As a Stay At Home Mom God’s Grace is My Super Power

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2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

As a stay at home mom (SAHM) of three children four and under, God’s grace is definitely my super power. The scripture above is one of my favorites because when I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired, I quote this verse and keep it moving. I know Jesus is my help. He blessed us with our babies and He has given us the grace needed to care for them.

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Our four year old, Elyssa, is a super energetic, happy, inquisitive,creative, helpful and talkative girl. She keeps me on my toes for sure.

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Our 22 month old, Elaina, is a nurturer, she’s also sensitive, observant, affectionate and a joyful girl.

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Our soon to be 9 month old son, Eddie VI, is busy speed crawling and discovering the world around him. He’s active, inquisitive and loving.

Eddie is doing a great job nursing, he has since the day he was born. He’s always latched great and my supply has always been high. I’m grateful to God that I had successful nursing relationships with all of my children.

As a SAHM, I where many hats and my job is never done. Some days are happy and productive. Other days are draining and completely unproductive. Some days the children are cooperative and happy and other days they struggle to listen, fight over every toy and whine about everything. My relationship with God keeps me going on the good and bad days. I can talk to him, mediate on his word, play some praise and worship music and know that He is with me and His grace is sufficient for me. I was created to be a great mom, not of my own strenth but of His!! It’s a great feeling to know that my Heavenly Daddy has my back. Hes leading and guiding my husband and I as we raise godly children. My husband and I are a great team and he’s a awesome hands on father.

So be encouraged mommies!!! You’re doing an awesome job. No one is perfect and no child is perfect but we serve a perfect, all knowing God, who promised to never leave us or forsake us. Rest in His peace and His promises!! And the next time the children do things to drive you up the wall, take a second to thank God that he blessed you with your children and ask him for a extra dose of His grace!! He’s faithful, he will give it to you!!!

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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

Nursing, Burping & Pumping OH MY! Diary of a Breastfeeding Mommy 6 Month Update

In this post I’ve included professional pics of me nursing Elyssa. Breastfeeding is one of the most important, precious things I’ve ever been blessed to be able to do. Shout out to all my nursing mothers, thank you for doing whats best for your babies despite any challenges you may have faced. It’s so worth it!

My daughter Elyssa is turning 6 months old on October 1 and I’m so excited. She’s healthy, strong, active, happy, peaceful and smart. I’ve been blessed to be able to successfully and joyfully breastfeed for six months and counting. I always wanted to breastfeed but I never knew how fulfilling it would be for me or my baby. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to produce exactly what my baby needs, whenever she needs it. I don’t have to go to the store to pick up milk, I don’t have to prepare bottles or budget my money to purchase what she needs, I just snuggle up comfy cozy with my little lady and allow her to nurse until she’s satisfied. I truly give God the glory because I know I couldn’t do anything without Him and all of my successes in life are because of Him.

When I was pregnant, I continued to confess that my breast would produce milk for as long as I needed them too and they would be able to meet our little girls needs and work properly without any issues. God gets all the glory for hearing and answering my prayer as everyday goes by. I’m so grateful that I haven’t had any major issues with my nipples hurting or cracking and I’ve always had more than enough milk to keep up with her appetite. I’m not bragging on myself, I’m bragging on God. He hears my prayers and He’s always faithful!

One amazing perk of breastfeeding is the weight loss. I lost my baby weight within one month of birth and have went down 3o more pounds since then. I can wear clothes now that I haven’t been able to wear in years. It’s amazing and I’m loving it.

Due to me being a working mommy, I nurse Elyssa twice in the early morning and a few times in the evening (between when I get home from work and when she goes to bed.) One of the highlights of Elyssa and I’s day is our first nursing session when I get home from work. She stares into my eyes and I rub her hair, hold her hand and tell her how much I missed and love her. Because Elyssa enjoys nursing so much, she often struggles with her bottles. She doesn’t drink her encouraged amount of milk during day, she drinks enough to keep her going until I get home. She is peaceful and content during the day as if to say, no thank you, I don’t want too much of the bottle, just give me a little; I know my mommy’s returning soon with the good stuff. She continues to gain weight, she’s a big girl actually, therefore the doctor isn’t concerned.

Due to Elyssa not drinking as many ounces as she should during the day, I have accumulated a very large supply of milk. Our freezer is being taken over by breast milk so I plan to transfer two large bags of milk to the deep freezer so the milk will last longer. Do you want to guess how many ounces I have frozen???? 649 oz, that’s just over 5 gallons!! God blessed me with an overflow of milk supply and I pray that Elyssa gets to drink every drop without any going to waste. I don’t want to waste my  “liquid gold,” people would pay good money for this stuff 🙂 We continue to try different bottles and positions to help Elyssa feel comfortable taking the bottle and we’re confident that she will adjust to the bottle transition soon. She started cereal this month and graduates to baby food in October.

