Tag: motherhood

3 Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother & Other Breastfeeding Resources

Family Inspiration Motherhood

3 Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother & Other Breastfeeding Resources

Breastfeeding, like parenting, unexpectedly altered everything about me. I found it an avenue to dive into the topics of food, health, well being, parenting and attachment and an opportunity to connect with like-minded people on a topic that has endless opportunities to learn about myself, my growing baby and my body.

My breastfeeding journey with each of my children was unique, but had many similarities. I found much support and direction from a group of smart, supportive women in my community (La Leche League of Montgomery County East). I also pulled from a variety of resources to collect tools and emotional support along a journey that shifted my view and reframed my perspective on mothering through breastfeeding.

My shadow at Wilder Park (outside Chicago), the birthplace of La Leche League. I had to find my way there and it was worth it.

 

Perhaps you are the partner of a breastfeeding mother or the grandparent of a breastfed baby and you find yourself in unusual territory. Here are 3 ways to show your support for the woman you love:

  1. Go get a glass of water and set it in front of a breastfeeding mother.

    Don’t ask if they want it, they NEED it and it will be much appreciated. There were many times when I’d sit down to nurse and the second Brady or Meadow latched on, an overwhelming sense of thirst took over me. A friend once suggested creating “water stations” around the house and just leaving water bottles where you frequently nursed. That is such good advice!

  2. Show interest in hunger cues and encourage feeding.

    There are signs that a newborn gives when they are hungry. Here’s a handy tool to interpret them. Learning to notice them is like having a conversation with the little baby in your life without words.

    I often felt worried that I was feeding my son too often. Once I realized how easily and efficiently breastmilk is digested, I understood that he wasn’t being a bugger when he was hungry just 30 minutes after a feeding, but that his body had efficiently processed his milk and was ready for some more! Our first pediatrician warned me not to be the pacifier and further warned against nursing for comfort. I was perplexed by that because I felt that was my job and the beauty in breastfeeding – I was providing food and drink along with comfort and security. I could not love this essay more – on the beauty of being a human pacifier.

  3. Provide a pillow and reading material. 

    It’s the little things, but these make a HUGE difference!

Because I had so many supportive mothers who had been where I was to help me on my breastfeeding journey, I choose to offer the same support in return serving as a La Leche League Leader for 2+ years. No matter if your goal is one week or 5 years, you may have many questions – from technical to emotional – and hopefully some of these resources at the bottom may offer guidance.

Resources

  • The most helpful book I found was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. You can buy it through the local LLL group I mentioned above for $10.
  • Infant Risk Center – If you are taking a medication, say getting a cavity filled, or whatever, call them and they will talk to you about the latest research on whether or not to nurse the baby and how soon. I called multiple times and spoke to a real human.
  • United States Breastfeeding Committee – Leadership, advocacy and collaboration resource.
  • Embarrassed: Spoken Word by Holly McNish – a beautiful spoken word piece of her experience breastfeeding in public. It gives me chills every time.

And if you are passionate about supporting breastfeeding mothers – support them! Much of the research states that the community around a nursing mother is one of the most important tools to help her meet her personal goals.

Go to local meetings of whatever group makes sense to you and volunteer or host a gathering. La Leche League has annual local conferences that I attended and even co-led a session and those were very fulfilling and exciting learning opportunities.

Happy Breastfeeding!

xo,

Marjorie Sarah

 

Top Photo Credit: Pixabay 

 

A September Like No Other

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

A September Like No Other

Holy smokes, what an emotional roller coaster.
Just left Meadow’s preschool meeting – she starts tomorrow.
Don’t be alarmed if she doesn’t speak to you, I say.
Last week my little man marched off to kindergarten.
The excitement, the fears, the new world opens; it suddenly appears.

Time has switched all up on me.
No morning quiet, where is my meditation?
Packing lunch, walking to the bus, breakfast chats.
Days are choppy, different, busy, slow, busy, slow.
I hurry then wait, then hurry, then I wait.

I love preparing the lunch containers, the meals.
I love after school chats and getting the scoop on all that went down that day.
There’s so much joy to be found in the small things like these.

