New on our Blog
Yoko, Mitera Founder
In 2011, Michelle Obama told Barbara Walters that she makes herself her first priority. When asked if that could be seen as selfish, she said: “It’s practical… a lot of times we slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. One of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others."
We’re now well into the new year with January almost ending and we’d like to take some time to talk about a “necessary human regulatory function” AKA self-care that as moms we often put on the back burner.
To kick off our self-care campaign, our founder, Yoko shares what was on her self-care list for January. We’ve also interviewed some of our favorite mamas, Brittany, Neha and Deepika who share their perspectives on how they find time to give themselves a little bit of love and attention.
We’d love for you to be part of our self-care campaign. Join our self-care conversation by sharing your self-care tips with us on Instagram & enter to WIN a *FREE Mitera Le Diaper bag*
Yoko's Self-Care List:
It's Yoko. Mitera's Founder. It's January and I wanted to share with you what my month of January - the month I picked to check off a laundry list of 'self-care' stuff that I have been putting off - really looked like. Spoiler alert for what might be TMI.
If you are expecting that I went on a week-long yoga retreat or went for a relaxing massage, I thank you for putting me on kind of a pedestal in your imagination. I have to be honest here - my 'self-care' to-do list is kind of boring but I am sure a lot of moms can relate to my story so I wanted to share.
First on my list was to finally go and see a physical therapist to address a shoulder injury sustained over a year and half ago. It's been hurting for that long but I have been blushing it off like "Oh, I will just stretch it" or "It will get better if I go swimming". But it never did and it's been bothering me a lot to the point where it was hard for me to put on my clothes. Since the last time I have seen my physical therapist (well, like a year and half ago), she became a mom. So, we got to talking about some of the profound physical changes that happen during and after childbirth. I confined in her, jokingly that I sometimes still leak when I sneeze or laugh out loud. Then she looked at me straight in the eyes and told me immediately to go and see her colleague next door who specializes in 'pelvic floor strengthening". I would probably never have made time for it, had she not gently forced me into it so I am glad I did. Since this experience was kind of hilarious in its own way, I will have to dedicate a separate post to share my experience working with a pelvic floor expert.
My next self-care to-do item was to go to the dentist for a check-up and cleaning. As a mom, I did what any mom would do - I took both of my kids to the dentist, too, and killed 3 birds with one appointment.
My third self-care to-do item was to visit my general practitioner. After going through a comprehensive list of questions to assess my medical history and lifestyle, we are currently waiting for the results of all the blood tests.
Well, January ends tomorrow but I am not done with my list. Still on my to-do list are: getting a haircut (have not done it in more than a year...), and an annual GYNO visit (which has not been annual). So, for me, even though there was no spa, massage or yoga in the month of self-care, I feel I have done well in checking some important long overdue to-do items off my list.
Now onto how other #MiteraMamas take care of themselves.
Brittany Marcin, Broadway dancer, former Rockette and mama of 2 year old boy, Essex, shares her self-care tips.
How do you take care of yourself outside of motherhood?
I always make sure I take "me" time every day. It could be a 5 minute walk around the block, a 10 minute meditation, or an hour long workout. I find that those little moments to recharge really do make me more present as a Mom. I also have stopped always saying yes to every opportunity job wise or even socially. I make sure my family won't suffer and then I go from there. I think the power of no is a wonderful thing I have really learned since my son Essex was born.
How do you fit self-care into your busy schedule?
I think for me it comes down to scheduling. If I'm not working on a show, I'm always home with my son. If it means I have to get up at 5am to make a yoga or fitness class, I make it happen. The waking up can be brutal but I always feel better after. That being said, there are the days when schedules go bust. On those days my self-care routine can be as simple as a glass of wine or online shopping after putting my son to bed. We have to find those small moments as parents.
Photos by Mallory Aussem- Evergold Photography
What is the biggest challenge in maintaining your self-care routine?
The biggest challenge is definitely staying on track. Over the holidays when we were out of our schedule, it became harder to stick to the things that were important to me. However, if I let my self-care priorities go, it has an immediate trickle down effect on my family.
What is your self-care goal for the New Year?
My self-care goal is to meditate more often. Also to choose happiness and surround myself with people that place more positivity and love into my life. Since becoming a Mom, I really cherish my friends that have grown with me through this journey.
Neha with her son, Bodie. Photo by Marissa Zackowitz Photography
Neha Ruch, Writer and Founder of Mother Untitled and mama of 2 year old boy, Bodie, shares her self-care tips.
Photo by Marissa Zackowitz Photography
How do you take care of yourself outside of motherhood?
Care comes in so many different shapes and sizes. I was going to lead with cultivating friendships and investing in my marriage to allow myself to feel cared for and connected alongside motherhood. But specific to investing purely in myself, building Mother Untitled was hugely game-changing in my experience. It allowed me to write and think and learn in ways I hadn’t had the motivation or freedom to do before I took a pause to raise my son, Bodie. The site represents what it means to make space for motherhood and in doing so, more room for yourself so it pushes me to be hyper-observant of what allows me to be my best self and in turn, a better mother and wife.
How do you fit self-care into your busy schedule?
I have a wonderful nanny who comes in two days a week and on Thursday evenings for a standing date night. Those two days a week are a bit of tug of war between personal care and work. I do try and be disciplined and use the first hour of each of those days to do family admin items before going to the Soho House to meet friends and crank through editorial calendaring or meetings, but I simultaneously try to listen to what my body needs. If my back is feeling stiff, I’ll prioritize a half hour massage on Monday or Tuesday before I head to work.