Call To Action

If you’re a nursing mommy, I encourage you to educate those around you about breastfeeding. Share your POSITIVE experiences with others. Be honest about your challenges but also share how you overcame them. Explain the benefits and joys of breastfeeding. Don’t push your views on others or make formula feeding mommies feel bad, just confidently explain why breast is best for your baby and be open to questions. People need to know that breastfeeding is normal, natural and beneficial to mommy and baby! HAPPY NURSING!!

Tips For Preparing to Return to Work & Breastfeeding

I’ve been pumping at work since June 2011 and things continue to go well for me. I have a office so I didn’t have to locate a place to pump and I am usually stationed in my office and not traveling to different sites to meetings. My biggest challenge some days is making the time to pump when my days get really busy. I always stop to pump because I don’t want my supply to go down but some days I think I wait a little too late because I start leaking or feeling too heavy.  Now when I know I’m going into a few long meetings I pump early and then pump right after the meetings. On the challenging days mommies, remind yourself that you’re pumping at work for your baby and you can do it!! Take it one day at a time! This pic is of my full Medela bottles after pumping one day in my office. I thought it was a beautiful sight so I took a pic!  I was googling pumping at work and I found a very helpful article on askdrsears.com. I posted the first nine tips of the twenty below. Checkout the article for the rest. Also the website has many other helpful breastfeeding articles. Happy pumping!!

 http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-while-working/20-tips-working-and-breastfeeding

YOUR WEEKS AT HOME

1. Make a commitment. Juggling breastfeeding and working is not easy. There will be days when you wonder if it’s all worth it. You’ll develop a love-hate relationship with your pump. You’ll leak at embarrassing moments, and you may be on the receiving end of less than supportive comments from ignorant co-workers. There will be days when you’re ready to toss in the pump and reach for the formula. Yet, once you make a commitment to continuing to breastfeed, you’ll find a way to do it. If you believe that breastfeeding is important for your baby and for yourself, doing what it takes to continue this beautiful relationship will not seem as difficult. And you’ll enjoy all the practical benefits of nursing your baby full-time when you are together after work and on weekends.You may be worried that nursing and working will be a lot of bother, or friends may have told you about their own difficulties with pumping milk or arranging feeding schedules. Working and caring for a small baby is a juggling act, so you need to think carefully about this choice and how you will manage. If you’re not sure that you want to continue breastfeeding after you return to your job, give it at least a 30-day trial period. This will give you a chance to work out any problems and settle into a mutually rewarding experience for you and baby. Have confidence in yourself. You can do this! 

2. Get connected. To build a solid relationship with your baby, you must banish the “what if’s.” “What if he won’t take a bottle?” “What if she won’t settle down without nursing?” “When I pump milk at home I can pump only a little bit. What if I can’t pump enough milk when I’m back at work?”

  • Don’t let these worries about the future intrude on your enjoyment of your first weeks with your baby. These are legitimate concerns, but at the same time, they are all problems that can be solved. It’s good to plan ahead–but not too much. Don’t let your preoccupation with the day you need to return to work (“W” day) rob you of the joy of those weeks of being a full-time mother. So even if your maternity leave is only a few short weeks, use this time to allow yourself to be completely absorbed by your baby. Think of this time as a “babymoon”-like a honeymoon, with emphasis on establishing a relationship with minimal intrusions. This season of your life will never come again; treasure it while it’s here. (You can organize those closets next year–or five years from now.) Mothering a newborn will absorb all your time. It should. These weeks after birth are when mothers fall in love with their babies. And, as with any love affair, the two of you need time to get to know one another.Will focusing on just being a mother now make it more difficult to leave your baby later? It might. We’ve seen many mothers who had thought they would return to the workplace move heaven and earth in order to stay home longer with their babies. We’ve also seen the payoff for mothers who take the time to really get attached to their babies but who do return to their jobs: they work very hard at maintaining the close relationship with their child. They enjoy their babies more, and the benefits to their children are lifelong. 

3. Get breastfeeding off to a good start. Doing everything you can to make breastfeeding work well in the early weeks is important to breastfeeding success after you return to work. You need to breastfeed early and often to encourage your breasts to produce lots of milk.

