National Breastfeeding Month Profiles: Mafer

Photo courtesy of Mafer and her family.
Model, motivator and mother of two adorable boys, Mafer is an avid supporter of breastfeeding and lactation education.  She is a radio announcer at Radio Impacto2 and encourages her friends and family to live a powerful, positive and healthy life.

As of today, how long have you breastfed your child?

15 months.

Did you decide to breastfeed while you were pregnant?

Yes. Always wanted to do the healthiest things for my kids.

Was your family supportive?

Very supportive, especially my husband.  He always agreed with me in any decision.

Were there challenges?  If so, how did you overcome them?

Yes, so many! I had really sore nipples at the beginning and I had to use cream and use hand expression. Also I over-produced milk, so I had to constantly pump. I’ve been breastfeeding for 15 months and I have 3 gallons of frozen breastmilk for my son to have after I stop breastfeeding.

What resources did you draw upon for help?

Groups from BabyCenter.com, YouTube and other articles from the Internet.

What advice would you give a nursing mother experiencing a challenge?

To not give up. There is always a solution.

What’s the best thing about breastfeeding?

The best thing in my opinion is the contact and the time we get to spend with our little ones and the fact that breast milk is 1000% better than anything for them.

Is there anything else you want to say?

I wish we can turn the world around and we could help every mom out there breastfeed their baby without worrying about other people’s opinions. I’m truly so into breastfeeding, and I won’t stop until my son decides to. XOXO

Babydroppings is committed to supporting moms in all phases of their journey!  By sharing these profiles, we hope to make breastfeeding seem more accessible to mothers that would like to try, but are lacking support and information.  If you’d like to submit your story, click here.

National Breastfeeding Month Profiles: Kerri

kerri_smilie
Photo courtesy of Kerri and her family.
Mother of two, Kerri is a teacher, volunteers with her local ministry, and takes graduate classes.  Her youngest child, now nearly eleven months old, struggled with lip and tongue ties as well as gastrointestinal discomfort.  Both children are now thriving thanks to her dedication and selflessness, as well as her apparent ability to get by without sleep.  When she’s not teaching, taking care of her family, or volunteering, Kerri runs an Etsy shop creating keepsakes for parents.

As of today, how long have you breastfed your child?

10 months and 1 week for the baby.  I nursed my eldest for 2 years.

Did you decide to breastfeed while you were pregnant?

Yes, never considered anything else.

Was your family supportive?

Very!

Were there challenges?  If so, how did you overcome them?

Reflux, projectile vomiting, constant spit-up, oral dysphasia, tongue and lip ties. I continually nursed on demand (up to 15+ times a day!) and became a medical advocate for my son. He still has challenges eating anything other than breastmilk straight from the breast, but we just keep pushing through!

What resources did you draw upon for help?

My Facebook mom groups, lactation consultants, feeding therapists.

What advice would you give a nursing mother experiencing a challenge?

Don’t give up on your worst day! Make sure that everyone around you knows how deeply you desire to breastfeed and only offers breastfeeding friendly advice. If you decide to supplement with donor milk or formula to save your breastfeeding relationship and sanity (I did twice for each baby- my milk comes in really late) then it needs to be your, and only your, decision.

What’s the best thing about breastfeeding?

Convenience! I live in that constant “mom fog” and I am so glad I always have food attached to me.:)

Is there anything else you want to say?

Breastfeeding is natural, but it does not come naturally. Know that you are literally MADE for this. Allow yourself and your baby to take time to learn together. And above all, relax and BREATHE!❤

Babydroppings is committed to supporting moms in all phases of their journey!  By sharing these profiles, we hope to make breastfeeding seem more accessible to mothers that would like to try, but are lacking support and information.  If you’d like to submit your story, click here.

