Breastfeeding, Pregnancy and Housework OH MY! My SAHM Update

SAHM
I’ve had the privilege of staying at home with my girls full time for the last four months. While life has been busy, it truly has been rewarding and lots of fun. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to have my family and home be my main focus and responsibility. Many people believe the myth that being a SAHM means you get to lounge around all day, talk on the phone and eat snacks; where anyone would get such a ridiculous idea I have no clue!! For me being a SAHM means serving my husband and my children and taking care of home full time without the responsibility of full time outside work. Being a SAHM is work that I LOVE and ADORE doing most of the time but don’t get it twisted, it IS WORK.

Our girls are 2 1/2 and 8 months and it’s so cool to watch them grow and learn new things right before my eyes. Of course there is the constant challenge of learning to balance time with my husband, playing, teaching and disciplining the girls and getting things done around the house. Some days the laundry or the dishes don’t get done and I have to learn to be okay with that.

MOM

To ensure that I get rest and stay sane, I wake my girls up early so that they can be tired at a decent time for a nap and have an early bed time. There’s lots of cooking, cleaning, bathing, playing, disciplining, teaching, cuddling, bathing, tickling, reading and arts and crafts going on throughout the day. I start my day running and by the end of some days I haven’t eaten much, my hair never left my scarf and my body is aching but I go to bed still grateful for the chance to be at home and not in the work force.

BOY

Last November, my husband and I were surprised and overjoyed to find out that we were expecting another baby. Our youngest daughter was four months at that time. In the midst of my shock and mixed emotions, my awesome husband was happy and very encouraging. My husband reminded me that God was with us, we were a great team and everything would be fine. Now I am almost five months pregnant and everything with baby and I has been great. This week we found out that we’re expecting a baby boy!! We’re over the moon excited to welcome our son into our family this July.

To many people’s surprise, Elaina and I still have a great nursing relationship. It IS possible to nurse while pregnant. For me, nursing while pregnant hasn’t been any different from when I nursed my oldest daughter Elyssa. Many people, including one doctor, told that me that my milk would dry up soon after pregnancy and Elaina would refuse my milk but so far neither of those things have happened thank God. I believe that God will give me peace about when to wean her. My prayer is that she and I will both be okay with weaning when the time comes and it will be a smooth transition before our son is born.

The everyday challenges of being a SAHM plus being pregnant, nursing a baby and chasing a toddler makes for some very interesting, tiring days. But I most say that it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be and I give all glory to God for that. God continues to give me the grace, energy, joy and wisdom needed to care for the girls and stay rested and healthy for myself and my son. The days that I have energy I pick different projects to do like cooking multiple meals, clean the house, do laundry etc, and the days that I don’t have energy, I care for the girls and make sure we’re all feed and safe lol. My husband is a great cook and has lots of patience so when I’m tired and short tempered, he steps in, cooks and cares for the girls while I rest. It’s a HUGE blessing to have a spouse who is helpful and selfless with a kind heart. I love you Eddie Willis III and I thank God for you!!!!!

As moms we go through different seasons in life, sometimes we work inside the home and sometimes we work outside the home; there isn’t a right or a wrong regarding this in my opinion. Being a SAHM is not for everyone and I would never say that all women should stay home with their children. Being at home full time requires a certain amount of grace and patience that I believe only God can give and it’s not for everyone! I have my Masters in Counseling and I know that my career days are not over. I love counseling others, helping them overcome obstacles and reach their goals. Let me just say that I loved my job. I was a Social Worker for nine years and I believed in the work that we did to help our community. The last year that I was working, I felt that the time was drawing near for me to close that chapter of my life for a period and start a new one. Now instead of heading to meetings and conducting sessions with families, I’m watching the clock to keep my girls on their schedule, helping them grow, learn and conducting playdates and I LOVE IT!