On my days that I am home with Bodie, I use little moments to take extra care. I will take 5 extra minutes before I leave my room to stretch and have a tall glass of hot water. It sounds a bit over the top but I'm a big fan of aromatherapy in the shower to make the most of that time - sometimes I just put a few drops of eucalyptus on the floor or I use this line of cleansers and scrubs that have aroma notes like turmeric and rosemary. When I go through my skincare routine, I try and bring awareness to what I’m doing. Every element of my skin care routine is quite thoughtful, and I love the lines I use - Joanna Vargas, Tata Harper, and Herbivore. Each of the products I choose feels intentional and filled with good energy, so I’m less apt to rush through the motions and instead think more about how lucky I am to be able to care for myself in this way. Once or twice a week, I’ll take a really good nap. Sleep is so restorative and allowing myself to slip under the covers during Bodie’s rest feels indulgent and kind to me. The playroom mess can wait.
What is the biggest challenge in maintaining your self-care routine?
On weekends and holidays, I find I struggle most with making time for myself. I always wanted to be a mother but even more than that, I wanted to create a family and so having my husband home and being the three of us feels so special, I’m not apt to step away from it. We tend to plan activities together, and I find I am usually the one getting both Bodie and me ready to go. It’s something my husband pointed out, and he is the biggest advocate for putting myself first. I try to be conscious of carving out an hour or two out of each day to do things like catching up on articles I've flagged from earlier in the week or meeting a girlfriend for tea and a walk.
What is your self-care goal for the New Year?
I started this at the end of last year and hope to maintain a 3 times/week exercise cadence. If you were to ask me what I’m doing, it’s nothing fancy - likely the elliptical and weights in the gym. More recently, I'm trying a Vinyasa yoga class at Y7 studio around the corner and getting back into Core Pilates. I want to get back in the flow of making time to move my body. I landed on three times because motherhood and creative work and relationships take time and so making small incremental steps to reclaiming routines and rhythms feels more workable in the context of today.
Deepika with her lovely family
Dr. Deepika Chopra, Optimism Doctor and mama of 7 month old boy, Jag, shares her self-care tips.
How do you take care of yourself outside of motherhood and fit self-care into your busy schedule?
Deepika & her son Jag
Haha, I actually realized quite recently, although self-care is such a big part of what I teach my clients, I really have not been good at this at all…between breastfeeding, making organic purees of vegetables and fruits, changing diapers, play time, nap time and getting back to work, self-care has somewhat gone out the window!
I feel that every week there is a new challenge in my motherhood experience… I am 7 months in and I finally feel like I can say I am good mom, but, these past few weeks I am starting to acknowledge that I am not so balanced in my other relationships, and that includes with myself! This has been the hardest part for me to navigate through. I barely have enough bandwidth for anyone other than my son, let alone to care for myself--and so this has really been an intention of mine for this New Year!
I have started to take some baby steps...I took some of my own advice that I give to my clients and made a list of things I really enjoy (this is not just a list of errands or things I have to do like go to the dentist- although those are just as hard to fit in to the week!) but, things that make me truly happy and give me joy, even if it’s just for a few moments. And my new goal is to try to do at least one of them a day. These can be small, for example today I took 10 extra minutes before my shower to stay in my towel and sing and dance to a song I love while putting on a face mask I have been meaning to try!
What is the biggest challenge in maintaining your self-care routine?
Well, I have realized I quite literally and figuratively have to create the time - sometimes out of thin air, to care for myself. I have learned I cannot continue to give from an empty tank and us women have a real natural ability to test this for ourselves or to be expected to test this by others but, it’s just not sustainable or optimal. I think as a new mom, navigating through this life-altering, magical but exhausting process, the hardest thing I deal with is mindfully having to quiet the guilt that comes up when I have a desire to do something for myself. I have been working on reframing this as necessary and actually good for my son, because the happier and healthier I am, the more I can give to him. And I hope to get to the point where I can find sincere belief in the idea that it’s wonderful to do something just for myself without the intention of it having to be for anyone else at all.
What is your self-care goal for the New Year?
Aside from what I mentioned above… being more gentle and kind towards myself and finding ways to mother myself as I do with my son and the other close relationships in my life. Because hey, mothers need mothering the most! Short daily meditations & visual imagery exercises are super imperative to my self-care. Also getting an aromatherapy massage every few weeks helps me to feel relaxed and grounded. These are definitely on top of my New Year goals list!
Executive coach Tara Cherniawski delves into her parenting experience of her two beautiful children, shares about how she inspires and strives to be inspired by both her family life and career, and reveals pointers on becoming a leading business woman in the UAE.
1. You recently became a mom for the second time. How was it different from the first time around?
I imagined the second time round with our little girl I would be super chilled and breeze the newborn stage, but actually she was so tiny and precious I was as in awe and tentative with her as with our son. Once she was a few days old though, all the knowledge and practical skills seemed to come back thankfully! Having a 3 year old and a newborn is simultaneously fun, challenging, heart-melting and infuriating at times!!
2. If you are breastfeeding, how is your experience as a mom who has her own company and has a toddler?
With both babies I have struggled to produce enough milk to breastfeed exclusively, however the Medula double swing pump was certainly my best friend in the early days so I could see what my baby was getting and supplement with formula.
3. What is your favorite part of being a mom?
My favourite part is living vicariously through the eyes of my son and daughter, experiencing their joy and elation everyday in a curious, excited way. Oh and the snuggles and kisses, am collecting as many of those as possible before they become too cool for all that!