I Can’t Afford ‘Em: A Closer Look at Delaying Pregnancy

Back in my day, college was only 25¢ a semester!
For years, I’ve known that I wanted to have children. I’m a Cancer, after all. I grew up identifying myself with a “maternal nature,” and as an adult, fantasized about getting pregnant. But like many other people of my generation, I tempered my baby fever with the knowledge that we were just not financially ready to have kids. So I made lists of all the criteria I would need to meet before having them. 
In addition to the two awesome stepdaughters that my husband brought to the table, we welcomed a baby girl last year. I had accomplished only a few of the things on my list, and even the things that I had crossed off didn’t look the way I thought that they should. I spent the first several months of my pregnancy trying to earn my right to be excited by drawing out detailed financial game plans, reading articles on how to save money on baby, and stalking clearance prices on my registry items. 

My husband and I have always talked about having another baby, and I’ve started to paint a loose picture in my mind of when I’d like for that to happen. When I mention it, people stare at me with incredulity, as if to say “One baby I understand, but two? You’re not doing well enough to have more kids.” People online can be even more discouraging. One Reddit user posted a lengthy diatribe about how people who have babies on Medicaid make them sick. 

Having worked in finance for nearly ten years and having had a child on Medicaid despite possessing a college degree, a house and a paid-for car (and a partner!) I can tell you that not every financial situation is the same. It’s irresponsible to label all Medicaid recipients as moochers staring up at the poverty line as they pop out their fourteenth child. There are so many scenarios that result in educated, hardworking people being financially strapped. Most of us, given the rising cost of childcare and the rapidly deflating salaries, can’t even afford a dog, let alone a child. Does that mean we should stop procreating altogether, citing poor ROI as the reason for the extinction of the human race?

This terminology of “can’t afford to have a child,” like many things that are parenting-related, is broadly and loosely applied to an entire population when it onlymaybeatinybit refers to a small percentage of people. I would agree that if you don’t know where you’re sleeping tonight or where your next meal is coming from, your timing may not be ideal to have a baby. That doesn’t mean that you should abort one if you’re already pregnant, it means that you have nine months and counting to decide the kind of life you want to bring your child into and take steps towards making that happen. We also don’t look hard enough at what the costs of waiting are, with fertility treatments and adoption costing far more than several years of daycare and diapers. Most of the parents waiting to have children are responsible people who want the best for themselves and their families, and it’s your mentality that will have a direct impact on your circumstances and your child’s life, not your bank account. 

And as for me? I’m going to get excited about expanding my family, one day, when my husband and I are ready to welcome a new person (not an expense, a person) into our lives. And in the meantime, I’m going to stay away from bullies on Reddit. 

Product Review: The Spoon Cocoon

img_4949-1


With every new leap forward in baby’s development, there comes a litany of new things to learn and be responsible for. I thought feeding was one of those things that I didn’t have to worry about anymore. After all, we had gotten breastfeeding down to an art. So imagine my dismay when my pediatrician informed me, with unsubstantiated glee, that we were cleared to start solid foods. 

Let me tell you this—if I had my way we would breastfeed forever. One of the things I love about nursing is how easy it is to do on the go. I don’t have to worry about washing bottles or warming food—I can just whip it out and nurse my daughter wherever, whenever. 

Thank goodness that there are moms out there that are a step ahead of me, like Cynthia Silver, the founder of Baby in Tow. They make an awesome little product called the Spoon Cocoon, which appeals generously to my convenience-driven, germaphobic nature. 


The Spoon Cocoon is an adorable green caterpillar that hides a matching green infant spoon inside. The case is durable, easy to open and close, and small enough to toss into a diaper bag. We’re a pretty on-the-go family, and little Phoenix has a huge appetite. It’s great to know that I’m always prepared to feed her, even as we start solids. The caterpillar is the right size to hold most infant spoons, in case you’re like me and you only wash dishes under duress. Speaking of which, the Spoon Cocoon is even top rack dishwasher safe!  

Adorable, compact and ultra-practical, the Spoon Cocoon is a diaper bag must have.
Photo courtesy of Baby In Tow.

The Spoon Cocoon is available at Diapers.com, Bumblebean.com and Amazon.com and would make the cutest (and most practical!) addition to any shower gift basket! Just be sure to remind Mama that it’s not a toy.😉

I received no compensation for this post, just the product for testing. As always, all opinions are true and 100% my own. 

