for one person may not work (or seem off) to another. Unless there is a clear and present danger for the child, there really isn’t a wrong way to approach motherhood, rather it may be considered unorthodox. With that in mind, throughout the month I will be encouraging constructive discussion surrounding motherhood.

This will be a month filled with personal stories, recommendations, and taking the time to appreciate our mothers and all they’ve done for us. So let’s take the rest of May and celebrate motherhood!


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