4. Tell us what you find particularly unique about parenting in UAE.
That’s an interesting question, as both my babes were made and born in Dubai, so I don’t know any other way of being a parent. What I love is the friendliness of other mums, often we are away from our families and what would be key support networks so we look after each other. Also, many of us are in the privileged position to have maids or nanny help at home. I think though as our children get older, we will need to focus on ensuing they are grounded and self sufficient..
5. You are an entrepreneur in the executive coaching arena. How does your profession influence how you parent and vice versa? Are there any intersections? What exciting things are you working on right now?
Well as an exec coach, I focus on inspiring my clients to identify the goals that will massively impact their world and achieve positive change. Together we strive to achieve and exceed them. Whilst each coaching relationship is unique and about the client, not about me and my life, I believe it’s vital that I work as hard as I can to achieve my own goals. So, my profession encourages a kind of accountability that I strive to uphold! Some of my personal goals are around gaining and maintaining balance as a mum and wife, getting back my fitness and developing my business. All requiring continuous focus to get there! Because I work in the field of learning and personal growth, much of my education and training applies towards child development as well as adult, so my gorgeous two children are like fascinating little case studies! As I answer these questions, I am rocking my 8 week old in her chair with my foot and my 3 year old is sprawled out next to me on the sofa asleep, this is my life and I adore it.
At Inspirus Learning (www.inspiruslearning.com) we are currently developing an exciting new concept called Inspirus Lifestyle - which is a tailored approach to coaching designed to support women striving to do it all. The centre of the journey are a series of structured coaching sessions aimed to gain momentum, as well as sessions with relevant experts identified from each client’s chosen individual goals. So for example, a client may choose to focus on developing her personal brand or image and styling or change her eating habits for the long haul. I’m very excited to be launching Inspirus lifestyle as there are so many of us trying to juggle and balance everything and it’s stressful! I have had my own coach in the past and would most definitely recommend as a hugely stretching and encouraging approach to make positive changes in life.
6. Your husband is also an entrepreneur. Is there anything you learned from him and vice versa? What does Cherniawski household look like with two entrepreneurs and two kids?
Oh absolutely. My husband inspires me every day, he not only has such an amazing work ethic, but manages to live in the moment and enjoy every day. He’s very spontaneous and adaptable. He definitely has adapted to being more focused on the long term and planning ahead when needed which is my preference. Our household certainly never has a dull moment! It can be tough, we sometimes work weekends and evenings and sometimes tag team, he will get home to look after the little ones and I will dash out to meet a client or run a lecture or vice versa. But what works for us, is we are a team and are seriously there for each other - we try to plan our work focuses around what’s imperative right now, which could be a school orientation or a business trip or even a much needed workout class or night out!
7. How has it been to start and run your own business as a woman in the UAE? What were some of the challenges and things that surprised you in a good way?
I worked in the corporate world of Human Resources and Development for 7 years here in the UAE, so felt at that stage I had a sound understanding under my belt of how business worked and what opportunities there are in the market for coaching and learning and development. I was constantly looking for great providers and exec coaches that provided something a little bit different from the mainstream training consultancies. That was how Inspirus Learning was initiated, focusing on the gaps I had identified and working with a small network of clients.
That was two and a half years ago. I was definitely surprised how confident and ready I was to take the leap from the comparatively safe corporate world, however I’ve never looked back. I believe this is a region that truly supports women entrepreneurs and focuses more and more on championing women’s achievements. Sometimes my husband and I catch ourselves, look at each other and say we can’t believe we take such risks as both running our own businesses. But for us, the advantages definitely outweigh the risks. Business development still proves challenging with such a small company, however I’m surprised in the region how powerful word of mouth is and how much business we’ve won through that medium.
8. How did having children change your perspective in life in terms of your career, marriage and life in general?
I had no comprehension before becoming a mum of how almost a new piece of me would blossom and grow. I feel like I have so much more empathy and purpose for everything nowadays. My life was happy before our children, now I’m not sure of a word that blends that happiness nowadays with the emotions and love I experience. Within our marriage, some of the immediate excitement and spontaneity has definitely been impacted as we focus on and juggle our family needs and business focuses. We know though that once our little girl settles from the newborn phase, life starts to get a little bit more on track and we can plan some time for us again.
9. What advice do you have for moms who want to start their own businesses?
Research and research until you find that niche or gap in the market and go for it! Hire a coach who can support you attain those goals ;) If you can, see how your partner or family can help you out with balancing everything - especially during the start up phase of your business. Look to your network to pilot or gain honest feedback around your products or services.
10. Share your tips for juggling everything in your life - being a wife, daughter, friend, #momboss and a mom!
Actually, trying to do it all can often lead us to feel as if we haven’t achieved anything much, so focus on the top areas that will make the biggest difference or need the most attention and really work hard at those. The rest will follow. Don’t forget to look after you and part of that is quelling the mum guilt as much as possible and making time to do things that are good for you. (I still have guilt most of the time but have learnt to calm it / manage it mostly.) Have friends in your life that really make you laugh and put things in perspective when you need it. Do the same for them. Sift through all the advice and autobiographies people share and retain only what helps you and those precious around you. Be in the moment, get covered in paint / sand / glitter with your kids or run into the ocean with them, forget the selfies for a while and just be there.
Just for fun!
How many hours of sleep did you get last night?
Last night I slept for 5 hrs straight (it was a good night!).
What would you do if you had one more hour in your day?
If I had one more hour? in my day, I would watch a really great show like Scandal or Little Big Lies.