I’m finding that I have more time and energy for my husband which is awesome. On his off days, we spend time together with our children and without them. As I mentioned earlier, my hubby is a hands on husband and dad and he makes sure he helps around the house and with the girls. (He’s always fixing something to save us money. It pays to have a husband whose good with his hands!) He also pushes me to go out and take some “me time” or hang out with my girlfriends often. As you can imagine with me not having to deal with the stress and politics that come with working outside the home and him helping around the house, things have been pretty hott in the bedroom!!! That’s evident by our current bun in the oven! We’re a young happily married couple and we make time to enjoy one another! We’re determined not to get caught up in work and children and never take time to talk, laugh or love on one another. I desire him and he desires me. Team Willis all the way baby!!

I love photography and this past December I started my own business called J. Victoria Photography. I’ve worked with some amazing people and children and I’m having lots of fun! I’m still developing my skill and learning the business but I’m enjoying the process! I created a studio inside my home so I get to work from home doing a few sessions a week and it’s something I love doing so that’s really cool! I want my clients to have a great experience and receive good quality pictures at an affordable price. I’d love for my readers to “like” my J. Victoria Photography Facebook page and if you’re in Michigan, message me about our promotions and packages, please visit https://www.facebook.com/Jvictoriaphotography

If you’re a stay at home mom please be encouraged. I know some days you may not feel appreciated, hubby may not say thank you and the children may behave like wild animals, but tomorrow will be better. We must continue to seek our Heavenly Father and thank Him for providing us the chance to be home for this season and ask Him to continue to equipt us with everything we need while we are in it. Remember, you ARE a great mom and you ARE doing an awesome job!!!

11 Month Mommy & Big Girl Update

Today (3/1) at 11:55am, our little lady will be 11 months! For the past 7 weeks straight she has been sleeping through the night peacefully!! The doc gave me a lecture about getting her on a sleep schedule, putting her to bed earlier and not continually going in her room at night. I was nervous but I took the doc’s tips (which my husband had been trying to convince me of also) and it worked!! Now Elyssa sleeps from 9:30pm-7:30 am every night! She nurses at 7:30 am and goes back to sleep for an hour or two. We’re still working on the daily naps, she usually just takes cat naps but because she sleeps so well at night, we’re not complaining!
Sunday we noticed she has her fourth tooth coming in! It’s her first top tooth and it’s already broke through. She’s handling teething very well. She likes to take off her bibs and chew them and sometimes when we’re not looking, she tries to take a bite out of us! We gently tell her no and she just smiles and finds something else to relieve her gums.
 
I’m still breastfeeding and loving it. Now when I get home from work, Elyssa doesn’t want hugs or kisses, she wants her milk and she’s not playing! After she nurses she gives me smiles and starts telling me about her day in her special baby talk language. Even though Elyssa has teeth, she rarely bites me. 99% of the time she is gentle and when she starts being silly and tries to bite or play with my nipple, I pull her away and say no. If I put her to me again and she does it, then we take a break. Most of the time, she’s so ready for her milk that she doesn’t bite or play.
 
I continue to make her baby food in the blender with the breast milk. We purchased a portable high chair and she loves it! It’s her big girl seat and she enjoys eating with us up high. Currently I have 100 oz of frozen milk and I continue to pump twice a day a work. Daily I confess over my body that it will produce milk for Elyssa as long as she and I need it to. I won’t allow others to pressure me into stopping nursing when she turns one. Of course everyone has a opinion but my decision to nurse or not is not up for community vote. My husband and I agree that I will continue to nurse and do what’s best for Elyssa and I.
Elyssa is enjoying learning how to drink from her sippy cup. Some days she likes to hold it and chew on the nipple but I’ve seen her lift it up correctly and actually drink without our assistance. That was an exciting moment, esp since she never took to bottles or the pacifier well. 
Elyssa started walking in January when she was 9 months. She’s walking like a pro now and even trying to run. She has lots of confidence and walking and discovering things brings her such joy. She has escaped from her barricaded play area a few times, which was surprising, scary and funny all at the same time. I left her in her fortress (that’s what we call her play area) and I looked up and she was standing in the bathroom with me! This occurred one hour after I put on her new walking shoes. I say those shoes gave her some baby power because she’s been a walking, running, escape artist ever since! We have a gate up and she has to be in her pack in play, activity chair or booster seat if we have to step out of the room for a second. She enjoys following us around the house like a little duckling, just walking, clapping and laughing. She’s a happy, peace and smart baby girl. Thank you Jesus for blessing our family with such a amazing child. She has brought us all so much joy! I will write a post about her 1st birthday party. The special party plans are underway! 