I see the road next to school and as I drive along I realize this: for the next eight years I will be parking, waiting and looping around there for the elementary school pickup.
And I love it. This job of being the mom, the container to both hold it all and serve as a launch pad is again a paradox.
The beauty and the letting go all tangled up.
They are ours but not to keep, just to snuggle & let soar.

Happy September,

xo, Marjorie Sarah

 

 

Photo by Marko Blažević on Unsplash

Why I’m Growing A Handmade Business While Nurturing Growing Children

Inspiration

Why I’m Growing A Handmade Business While Nurturing Growing Children

I thrive on connection, it sustains me more than food and water. In the early days of parenting and being a stay-at-home mother I sought out heartfelt stories of  mothering – stories of the mama bear love along with the real challenges I was facing.

When I had challenges meeting the demands of midnight nursing and pumping at work, I binge read support articles from La Leche Leauge.

When I had a break down because 9-5 and parenting did not mix well for me, I found authors and bloggers who had been where I was and read their words.

When I feared my second birth would be late and a possible induction loomed, I googled success stories of natural births that started with induction. There were many and I was able to visualize the birth I’d been planning for.

So here I am, faced with another challenge of trying to grow a small, handmade business while nurturing a growing family. Every time I find out a business owner is a mother, I immediately hope they’ve written a post on EXACTLY. WHAT. TO. DO. Then I exhale, and remember my favorite life lesson: that you already have all the answers buried within you. Trust yourself, Marjorie Sarah. 

I’ve yet to find that post and, well, nothing is ever that neat and tidy anyway, right?

It’s time again to set the intention on perseverance and give my attention to those that lift me up, then float with the energy.

My struggle is that everything is everywhere. Every thought and everything is tucked into various corners of my living space and I’m just trying to scoop them all together into a pile so I can make something of it.

I have a new goal that I established with my healthcare coach: to journal as a tool to work toward acceptance of everyday chaos. I get a $100 incentive if I reach two goals. Why not???

We are all busy, we are all crazed. At least that’s what it feels like and that’s what most people seem to be telling me. But this chapter of my life where I’m home with two young kids and a diabetic dog, has me feeling exceptionally spread thin.  It also has given me the gift of perspective. I’m able to see my reactions and patterns that appear over and over again. I used to think certain things were hard because of my job at that particular point in time. Oh crap, I see now, that it was me. I have the same reactions to completely different problems. I’m once again in complete overwhelm – it’s not because I’m a college senior or an administrative assistant or a memeberhsip manager or a paralegal anymore. It’s because I get overwhelmed easily. Oh, well now we have that one squared away.

As my latest read in book club has showed me, this path is winding and just when it gets hardest and you want to fold, endure and proceed. This is me doing just that. I keep thinking I should fold up this business. I love every second of it, but if I’m home with my kids (which I also love), why not just be home with my kids? Don’t add a whole bunch of crazy by making tons of awesome soap and lip balm. : ) I can barely get the laundry folded – why take on a business?

Because I love it. That’s what I keep coming back to. No one said it would be easy.

I will continue to make and craft amid the noise, the mess and the chaos. #makersgonnamake

I hope another maker mother finds this article and feels connected to someone on a similar path.

Namaste,

Marjorie Sarah

 

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

Transformation in Progress

Creating Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Spiritual Exploration

Transformation in Progress

Tomorrow is the big day. The day I register my baby for kindergarten. So many emotions.

When Brady was born, I shifted everything, as we parents do, and I shed all the skins that I wore and all the roles I thought I “should” be. A transformation that has shook me to my core. One that I thought was complete several times over, but I’m coming to find is a marathon journey that I am still on.

I’d love to carry a sign or wear a name tag that reads: Transformation in Progress. Wouldn’t you? Aren’t we all transforming every minute?

Now my days of caring for a precious baby are spent caring for a growing child and toddler. Soon those days will grow longer as Brady spends his days in a school desk and I’ll find a slower day with just me and little Meadow. Then she will slowly peel away for preschool – our first real separation. Ever. Much more on that in the coming years.