I don't leave home without....
I don’t leave home without my Gucci Mama sack of stuff - don’t ask me what’s in there, it is seriously the 21 century equivalent of Mary Poppins carpet bag!
People think I am ______ but I am really ________.
People think I am very organised but I am really forgetful and have to write everything down.
If I were not a life coach, I would be a fashion journalist or a travel writer.
Inner strength is so much sexier than outer strength.
Don’t get me wrong; muscles are great to look at, and I sure do appreciate a toned body. But knowing what you are made of – what resides in your insides – will serve you your whole life through.
I know a little something about this. 17 years ago this month I was handed a breast cancer diagnosis a little over a year after I welcomed my child, Hans, into the world. I was 33 and breastfeeding him. This was a time when I was concentrating on life: making a great one with my husband, Anders, and helping sculpt a carefree one with Hans. My own demise wasn’t ever part of the equation until, suddenly, it was.
Heretofore a flee-er (someone who deals with difficult situations by simply leaving the room or changing the subject), I got my first lessons with true inner strength thanks to my cancer.
Oh, how I wanted to bolt from my daily radiation appointments, when I faced the massive equipment sitting like an oracle in the center of the treatment room. After being positioned just so on my back, and asked to lie perfectly still, the last thing I heard were the words “all clear” from the technician hot-footing it from the room and the sound of the door closing with a solid ka-chunk behind her.
What I would have given to hold Anders’ hand at that moment! Or at least have another human being near. Chemotherapy was creepy, but at least it was social. For surgery I was unconscious, which has its advantages.
But I had no choice for radiation. Awake, alone and worried that crying would make me wobble too much, I spoke to myself with kind words.
“This is not fair, Sue. Not fair at all.”
“Just breathe. Every breath gets you one step closer to being out of this room.”
“All the freaky sounds from this machine are actually healing you.”
“You are doing great. All you have to do is just lie here. Just chill.”
These soothing thoughts allowed me to do what needed to be done.
That is how I accessed my inner strength that day. And every day for 6 weeks, I worked out that muscle. Every day it got easier. I grew stronger mentally, and started to reframe what I was capable of. I figured if I could get through this, I could get through anything, right?
After treatment ended, another thought snuck in. Maybe by sharing my positivity, I could help others walking in my shoes. In helping others, maybe … just maybe … I could reimagine my cancer experience. I could turn it from horrid into helpful. Hopeful.
Nowhere Hair was born from this desire. My children’s book was written for little ones who might not understand what’s happening to mommy during chemo. Children need to understand that cancer is not a germ that you can catch. Love and hugs and kisses are welcome more than ever. And the other big concept to impart is that a child did not cause his or her parent’s cancer. Refusing to eat vegetables did not cause it. Nor fighting with siblings. Basically, mom or dad’s cancer is not their fault.
The book asks adults to be strong enough to include their children in their cancer experience, instead of hiding it from them or shutting down their feelings by never addressing them.
I hired a fashion illustrator to remind women that even though they are bald and grieving their own lives, they are still brave and bold and beautiful. Stylish even. Nowhere Hair helps people big and small to find their voice.
So whether your inner strength comes when you call it with gentle words, or you need to access your bad-ass, fired-up, you-can-DO-THIS mojo-rising self, know one thing:
You are so much stronger than you think.
A marketing and advertising copywriter, Sue never thought she'd publish a book about this subject matter. But then, that's life for you. A 17-year breast cancer survivor, her award-winning children’s book Nowhere Hair is available from Amazon, both in English and translated into Spanish (¿y el pelo?).
Photo by Elyza Bleau
1. Expectful is a meditation app that was created to help mothers relax and de-stress as they go through motherhood. How exactly does this app work and connect with mothers around the world?
Expectful’s app and web-app provides fertility, pregnancy and new motherhood guided meditations that help to support women throughout their entire reproductive journey.
How our meditations connect with mothers all over the world is by speaking specifically to the common ups and downs that may come up within each stage of the journey - helping women to feel heard, supported and understood.
For example, in our fertility library we have a “Trusting Your Body” meditation that helps women connect with their bodies and find comfort in knowing that their body is doing it’s best to work with them in getting pregnant.
The same goes for our trimester specific pregnancy meditation libraries - in the first trimester for example, we have an “Embracing Uncertainty” meditation to help women adjust to all the changes and uncertainty that can come with the early stages of pregnancy.
Each meditation has been custom tailored to help a woman through all stages of motherhood.
2. What led you to such a platform as Expectful and how did it help you during your pregnancy?
I was introduced to Expectful when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, Annabell. I was going through a difficult career transition in my life and a good friend, who also helps to write Expectful meditations, reached out to tell me about Expectful’s beta (Expectful was in beta at the time) and recommended I try them out.
Although I was hesitant about meditation, I felt an internal drive to do my best to take care of my emotional well-being for both my baby and myself. So I committed to trying out their meditations for 30-days and made a goal to do it once every day.
I honestly couldn’t believe how quickly their meditations not only transformed my pregnancy but my life; they allowed me to connect with my baby in a way I didn’t even know was possible, they improved my relationship with my husband by helping me to approach him with more compassion and ease, they helped me sleep better, gave me more energy during the day and ultimately turned what I thought was going to be the most difficult trimester in my pregnancy - into the most beautiful and relaxing one.
3. Do you think that your mothering experience, including pregnancy and breastfeeding, would be different without having meditated with app?
Absolutely. Breastfeeding was really challenging for my baby and me. We had latch issues, milk production problems, etc. It felt like an hourly struggle and I felt how taxing it was on both my body and my mind.