9 Reasons Why I Love Nursing My 9 Month Old

While nursing can sometimes have it’s challenges, it’s been an awesome joy and experience for my daughter and I. I wanted to share why nursing is great for us and I also hope to promote breastfeeding and dispel a few myths! Enjoy the list and feel free to post why you enjoy nursing. This pic is of me nursing my daughter at a park when she was 6 months old.

I Love Nursing Because:

1. It’s a wonderful way for Elyssa and I to bond. She likes to hold my fingers and gaze into my eyes while nursing. She enjoys cuddling up close to me and nursing till she’s satisfied.

2. The breast milk I produce is the perfect nutrients to keep her healthy, strong and developing on target. Breast milk also protects my baby girl from many illnesses and future health issues, therefore it’s worth the minor challenges I encountered in the beginning.

3. It’s super convenient and easy once she and I got the hang of it. I’ve never had to prepare bottles in the middle of the night or get frustrated when I run out the house and forget her diaper bag. I can just find a nice comfy spot and nurse her. My body provides her with everything that she needs. Now, latching is like second nature to her; she doesn’t need my help at all.

4. I’m able to educate those around me about the benefits and joys of breastfeeding. I’ve been blessed to have an awesome breastfeeding experience and to learn a lot along the way. I love posting about nursing on my Facebook status, having discussions with others online, at work, church and family events. Many moms and moms to be have sought me out to process their concerns and challenges about nursing and I’ve been able to help, encourage and give them resources. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to help another mom breastfeed successfully.

5. Nursing has helped me to lose 60 pounds! I lost the 30 that I gained during my pregnancy soon after birth and since then I’ve lost an additional 30 pounds. This week my coworker complimented me on my weight loss and asked me how I did it. When I told her that all I’ve been doing is nursing and Elyssa AND I have benefited greatly from it, she was very surprised and said she never knew that weight loss was a benefit of nursing.

6. Nursing has helped us to save lots and lots of money! Breast milk is what’s best for babies and it’s FREE!! Between breast milk helping babies to remain healthy, it being free and helps with weight loss, I’m not sure why more women don’t nurse. Trust me, nursing is worth the initial challenges as mom and baby learn the techniques. Don’t believe that nursing is very hard, that it hurts and is too time consuming. Everyone’s experience is different but my experience has been easy and rewarding.

7. I use my breast milk to make baby food. Elyssa’s pediatrician gave me the great idea of using my breast milk when making her food due to me having a big milk supply. Making her baby food has been lots of fun and very easy. Also making her food helps us to control what goes in her body and saves us money. I can spend $2 on 2 jars of baby food or I can take $2 and buy a few fresh veggies and prepare a few trays of pureed food.

8. I can donate my breast milk to help other moms and babies in need. I’ve donated 405 oz of milk so far and I plan to donate more in the future. I’ve been blessed to have a high milk supply and Elyssa never took well to bottles so the milk that I pump at work each day starts to pile up. I hooked up with the Human Milk For Human Babies Facebook page and located the Michigan page. I went to the page and let the moms know that I had milk to donate and I hooked up with 5 moms over a 2 month period to donate the 405 oz. It was an amazing feeling to be able to bless those families!

9. It brings my daughter so much joy. When I come home from work each day, Elyssa is smiling and reaching for me because she’s ready to nurse. In the middle of nursing, she stops, looks me in the eyes and gives me the BIGGEST smile! Sometimes she even babbles a few sounds as if she’s saying, thank you mommy, I love you. Those moments make me feel wonderful and reminds me why I nurse.