The longer you can enjoy this exclusive breastfeeding relationship, the easier it will be to continue when you are back on the job. Use vacation time, or any other time off that is available to you. Consider taking an unpaid leave to stay home longer with your baby, if that is financially possible. (Sacrificing some income at this point in your life could turn out to be the one of the best investments you’ll ever make.) Working only part-time will also simplify breastfeeding. If there is a compelling reason why your baby must receive breast milk, perhaps because of prematurity or allergies, you may be able to prolong your leave time by getting a letter from your doctor.

PLANNING YOUR RETURN

4. Explore your options.Consider these alternatives to spending the entire day away from your baby:

  • Bring your baby to work.
  • Try work and wear.
  • Bring the work to your baby. 
  • On-site day care.
  • Nearby daycare providers.
  • Visits from your baby.
  • Part-time work.

5. Be flexible.Babies have a way of derailing mothers from their pre-planned career track. Expect to change pumps, dresses, caregivers, and even jobs. Try to remain flexible as you plan for your return to work and for how you will continue to breastfeed. Your needs will change and so will your baby’s. If something that worked well a few weeks ago is not working now, change it. Babies have different needs and preferences at different stages.

6. Choose a breastfeeding-friendly caregiver.If you can, make your arrangements for a substitute caregiver while you’re still pregnant, so that the search for a baby-sitter doesn’t consume valuable time an d energy that could be spent on your baby. Be sure to tell your caregiver how much being able to continue breastfeeding means to you, and thank this person for helping to make this possible. If your baby’s caregiver is unfamiliar with breastfed babies and handling expressed human milk, you’ll need to gently and tactfully educate her. Share information about the benefits of breastfeeding and about how your baby is growing and thriving on your milk. Tell her how to thaw and warm your milk (written instructions may be helpful), and work out a system for preparing, labeling, and storing your baby’s bottles. Make this as simple as possible so that the caregiver can devote her attention to the baby, not the bottle. To speed the delivery of your milk to your baby so that she doesn’t have to wait for bottles when she is hungry, try these tips:

    • Freeze milk in small amounts that thaw more quickly.
    • Thaw the amount of milk needed for each day overnight in the refrigerator. Any milk left after 24 hours will have to be discarded, but if your baby’s milk consumption is fairly predictable, you can do this without worrying about waste.
    • Your caregiver could try giving your baby cold milk from the refrigerator, but most babies prefer it warmed up, just like the milk they get from mom’s breast.

    Tell the caregiver that you want your baby held for all feedings, and that your baby should be picked up whenever he cries or fusses. If the caregiver is having trouble getting your baby to accept a bottle during your first days back at work, see won’t take a bottle. Tell her what to offer your baby when he wants to suck for comfort–a pacifier, or perhaps the caregiver’s clean finger. Be supportive and sympathetic–a good relationship with this person is important. But first and foremost, remember that you are in charge here. You are responsible for your baby’s well-being.

7. Get to know your breast pump. About two weeks before your plan to return to work, get the breast pump out of the case and figure out how to make it work. Read the directions carefully–they’re your best source of information for how to put the pump together, how to get the best use out of it, and how to clean it. You may also find helpful tips on maximizing the amount of milk you can pump.

8. Get baby used to the bottle – but not too soon. Someone is going to tell you, “Give your baby a bottle by two weeks of age, so he’ll get used to it. Otherwise, he may never take it.” This is poor advice. It’s best to avoid bottles, certainly during the first three weeks. Offering a bottle at the time your baby is learning the fine art of latch-on and you are building up your milk supply runs the risk of interfering with both of these processes. If the bottle is introduced too soon, some babies develop nipple confusion; others may not. Some babies switch back and forth from breast to bottle without difficulty Others quickly learn that it’s easier to get milk from a bottle and have difficulty returning to the breast. Of course, you don’t know if you have this kind of baby until after the bottle is introduced and baby is unwilling to take the breast. It’s wiser not to take the risk, especially if your baby has had difficulty learning to take the breast. Give him some time to consolidate what he’s learned about breastfeeding before you present him with a new challenge. A hungry baby will learn to take a bottle eventually, especially if your milk is in it. A couple weeks before you return to work, begin offering baby the bottle as a toy and let him get familiar with it. Don’t obsess about baby accepting the bottle, and don’t force the issue. If baby takes the bottle, fine; if he doesn’t, okay. Some babies refuse to take bottles from their mother (a sort of “what’s wrong with this picture?” feeling), yet take the bottle from another caregiver.