The Unappreciated Value Of The Mommy Blogger

Featured Image -- 220

Hold Me, Don't Hold Me

“What am I doing?”

It’s a question I mumble to myself throughout the day, after I find myself mindlessly putting the milk in the cabinet, or re-snapping the baby’s onesie without first having put on a clean diaper.

More than parenting snafus, it’s one of the many questions my husband and I ponder regularly when trying to make giant, life-altering decisions, while we both navigate and attempt to avoid the rat race we currently find ourselves in. Where should we live? What should we do? What are we doing?

More recently, it’s been a question that pounds in my head with every tap of my keyboard, as I sit and write out things for my blog. With so much on my plate, finding time to write has been hard, but more than that, I constantly question what the purpose of my writing is. What am I trying to say?

A few…

View original post 596 more words

The Black Abyss: Being Not-Black-Enough In Angry America

Not black enough, but definitely not white, either.
I am African-American, Dominican, and Cherokee.  I grew up in a home where there was a lot of love, and my family brought in enough money to pay the bills, but we were paycheck-to-paycheck anyway.  When I went to public school, my class was predominantly black.  To them, the Dominican boy was Dominican.  The Polish boy was Polish.  Both of them were lighter than me, but to my class, I was white.

At eleven years old, I received a scholarship for minority students and was accepted into a prestigious private school.  I was surrounded by white people and I was definitely not one of them.  I thought the two Chinese, one Puerto Rican and two other black students that were accepted at the same time as I was would have my back, but they drifted into their cliques and I was alone.  And light-skinned.

I was not curvy enough to be sexy, I wasn’t a Hollywood kind of thin.  I wasn’t fashionable enough to make up for it.  My sole vanity was my hair, which I relaxed and blew out into stick-straight submission.  My mother touched my hair approvingly after one particularly successful “perm” and told me that my hair was so soft and smooth, like “white people hair.”  I repeated the phrase over and over as I touched my hair, running my fingers through it until it started to fall out in clumps.  I cried as my mother washed my hair that night, not because my scalp burned but because I knew it would never be that straight again.

When I left school, I had been permanently disfigured with a syndrome known as “talking like a white person,” and I was made fun of relentlessly by my black coworkers.  My white boyfriend further complicated matters.  What could I say?  The black and Hispanic men that I was interested in didn’t seem to be interested in me, and the white boy thought I was a sun goddess.  We spent a summer drinking Frappuccinos and scribbling poetry in Moleskine notebooks on the floor of Barnes and Noble before I met the man that I would marry.

I have no other experience but my own.  I was not born with an understanding of how a black woman should move in this world, but I have learned, for me, the answer is “as quietly as possible.”  Every time I have opened my mouth to share my experience with the world, I have been silenced by the disenfranchised, the angry and the woke.

I am not woke.  I did not watch Roots because my mother thought I was too young to see it.  I didn’t see Malcolm X, either.  I have no one’s experience but my own, and that is this.  I have suffered prejudice and dismissal at the hands of white people, but I have experienced racism through black people.

My experience isn’t the truth, but it’s all I know.  Your experience isn’t the truth, but it’s all you know.  I grew up in a black family that valued their blackness, in black neighborhoods where people were doing the best they could.  We weren’t concerned about slavery, we were concerned about survival.  We were buying our freedom with student loans and mortgages and car notes.  I was told constantly “The white people do this…the white people stick together…this is why black people can’t have nothin’.”  When I drove past the beautiful homes near Brooklyn College, I was told “Jews pay off their homes, they pass them down, they buy life insurance…they would never let you live here.”

In other words, I was born onto the hamster wheel of the middle-class black—never getting ahead, constantly earning the scorn of the people that didn’t have as much and the pity of those that had more.  I was alternately teased and praised for my soft hair, my long legs, my light skin.  Light-skinned black women have been dancing this dance for all of this country’s history.  We are fetishized, ridiculed and dismissed as conceited and uppity.