Bottome line, breast is best! I hope this blog post has helped you and answered some of your questions or concerns about breastfeeding. Feel free to email me questions at http://www.joanna.willis@hotmail.com

Helpful FB breastfeeding pages

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Breast-Feeding-Mommys/116929728388525

https://www.facebook.com/#!/BreastfeedingMothersUnite

https://www.facebook.com/#!/BlacktatingBlog

https://www.facebook.com/#!/hm4hb

Benefits & Myths of Breastfeeding, What Every Sista Should Know

Black women’s health.com posted a very informative article about the benefits of breastfeeding. The post also addresses some of the myths about breastfeeding.  I found the article to be very informative and I wanted to share it with my readers. It’s completely ok if a woman decides not to breastfeed her baby but I believe that she should make an informed decision before deciding not to do so. In many cases, women don’t breastfeed because of lack of knowledge and support. Please read this post and know that breastfeeding is beautiful, natural and beneficial to mommy and baby. I posted the link below so that you can read the article in full and also review their website.

Breastfeeding Has Many Benefits

Says breastfeeding mother of three sons, Karen Harris, “my children are a lot healthier than their playmates and I know that’s because of the nursing.” Breastfed babies tend to have fewer cases of Chiron’s disease, ear infections, diarrhea, meningitis, tooth decay and childhood diabetes. Studies show that breast milk is important in developing the facial structure, oral make-up and brain growth of babies. Premature infants who are breastfed tend to have a higher IQ than premature babies who are fed infant formula. In addition to the nutritional benefits of breast milk, there is an added emotional benefit as well. Eye and skin contact maintained while nursing gives babies the same sense of security felt in the womb, creating a loving transition into their new world.

Breastfeeding has important societal benefits too. Namely, breast milk is very cost-effective. One of its biggest conveniences is that it is absolutely free. Study after study has shown that if more infants were breastfed, millions of government and HMO dollars would be saved each year. Formula fed infants average $200 more a year in medical expenses than breastfed infants. If an additional one million babies a year were fed breast milk instead of formula, the U.S. could save over a billion dollars in healthcare costs. Imagine the money saved by families whose children are breastfed. Parents spend hundreds of dollars a year buying formula, money that could be put into a college or trust fund. Breastfeeding mothers have fewer cases of being absent from work due to child related illness, which saves companies money in healthcare costs as well.

Dispelling The Myths About Breastfeeding

Myth 1: Breastfeeding is too painful:

While there may be some initial pain as mother and infant get used to the process of breastfeeding, after a week or two, if mother is nursing properly, there should be little if any pain resulting from breastfeeding. Often, women experience pain because the baby is not latched on properly.

Myth 2: Breastfeeding will make the baby too dependent on its mother:

Babies who breastfeed are no more dependant on their mothers than any other baby. They do, however, enjoy the added closeness and security felt only through breastfeeding. In fact, breastfed babies tend to be independent and social.

Myth 3: Breastfeeding is unclean:

Breast milk is very sanitary and is the most perfectly balanced form of nourishment for babies. Moreover, its composition changes with the nutritional needs of infants and toddlers, something that does not occur with formula. Many pediatricians agree that as long as a child is receiving calcium from some source, cow’s milk is not an absolute necessity.

Myth 4: Breastfeeding is not possible for a woman with small breasts:

The size of a woman’s breasts have nothing to do with her ability to produce milk. Breast milk is produced by stimulation of the nipples from infant suckling, regardless of breast size.

Myth 5: Breastfeeding is too time consuming:

Women who nurse agree that breastfeeding is much more timesaving than consuming. There are no formulas to mix, nor any bottles to sanitize, clean and heat. Breast milk is always ready, the right temperature and the perfect amount the baby needs at any given moment. Mothers don’t even have to leave the bed for those nighttime feedings.

Myth 6: Breastfeeding has to stop when a woman returns to work:

Many women enjoy the continued benefits of breastfeeding after they return to work. They can purchase or rent quality breast pumps to pump their milk during the workday. Expressed breast milk can be stored in a refrigerator or cooler (and for months in a freezer) for baby while mom is working. An added benefit of continued breastfeeding upon return to the workplace is that mother and baby have a special bonding time at the beginning and especially at the end of the day.