Expectful’s meditations helped me to re-center myself as a new breastfeeding mother and really let me find compassion for myself and my baby at a time when we both needed it more than ever.
4. What role does meditation play in a healthy parenting lifestyle?
It helps you be more emotionally aware of yourself, which helps you be not only more emotionally available to your children, but also more empathic to what they are experiencing in any given moment. It also helps you live in the moment and be more present with your children, which is something we all need to be doing more of as parents today.
5. Can you please expand on the two nursing meditations that Expectful offers?
We have two nursing meditations on the platform that women can use to ease their minds.
One is “Patience” which is a big one when it comes to breastfeeding. This meditation helps women to focus on being in the present moment, guiding them to release thoughts about how well or not well breastfeeding is going. It gives them space to find calm in their perhaps overwhelmed mind and hard at work body.
Our second nursing meditation is “Letting Go,” which can be used for women who are breastfeeding or at a point where they would like to stop breastfeeding. For the woman who is breastfeeding, this meditation helps them to let go of anything that isn’t serving them, whether that’s thoughts about not being good enough, or any thoughts that arise when we are met with a challenge. For a woman who is stopping breastfeeding, this meditation helps them to feel confident and comfortable in doing what is best for them and their babies as they transition away from breastfeeding.
6. Why is it important to be in tune with your body emotionally, mentally, and physically to improve fertility and pregnancy?
We all know that our minds and bodies are connected. Meaning that the thoughts we have and the emotions those thoughts create has an impact on our bodies.
When it comes to fertility, we often think so much about the body - fueling it with healthy foods, exercising - but we sometimes forget that our minds need that same nourishment. When you support your mind, you support you body by helping to relieve tension, reduce stress and help balance hormones, which plays a big role in fertility.
In pregnancy, it’s important to understand there is a mind, body and baby connection. How you eat, what you feel, how you move, what you think - this all sends signals to your growing baby. The interesting thing in pregnancy is that these signals can sometimes determine how your baby develops in the womb - turning some genes on and others off - something that all the new advancements in epigenetics is just beginning to scratch the surface of.
7. How has meditation expanded into your daily life and routine?
Meditation is woven into the fabric of who I am and what I do. I meditate 20 minutes every morning and the reasoning behind why I practice everyday has morphed over time. What started as something to connect with my baby turned into something I did to have more energy to get through the day as a new mom. Now, I meditate because it reminds me everyday to be thankful for life and to truly live each moment. It expanded my daily life by waking me up to the fact that life is short and meant to be cherished as much as possible. To stumble across this realization as a new parent feels like winning the lottery because it helps me appreciate my daughter every moment.
Make sure to check out Expectful and their meditations to guide you through your motherhood journey!
Anna Gannon is a mom, the Community and Editorial Lead at Expectful, a Writer and a Yoga & Meditation Teacher. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Yoga Today and The Expectful Blog. Anna is passionate about the importance of the mind, body, and sometimes baby connection. Her mission is to improve women's emotional health during their fertility, pregnancy and new motherhood experience by sharing open and honest stories, educating them on the benefits of meditation and movement and most importantly, letting them know they are never alone.
"Waking up almost fifteen times at night to feed a baby" that was something I had set my mind into when I found out that I was pregnant because that's what everyone said -" you'll never get any sleep". But that's not at all the main thing I discussed when people asked me how my life changed after a baby. For me it was the opposite, I spoke of the amazing experience and the indescribable feeling of looking at a tiny person and knowing that she/he is yours, yours to take care of yours to give all your time and all your love and you become this person that this little life depends on, wow, that's the main thing that changed in my life after having a child.
Having a child is something I hope that everyone who wants to get to experience, the unconditional love, the amount of joy and the plus 100 sizes your heart grows.
The cliché of "kids are the meaning of life" is the truth, they are the future and they're the ones we start with if we want to make the world a better place, nothing happens over a night.
Small issues in life don't matter anymore, waking up everyday knowing you get to hug and kiss your child and watch him/her grow into a human being that you've raised and see the result of your hard work and dedication is the only thing that matters.
I love motherhood, I love being pregnant and I love to give birth. For me it's an honour to be able to do so.
My three pregnancies were so different from each other, my first pregnancy was an amazing experience without any difficulties besides morning sickness. I had a natural birth at week 41+2. My second pregnancy was a lot harder for me, getting pregnant when our firstborn was only three months and my body had not healed at all, so my hormones went all crazy I guess, by week 36 I began feeling depressed and I just knew that it had to do with my pregnancy, with help from the doctors I gave birth in week 37+1 but unfortunately it ended up in an emergency c-section where she lost her pulse and heartbeats, but she was a fighter and so was I and we ended up healthy and happy. My third pregnancy was a roller coaster, I was so happy being pregnant but it was hard taking care of two small children while having to deal with backpain and moodswings, loosing my temper and feeling guilty for it didn't help either. But I gave birth(natural birth) in week 40 to a healthy little boy.
I never breastfed our first born because it went wrong from day one with no help at the hospital and a hungry and crying baby. So I gave him formula and I pumped my breasts for three weeks and gave whatever milk that I had pumped out in a bottle.
With our second child I had decided that I would try everything I could to breastfeed and after the traumatic birth I really did everything to breastfeed for as long as it worked.