Now, I live in a middle-class black neighborhood, and my daughter is even lighter than I am.  We just had a shooting here a couple of weeks ago, and I saw another man dead on my way home with my husband last night.  My husband, like every good father that’s ever lived, wants to move us to a neighborhood where we’ll feel safe.  But the neighborhood that we live in is a traditionally black owned neighborhood.  It’s full of black teachers, lawyers, doctors and churches.  How am I supposed to preserve my baby’s blackness when the world keeps invalidating us?  Am I supposed to stay here and earn my stripes while gunshots ring out a few blocks away?

I was recently attacked on Twitter for responding to someone who said that black people come out with a new slave movie every year when the Jews don’t constantly put out a Holocaust movie.  I said that black people, unlike Jews, are obsessed with getting their 40 acres and making sure everyone knows where they came from.  It may not be a popular thing to say, but we have become so fixated on making sure that people know that things aren’t fair around here that we don’t look hard enough at getting ahead.  We don’t look at what the real problem is.  We are still tearing each other down.  Someone makes a statement, I respond, and they immediately try to tear me to pieces.  We’re so busy being angry that we’ve stopped listening.  We’re so busy being angry that we’re about to elect a racist, sexist tyrant into office.  I am not unreasonable and I understand that my experience is different than yours.  Convert me to your side, don’t dismiss me as part of the problem.

The people on Twitter have unwittingly reinforced my experience that I will never be black enough for this world.  Whatever that means, I know I will never hit the mark.  I am expected to support the movement, but not to question my role in it.  I am expected to pretend that I exist in one world or another.

I refuse to have myself or my family leveraged by anyone’s agenda.  If you are concerned with making sure we get it, get us first.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming that us black people are all alike.

Carriers, Strollers, and Wraps—Oh My! The 2016 New York Baby Show

Jamie Grayson, the Baby Gear Guy, gives the keynote address to a packed room.  Photo courtesy of MomTrends.
Jamie Grayson, the Baby Gear Guy, gives the keynote address to a packed room. Photo courtesy of MomTrends.

Last weekend, Pier 92 played host to thousands of new and expectant parents at the 2016 New York Baby Show. From strollers that fold down to the size of a laptop to a sleep monitor that clips right onto baby’s clothes, every possible product that a new parent could need was available to check out, sample and in some cases, take home that day. 

With so many options, it was nearly impossible to stop at every booth on the showroom floor, so I made sure to hit the biggest must-haves on our list. Phoenix just turned eight months old, which means that we’re about to give up our amazing infant car seat. So travel gear was a priority for us at this event, and these were by far our favorites:
 

The GB Pockit stroller. Photo courtesy of BabyGizmo.com.
The GB Pockit stroller. Photo courtesy of BabyGizmo.com.
 GB Pockit Stroller: Recently entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the smallest stroller ever, this lightweight lifesaver folds down small enough to fit into a tote bag and weighs only eleven pounds. Despite its small size, it has really durable wheels and a super sturdy frame. It’s a perfect second stroller and great for city life.    

Phoenix and I rocking a Pavo woven wrap. Photo courtesy of Kanji Photography.  babydroppings.com
Phoenix and I rocking a Pavo woven wrap. Photo courtesy of Kanji Photography.
   
An up-close shot of the Gotham print. Photo by babydroppings.com.
An up-close shot of the Gotham print. Photo by babydroppings.com.
 Pavo Gotham Wrap: My husband and I are avid babywearers, and since my daughter was born we’ve been rocking a stretchy wrap as our primary carrier. Well, the Pavo completely knocked our socks off. This woven wrap is made of amazingly high-quality fabric that is breathable enough for warm weather, while literally being strong enough to carry my eight month old, a toddler, or even two babies. It can be tied in dozens of different ways, and unlike our stretchy wrap, supports front, back or hip carrying. Plus, it’s just absolutely beautiful. 