Kathi Barber, CLEC and Jenise Fonville-Noels, CLEC

 http://www.blackwomenshealth.com/2006/articles.php?id=1

Nursing, Burping and Pumping OH MY! Diary of a Breastfeeding Mommy

My daughter just turned 12 weeks and she and I are still learning and enjoying the breastfeeding process. I returned to work when she was 10 weeks old, therefore I’m pumping twice a day at work and she is being bottle fed during the day. When I get home around 4-5:30 pm she smiles and cooes and starts pulling on my shirt and it makes me feel so special. My baby girl wants something that only I can give her; nursing is our special bonding time and it’s good for both of us.

I know that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone but for m baby and I, it was the right decision. Some of the pros of breastfeeding: it’s good for the baby and helps to reduce a baby’s chances of developing diabetes, obesity, ear infections and respiratory illness and many other illness. Breastfeeding is free, it helps with the mother’s weight loss, it’s convenient (you don’t have to carry or prepare bottles) and it’s great for the mother child bond.

When Elyssa was born, I didn’t get her to successfully latch until several hours after her arrival. I was determined not to give up and I didn’t want to give her formula unless it was absolutely necessary. I had lots of support from my husband, mother and a nurse name Sharon that I will never forget. I will never forget the joy and relief Elyssa and I both felt the moment she latched and began to receive everything she needed from me. 

My husband and I took a breastfeeding class and therefore we were knowledgeable on the pros, cons, joys and challenges of breastfeeding. My mom breastfed and therefore I always wanted to too.  Lack of knowledge and support are many women’s main reasons for not breastfeeding. I have been extremely blessed throughout this process because I also have a network of new mothers who are breastfeeding. I talk, text or Facebook with them weekly; we share tips, encourage one another and provide each other with support. Every nursing mother needs to know that she has other nursing mothers in her corner for the days that she feels like giving up or feels like what she’s doing isn’t working.

For the last three weeks I’ve been pumping at work and it’s been going well. The work days are busy but I make time to pump twice, once in the AM and once in the PM. I’ve been blessed to have a large supply of milk and never have had to worry about not being able to produce. I don’t take this for granted at all. I thank God often for giving me all that I need to provide Elyssa with all that she needs.

Another interesting thing about breastfeeding is locating an appropriate place to do it while your out and about. It definitely requires some planning but it can be done! Many establishments don’t have clean safe places for nursing mothers to care for their babies so at first I was nursing in bathrooms or my car until my friends gave me some helpful advice. One friend told me to nurse in dressing rooms at stores like Target, Wal-Mart or at the mall. One friend highly recommended that I get a nursing cover so that I could nurse her wherever and still feel covered. I stopped taking her to bathrooms and learned to feel comfortable nursing her under my pretty lavender and white nursing cover if I didn’t have a bottle with me. I’ve only nursed in public a few times, surprisingly I felt comfortable and Elyssa did very well. She’s older now and getting her to latch is usually not a struggle.

God has blessed my body to be able to produce what my baby needs. I LOVE nursing Elyssa. I look forward to coming home from work, nursing her and holding her close. I enjoy looking into her eyes and seeing how happy she is to see me and get nourishment from me. For me, breastfeeding does not hurt. Usually if it hurts it’s because she isn’t latched on correctly. Sometimes she gets worked up if she doesn’t latch on as quickly as she wants but I remain calm and I help her get situated so that she can latch comfortably and correctly. With her taking bottles now, it does help me to have other’s be able to feed her if I need to go somewhere or take a nap. Pumping and nursing is the best of both worlds because either way, she’s still getting her mommy’s milk!

Questions: Did you or do you plan to breastfeed your babies? Why or Why not? What were some joys and challenges that you faced? Do you have any questions about breastfeeding? If so, feel free to post them below or email me at joanna.willis@hotmail.com

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