I’ve shed all those skins and roles since transitioning to motherhood and now I’m left with who I know I’m called to be. The real work of continuing to show up now that all the masks are removed lies ahead. I intend to follow my heart, my true creative nature to learn and share and create. It’s exciting yet unknown.

Where’s the Quiet?

Creating Family Motherhood

Where’s the Quiet?

It’s 6:20 am on Saturday, I’ve already done a morning meditation and started drinking my coffee. Normally I LOVE to devour books at this time of the morning but I’m committed to this blog and really need to set some more pieces of it up. So I open my laptop and start logging in. I start thinking. The gears are turning. I work on a quick post idea draft in 5 minutes. My brain is on already.

Then it happens. THE KIDS ARE UP. Crap. How are they up already? How do they never sleep? How is this possible? Good for everyone I’m feeling balanced today, otherwise this occurrence may send me into an anxious place that can last the whole day.

Sean and I have a deal. He can have from 5:30-8:30 am uninterrupted so I can leave for yoga at 8:30 am. It’s my turn to get the kids. I run upstairs with the sips of coffee I have left and find the cutest kids in the universe standing at the door of a pitch black room on the verge of freak out. They are half-awake and confused and starting to scream. We all snuggle back into bed. My thoughts are with my computer. I try to shut that down and be grateful for the 1/2 hour of uninterrupted time that I really enjoyed already today.

I’ll give it 15 minutes. If they don’t fall back to sleep, we’ll all start our day together. It doesn’t work. They are AWAKE. We start singing silly songs and make our decent downstairs.

There is no guarantee to time around here. Ever. It’s so hard to accept sometimes. I cannot think or focus unless there is quiet. I can’t work on blog stuff, make soap or pay bills when the kids are talking to me. Can anyone? Instead of wishing I had more time, I try to accept this maddening opportunity to be present yet again.

It’s gonna be a great day!

If You’d Asked Me Then

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood

If You’d Asked Me Then

If you’d asked me then

Way back when

What motherhood might hold

My younger self may have told

Stories of hopes and dreams

And what I thought it might mean

To care for a small child.

A little fun, a little wild.

If you’d asked me then

I’d never have known

About a love so deep

A heart to keep

Lessons that drive me mad

Feelings I didn’t even know I had

How it all comes rushing past

A love so strong, so fast.

If you’d asked me then

I’d be shocked at the grounding we felt through breastfeeding

A conversation with no words,

We found deep meaning.

A lesson in converting food into energy

A lesson in letting go, letting be.

If you’d asked me then

What this magical piece of the universe that we named Brady might become

I may have guessed some dreamy profession just for fun.

But if you ask me now what this child will “be”

I’ll tell you the truth:

He is the architect of the authentic me.

 

Family Inspiration

Painfully Beautiful

So hard to concentrate or focus

Tempertantrums, tempertantrums, screaming

Sooooooo annoying.

So many books I want to read

Whenever I’m regulated, someone else is freaking out in my face, in my space.

Whenever I’m disregulated, I can’t see straight.

So much I want to do, learn

So much love in my heart

So much wanting people to be happy

But seeing so much unhappiness.

Tapping into the mystery

Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Tapping into the mystery

Here I find myself in a cafe at the Himalayan Institute tucked in Pennsylvania mountains. I’ve never been away form my children for more than one night at a time and the separation is bittersweet. Having the privilege of mothering them 24/7 blurs the lines at times of where I end and they begin.

As I inch away, I find quiet space to fill but joy in my belly knowing they will be there awaiting my return tomorrow.

I used to use my free time watching tv and drinking way too much alcohol. Last night I used it to go to a camp fire after evening yoga practice and today I spent my precious time attending an early morning group meditation followed by a breathtaking yoga hike with some truly amazing people. Things are different now.

I have no great wisdom to share and no breakthrough insights to reveal but I feel deeper in love with myself, my husband & best friend, and with my children, my greatest teachers. I feel closer to the women with whom I’ve been chatting and laughing and downward dogging. I feel lighter. I feel grounded. That was my goal and I didn’t even realize it.