 

Seimone, one of our MomTrends/New York Baby Show ticket giveaway winners, and her daughter, Ashley, trying on the new Baby Björn One carrier.  babydroppings.com
Seimone, one of our MomTrends/New York Baby Show ticket giveaway winners, and her daughter, Ashley, trying on the new Baby Björn One carrier.
 Baby Björn One: What can I say? We love our baby carriers. There are definitely times when I need a quick solution, and as much as I love wraps they do take some maneuvering. The Baby Björn is a classic soft-structured carrier that probably everyone has seen or heard of, but the new One carrier has been designed with several nifty features. Borrowing a page from wraps, it has improved knee-to-knee support, and supports a front or back carry. While it’s insanely comfortable, my favorite thing about it is that it’s infinitely adjustable. The ease of raising or lowering baby makes nursing while carrying super simple, and getting hit on and off is actually a snap (or three). 

There were dozens of other fantastic brands and cool baby gadgets, but these three were our absolute favorites. Now that you have the babydroppings Best in Show picks, tell us—which were your favorite products from the New York Baby Show, and what did you want to see more of?

The Six Month Postpartum Checkup

 

“Yup, everything looks good from what I can see.  You’re good to go.”

  Congratulations.  You have kept your bouncing bundle of joy alive for half a year.  Twenty-six weeks ago, you pushed this miracle into the world in all their tiny wriggling glory.  Twenty weeks ago, you checked in with the person that took care of you and your growing family for months, maybe seeing you every day as you got closer and closer to delivery.  But at that six week check-in, they glanced at your stitches, told you how beautiful your new baby is, and sent you on your way, figuring that you were okay.

But you’re not okay.  Continue reading

The New Tommee Tippee Ultra Bottle

IMG_4372-0

 Tommee Tippee Ultra provides the ultimate feeding experience.  
Last Thursday saw the release of the new Tommee Tippee Ultra, a bottle designed to be the only baby bottle parents will ever need. Engineered to be a perfect match for babies with latch issues, colic or who just prefer a breast, the Ultra bottle, as its name implies, seeks to provide the “ultimate feeding experience.”I have to admit, I thought bottles were bottles. That is, until I got pregnant and started putting my registry together. I was warned not to stock up on bottles, nipples or even pacifiers, because babies are notoriously picky about their feeding gear. I was told that’s doubly true for breastfed babies. 

Well, they were right. I lucked out and had a bottle at home that my baby was willing to take, but that was not always a guarantee. I realized quickly that if I was anywhere in sight, bottles weren’t happening. So I turned over bottle feeding to my husband. Then one day, while I was out, he called me to ask me to come home right away, because the baby was refusing to take a bottle at all. 

The Ultra bottle by Tommee Tippee is built with breastfeeding in mind, with its nipple capable of moving in multiple directions (not a trait that I realized my nipple has, but now that I’m considering it is surprisingly important). Although the nipple itself is a super soft silicone, it doesn’t collapse on itself like some bottles do. The nipple is also slightly angled, keeping it full of milk and reducing baby’s air intake (a must for colicky babies).

 Tommee Tippee Ultra provides the ultimate feeding experience.  
I also like the shape of the bottle, although the wider body does take a bit of getting used to if you generally handle a smaller bottle. The large surface area makes it possible for baby to hold the bottle on her own, which is always super cute!

If I had to choose just one bottle, especially for a nursing baby, this is probably your safest bet. Plus, the nipples are compatible with all other Tommee Tippee nipples, making it possible to swap for a faster flow as baby grows. Right now, the Tommee Tippee Ultra Bottle is available exclusively at Babies”R”Us. 

 Tommee Tippee Ultra provides the ultimate feeding experience.   
Tommee Tippee Ultra provides the ultimate feeding experience.  The release party, which was at Vosges Haut-Chocolat in SoHo (yum!) also featured some of the lines other new baby essentials, like their famous pacifiers, their diaper pail, and a super cool pump-and-store system. I would suggest that every baby company take a page out of Tommee Tippee’s book—shopping for baby goods should always be paired with chocolate and wine!

 Tommee Tippee Ultra provides the ultimate feeding experience.  
Which Tommee Tippee product is your baby must-have?