But believe me when I said it was anything but easy. I got mastitis four times and went to the emergency room every time because of to high fever that wouldn't give in. They recommended me to visit breastfeeding clinics to get help and etc, but I knew that it would end if I just got her to latch on right, and so I tried every breastfeeding position until I found one that felt the best and didn't hurt, it was sitting up and leaning a bit forward with her in my arms, I could never breastfeed lying down och leaning back.
With our third child the breastfeeding was a piece of cake because of my experience with kid number two, I had no issues or any pain not even a sore nipple. I breastfed both for five months and then changed to formula because it worked best with our hectical daily life with small children who all needed their time and space.
For me as a woman who got to carry the child my journey into motherhood started when I saw the plus sign. I grew into my role more and more and I still grow every day. I can't remember my character and my needs before I became a mother. This is who I'm meant to be in life.
I am 28 years old and a mother of three, married and I run my own company. I am high on life and family is everything.
There is so much to be learned when breastfeeding and there are a ton of things I wish I would've known. Above all things I think the most important lesson I learned is that so much of breastfeeding is controlled by the mind. Having a clear mind makes it easier to send signals to your body about calmness, producing and in my current situation weaning.
Here are ten things I noted on my journey that I hope will inspire, comfort and support moms thinking about breastfeeding or who are on this breastfeeding journey.
1. It is not always a match made in heaven. No matter how natural breastfeeding is, it still takes work. Work to establish a good relationship between mommy and baby, and work to establish the correct latch. It doesn't happen overnight. You have to work at it. Try not to get frustrated. Reset and try again when both of you are calm. You can do it, you are a superwoman!
2. It hurts! Sometimes, even with the correct latch you will feel sore. All of a sudden there is a baby nursing around the clock. Your body has to adjust. Don't let that put you off! It's normal. But, this is where you need to find that strength to push on! Dig deep, take a deep breath, use that nipple cream and push on! Usually after a few weeks the soreness subsides. Stick with it, you'll thank yourself later, you are a super woman!
3. Your emotions will run wild! Even after finding your rhythm, things change. Cluster feeds, growth spurts. Am I producing enough? Is she full? I don't know how much he drank! Is he latching properly because it's hurting again? My boobs feel SO FULL. She's been nursing all day! I've experienced all of these things, and sometimes all in one day! I've cried, we've cried, she's cried. Most times, it's absolutely normal, and we are just working ourselves up. Try not to stress too much about it. If you're concerned ask your doctor. If not, push through, you are a super woman!
4. Once you get the hang of it, you'll feel totally bad ass! Just wait for it! Breastfeeding is SO convenient and SO empowering! No bottles, no bottle warmer, just your tatas full of milk! Travelling? No need to pack bottles for take off, or rush to the store for formula. You've got it on tap! Being able to feed on demand, when I wanted to and where I needed to was so convenient! It reminded me just how badass the female body is! We are super women!
5. It's harder to find "me time", and sometimes all your baby will want is you! Don't feel bad if you want to run, scream, get away or hide! You will literally be your baby's lifeline. At one point, my daughter wouldn't even go to her father. I became her life size pacifier. Chances are you will go through something similar, whenever she is hungry, sad, tired, cranky, upset she will want you! That can get exhausting. Make sure you have a strong support system, it will help you to get through those moments where you feel you have no energy left. Stick it out, super woman, you got this even at 2am when your partner is fast asleep!
6. If you miss a feeding be prepared to leak! There has been numerous awkward occasions (at work talking to coworker, on the dance floor at a wedding, date night) when you'll finally get out of the house and realize that you've forgotten your nursing pads and BANG wet tshirt contest, and not the hot and sexy ones! Keep an extra shirt in your purse, laugh it off and move on! Don't be hard on yourself, you are a super woman!
7. If you miss a feeding, you might get mastitis. Okay, this one is not so funny. Mastitis can happen when you have a blocked duct. It can occur if you miss a feeding or if you do not adequately empty the breast. I got it twice. You experience flu like symptoms and sometimes will have to take an antibiotic to prevent infection. It's the strangest thing that a blocked duct can make you feel like you have the flu but it happens. Don't stress, call your GP and they will advise you. You also have to continue to breastfeed through it to release the blocked duct. Crazy? Yes! Superwoman, I know!
8. Pumping is HARD WORK! Being chained to a breast pump gets depressing! I went back to work when my daughter was five months. I pumped every single day, twice per day for SEVEN MONTHS! It takes commitment. You get busy, but you have to take the time to pump. Do it for YOU, and for YOUR BABY! Don't let work get in the way! My daughter cleaned through her supply pretty early on, I was literally pumping milk for the next day. If I missed a feeding it meant I had to scramble to figure out how to get 12 oz for the next day. Yes, I was pumping 6 oz twice a day! If I can do it, you can do it, we are Superwomen after all!
9. You have to dress for breastfeeding. Keep in mind easy access to the goods when you get dressed. Don't be like me, in the back seat of the car, dress off trying to breastfeed. Or in the shower room trying to figure out how to pump wearing a fitted knee length work dress. Go for two pieces. But if you don't, you'll figure it out and you'll feel like a Superwoman for doing it.
10. You are a Superwoman! I guess by now you have figured out that I think mother's are Superwomen. You will be surprised at the confidence you gain knowing that your milk is what is keeping your baby thriving. You will go through many ups and downs, it wont always be easy, it won't always be beautiful but it will be an experience like no other. You will bond in a way that is indescribable. You will miss the moments when they are gone, so cherish them while you are going through it. Through it all, remember that you are, even after housing this baby, still sacrificing your body to continue to keep your baby alive. Literally. And that is Superhuman!