9. Negotiate with your employer. Develop a plan that you think will work for you–when you will pump, where you will store milk, other special arrangements like being able to visit your baby and nurse during your lunch hour. If you know other women in your workplace who have pumped milk for their babies, talk to them about the problems they encountered and how they solved them. In putting together your plan, consider the following:

  • When will you pump? You will need to pump about as often as your baby nurses, every two to three hours. If you work an eight-hour day, this means pumping at mid-morning, at lunch, and at mid-afternoon. If you pump both breasts at the same time, allow 15 to 20 minutes, 30 minutes if you pump each breast separately. You may have to arrive earlier and stay later to make up for time spent pumping.
  • Where will you pump? At your desk? In the ladies’ room? Can you borrow an office or use an empty room to pump in privacy? (Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.) The ladies’ lounge is a good place if you like company while you pump–and some moms do). If you work in a hospital or medical center, there may be a pumping room near the newborn nursery or neonatal intensive care unit.
  • Ideally, the place where you pump will have an electrical outlet, so that you can use an electric pump, if that is your choice, and a sink to rinse off the parts of the pump that come in contact with your milk. You’ll need a comfortable chair and a table for your equipment, your lunch, or any paperwork you might want to look at while you’re pumping.
  • Where will you store the milk? A refrigerator where you can store expressed milk is handy, though you can substitute ice packs and a cooler.

My 1st Nurse In: Fighting For My Right To Nurse In Public

Last Friday, July 1, 2011, my husband, daughter, close friend and her son all attended the nurse in held at the Oakland SMART bus terminal in Michigan. It was our first nurse in and we were all very excited to support Ms. Moon and this very important cause. Last week I posted the information regarding Ms. Moon being harassed by the bus driver while she nursed her newborn in a Moby Wrap. Mother’s (and a few fathers) from all walks of life came out to support Ms. Moon and our right to nurse in public. The nurse in was put on by Keva Williams and the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association; they did an awesome job!

The supporters brought signs promoting breastfeeding and we mingled amongst one another talking about motherhood and breastfeeding. The media was present as well as the police. It was a peaceful protest which was my prayer because I didn’t want anything to take the attention away from the reason we were there, which was to support and promote the education of breastfeeding. 

The SMART bus company provided the moms with a bus to use as a cooling station due to the hot weather which I thought was very nice of them. At one point majority of the moms got on the bus and nursed together. I got to meet Ms. Moon and thank her for taking a stand and refusing to be removed from the bus for nursing. Ms. Moon appears to be a kind-hearted woman who knew her rights and wouldn’t allow anyone to bully her.

Ms. Moon is apart of the Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association. BMBA has a local support group which meets monthly in Detroit. Please checkout their facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Mothers-Breastfeeding-Association/178862834625 In this picture from left to right is me and Elyssa, Ms. Moon and her newborn son in the middle and my close friend Rolisia and her son Isaac.

I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed but I wasn’t educated on the topic until my husband and I took a breastfeeding class towards the end of my pregnancy. I wasn’t presented with the issue of how to handle nursing in public until we started taking her out when she turned 4 weeks. At the time Elyssa wasn’t taking bottles well (this is something she’s still adjusting to after being exclusively breastfeed for 10 weeks 90% of the time before I returned to work) I would take bottles with me but when she rejected them I had to try to find places to nurse her and a few times I ended up nursing in bathroom stalls. I’ve now learned better and hope to never nurse in her a public bathroom again; I wouldn’t want to eat in there so why should she have to?

When Elyssa was 6 weeks I purchased a nursing cover and began to nurse her in the car instead of public bathrooms while we were out and about. Over the past month I’ve began nursing her in public with my cover and it’s begin going well. I haven’t experienced any backlash or noticed anyone giving me nasty glares BUT honestly I wasn’t looking at what other’s reactions because I didn’t care. When my baby is hungry I will to feed her. I will always be modest but she has the right to nurse on demand in a clean and safe environment. In this pic I’m nursing Elyssa on the bus.

Our society needs to remember that breast were NOT created solely for sexual pleasure, they were also created to nourish babies. It shouldn’t be okay for a woman to walk around practically naked in the summer and everyone be fine with it but a woman breastfeeding her baby is called inappropriate and asked to leave the establishment. Breastfeeding is natural, sacred and beautiful; if you don’t like it look away! I hope to educate those around me as well as my friends on Facebook, Twitter and my blog readers about breastfeeding. You could say that I am now a breastfeeding advocate. It’s totally okay if women decide that they don’t want to breastfeed but I want them to feel informed and supported if they decide that they do want to breastfeed. HI my name is Joanna Willis and I’m a breastfeeding mommy!!

Question: What have been your experiences with breastfeeding in public? What are your thoughts about breastfeeding in public? Do you BF in public, why or why not?

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