Suzanne Khan is a mother of two, Riley (6) and Reese (16 months) and step-mother (aka Bonus Mom!) of one, Azari (12). She has been married to Azeem Khan for 5 years, together for 10. She was born and raise and currently resides on the island of Bermuda. She currently works as at an Investment Manager as a Portfolio Manager and also is the owner of a Maternity Concierge service company, SARRA K where she helps mothers to get prepared for the arrival of their baby. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and traveling and is currently studying to be a doula and lactation counselor.
Amy, founder of pumpspotting, has had her fair share of boob-ventures. She’s nursed in parks and playgrounds and parking lots and on hiking trails. She’s pumped in makeshift offices, dressing rooms, backseats, bathroom stalls and even between businessmen at 20,000 feet. She’s hand expressed, endured mastitis, seen many a look from others and a new level of crazy from herself when the frozen milk she shipped cross-country didn’t arrive. All in all, she’s had quite the journey.
And so have many, countless other moms.
Women all over the world nourish their sweet babes every moment of the day. Some mamas experience journeys free of complications while others hit nearly every pump in the milk making road. Despite the differences, all of us mamas have (even momentarily) felt alone. But we are not alone… there is a collective energy among us.
And Amy had the heart to harness that energy for the greater mama good.
Amy dreamed up pumpspotting with her heart, mind and boobs to develop a solution for the loneliness, the lack of support and the long seasons of nursing or pumping. The essence of pumpspotting is about bringing mamas (and mama supporters) together to connect and share stories along with killer pumping spots so that we don’t feel so isolated on our own boob-ventures. Breastfeeding can be hard. It is downright grueling at times between the nipple pain, on demand feeds around the clock and the endless need to pump in any and all spaces. That’s why this app was created: To support breastfeeding mothers in all their forms. To elevate experiences so that we change places, perceptions, and ultimately, the percentage of women worldwide who meet their breastfeeding goals.
Pumpspotting is women for women, mamas for mamas. It provides uplifting messages, breastfeeding + pumping tips and real life stories – never hiding any challenges. It is a way to harness this community of boobs, milk makers and milk supporters so that we may never feel alone. Mamas: together, we’ve got this.
The best places to connect with pumpspotting:
On the app, of course. Download the app to be able to: Connect over mamahood, nipple cream, and the many trials and triumphs of nursing and pumping. Find a pumpspot near you because as mamas post their local gems (or duds) for us all to see. Share your own spots to help fellow mamas feed their babes and relieve their boobs.
Over on Instagram where we post daily inspiration, tips and stories to encourage and support ALL the mamas.
On our Kickstarer Campaign: With just 7 days left in our campaign, we are SO close to being able to bring barb, our breast express RV, cross country to really connect with moms. Our US tour will go town-to-town next spring, allowing us to iterate on the app as we go, drive conversations and awareness and better understand the state of breastfeeding so we can build something that makes it easier, even on those hardest of days.
We at pumpspotting will never stop showing up for mamas, and we’d love for you to join us.
Breastfeeding has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced and has created the most amazing bond between me and my little girl. As I hold her in my arms and look into her eyes, she reaches her little hand up to touch my face and in that moment everything in the world seems perfect.
How wonderful is it to know that your body has the ability to create life, give life and nourish life. It was an emotional journey, but such a rewarding one as my little girl and I got to know each other a little bit more through every feed.
The toughest things in life often have the greatest rewards, so be patient and keep trying. It will all be worth it in the end. Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful ways of expressing your love to your baby.
My name is Donne Morgan, I am a 26 year old mother of one. Born and raised in beautiful South Africa and currently living in Dubai.
As we begin our celebration of Breastfeeding Month in August, we are joined by Anne Margolis of Home Sweet Home Birth, equipping us with important knowledge in how in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a crucial aspect of the transition of mothers from pregnancy into the postpartum stage and plays a large role in the new infants' health. Anne is here to provide us with tips on nurturing both mother and baby and advice on helping mothers to be more connected to their bodies.
Are you prepared to breastfeed your baby? Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1) Prepare in advance with education and 2) Get support
Whether you are expecting one baby, multiples, or plan to tandem nurse, the best way to prepare to breastfeed is the same as the best way to have the most positive birth outcome: through education during pregnancy when you do not know about it! More and more mamas today approach their birth full of information and support, which is great! But many mamas do little to prepare themselves for breastfeeding their precious little ones before they are faced with it postpartum. In addition, It is much easier when you are determined, surrounded by breastfeeding mamas and support - which you can seek out while pregnant, and have a natural unmedicated birth. It is harder without all that, but absolutely doable. My Love Your Birth online course goes into much more detail about breastfeeding and preparing yourself in advance with knowledge and support, the hows and whys, and what you can do to prevent potential common breastfeeding mistakes and set yourself up for optimal success.
Breastfeeding is a magical experience for the entire family, and it's one I am proud to support whole heartedly - especially as it's so incredibly beneficial for mamas and babies, on many levels. I am determined to help mamas and babies get the support they need so their breastfeeding journey is a successful one. I have helped thousands of mamas on their breastfeeding journeys, and am happy to share the wisdom from my education and those experiences with you.
Photo of @mamacarlock is by @kindredphotographer
Breastfeeding is a natural process healthy mamas and babies know how to do. But it’s not always easy. Natural, unfortunately, doesn’t necessarily equal easy, especially in the beginning, and for first timers! It is a learned instinct, but once you and baby get it, it can be so easy, even pleasurable and incredibly worth it. While many do get it right away, for others there is a learning curve that takes a few weeks to get into your groove, and sometimes extra support is needed - especially if it's your first experience and you are not surrounded by mamas breastfeeding, as women were throughout history since the beginning of time, and still are in many parts of the world. It is the way all mammals naturally feed their babies.
This mama pig is so full of the oxytocin and prolactin hormones, she is completely relaxed and in pig mama bliss. Animals just know what to do. In unusual cases, if a baby animal is having difficulty in the wild, they did not survive. And that is simply part of wildlife reality. If an animal is owned by a person, they usually help the rare little one that is having trouble. Humans who are passionate about breastfeeding but facing challenges are fortunate to have all sort of lactation support, wet nurses, donor milk banks, pumping, storage and alternative feeding methods to get babies breast milk.
3) Start breastfeeding within the first hour postpartum, or as early as possible by 4) placing skin to skin and allowing for the breast crawl
The first hour after postpartum is an ideal time to start breastfeeding as babies are naturally wide awake, alert, and have strong suck, root and crawl reflexes - from the hormones of undisturbed childbirth. Make sure the lights are dim and the room is quiet. Place baby skin to skin on your abdomen or chest.
Healthy babies have reflexes to actually crawl up and find their way to the breast, find the nipple and start sucking on their own. It takes patience but there is no rush - and it's truly amazing to watch. Check out movies like "The Breast Crawl." There are plenty like this on you tube. Healthy postpartum mamas have a huge heart, the maternal instinct to love and care for their babies enhanced by the hormonal cocktail circulating in the body after undisturbed birth; and their breasts are filled with colostrum - commonly referred to as liquid gold, that transitions in a few days to breast milk which completely meets your babies' needs at least for the first 6 months and beyond.
5) Make sure baby's latch is wide
It's optimal for them to be allowed and encouraged to do their crawl up to your breast, but yes, there are times when some assistance is needed. But don't give up. If baby is falling asleep and your efforts to wake baby have not worked, or baby does seem frustrated and is starting to get fussy trying to find your nipple, there are things you can do to help. You will have an easier time getting her to breastfeed before the crying starts. Sit up and get yourself comfortable with pillow support as needed, hold your baby in one bent arm so his face is directly in front of your breast a tad below your nipple, leaving your other arm free.
When your baby is held close, facing your nipple, wait for baby to open his or her mouth wide enough to get a good latch to breastfeed. A good latch includes as much of your areola as possible - the darker circular area surrounding your nipple, where the breast milk is contained, as well as your nipple, where the milk is released into baby's mouth. Baby needs to compress and squeeze the milk out of your milk sinuses in the areola prior to sucking - which are all part of the breastfeeding process.
Sometimes baby's latches are occasionally shallow in the early learning stages, which usually means baby is sucking mostly on the nipple; this not only feels painful, but also baby is not getting the proper amount of milk needed. If that happens, press down on the nipple with your finger to release baby's strong latch and try again. Until you both get the hang of it, you may need to hold your breast as this mama is doing, and slide the nipple up and down against baby's lips. This will stimulate baby to open wide and then you bring baby to your breast to feed. Practice and patience do make perfect and are well worth it.
It is crucial to have lactation support available. Sometimes all you need is some wisdom from other seasoned breastfeeding moms or your local La Leche leader. Often guidance from your midwife does the trick. If not, and more extensive assistance is needed, do not hesitate to contact your local lactation consultant. Make sure to ask that needed help right away, as the earlier breastfeeding is established the better for both you and baby. It does take a village of love. We must bring back that village.
"The newborn baby has only three (main) demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." ~ Grantly Dick-Read.
Anne Margolis CNM of HomeSweetHomebirth.com
Let Me Help You Not only Rock Your Breastfeeding, but also....Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life. Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas. Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams. And have a blissful birth wherever you are. More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration! Let me show you how to…
- Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
- Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
- Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
- Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
- Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
- Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth
Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process! I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported women with locally for over 20 years in my private practice and I’ve poured all of my love, passion, knowledge and experience into creating something truly special for you
To learn more, visit: LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!
I have been breastfeeding my son for almost 5 months now, but my feelings about breastfeeding really took a turn a few weeks ago when I was at a restaurant and for some reason, I did not feel confident enough to feed my son while we were sitting enjoying our food.
I was told that it was not “appropriate”. He was hungry and fussy and I decided it was best to take him to the bathroom to feed him. I stood in this tiny dirty, smelly bathroom while people were banging on the door wanting to use it. I then decided I better move and let those waiting use the restroom, again I got chased out. I proceeded to stand in a corner outside the restaurant kitchen to feed my crying hungry baby… I started to get upset, started to cry, what am I doing? And why? Why was I so afraid to inconvenience anyone to feed my son? Why did I allow myself to be shamed into a corner? Literally. This was wrong, and no mother should have to feel like this, like she has to hide to nurse her hungry baby so not to bother those around her.
I came back to the table and said “never again”, from now on I will feed my son whenever wherever. Period. If I ever see another mother struggling to feed her baby in public, I would say to her, you got this mama, you don't need to go anywhere. We have to support mothers not alienate them, they are raising the future and deserve respect.
Dana: The_luxe_mom on Instagram
I'm originally from New York, where it's totally acceptable for a mom to breastfeed without problems. I now live in Denver, and there is this Bible Belt mentality. I'm often told, "were old fashioned" which is funny to me because breastfeeding was around before anything "old fashioned". I'm a stay at home mom to my son which is an adjustment from having a career in New York. Now I want to work on developing a fun supportive network for moms like me, who may be a little lost in their new reality.