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New York City is where Breastfeeding World began, to us this amazing beautiful city is full of magic and dreams come true. This past April 7th our dearest friend Molly Ades from Soul Ma invited me to join her and the rest of our beloved NYC mamas at the 2018 MommyCon.

With much excitement we initiated the trip back home and decided that during our time there we would be hosting one of our iconic NYC’s Breastfeeding World Photo sessions.

During these past few years that I’ve had the opportunity of photographing women from so many different backgrounds I’ve learned that less is better. I’ve always wanted to showcase the essence of what breastfeeding looks like in their daily lives and this was not going to be any different.

NYC’s Breastfeeding World, empowering women one picture at a time

Motherhood itself can be challenging, being a nursing mother in a super busy city is not as easy as it may seem. Standing up for the normalization of breastfeeding in public can be intimidating but doing it with a group of women that you know support you and share your same goal is truly empowering.

Breastfeeding is natural, breastfeeding is pure, breastfeeding is love… Kimmy Meyer

“Breastfeeding was something I knew I definitely would do for my baby. I don’t remember when I made that decision along my journey of pregnancy, but I knew that I didn’t want to formula feed. I read a ton of books while pregnant which made me aware of all the amazing things breastfeeding can provide for my baby.

One of the best books I read was La Leche League’s book, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” I decided to breastfeed because I read about all the health benefits my son gets from breastmilk. His health is a top priority to me so this just made sense. I love the bond we’ve created now from breastfeeding as he’s been exclusively breastfed now for 6 months.” – Kimmy Meyer

Photo by our founder Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography Photo by our founder Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography #DidYouKnow New York State was the first state in the nation to pass a law protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed in public.

It is a civil rights law, NY CLS Civ R 79-e (Article 7 Miscellaneous Provisions).

1994 NY ALS 98; 1994 NY LAWS 98; 1994 NYSN 3999 79-e Right to Breast Feed. Not with standing any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother’s breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

Sometimes pictures that have less of a “production” per say encompass more of the reality.

One of the many blessings I’ve had with creating this beautiful platform and seeing it grow is having met many families that throughout these years have grown together with us and who have formed strong and personal relationships as well as amazing friendships.

Lissette, Ralph and little Lola

During NYC’s Breastfeeding World photo session I had the chance of seeing this amazing family again. They’ve accompanied us since our very first NYC Big Latch On back in 2015.

Seeing Lola grow up and knowing her mom’s determination for breastfeeding has given me so much joy.

Photo by our founder Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography

“When I was pregnant, my original goal was to breastfeed at least 6 months. That was very hopeful for me because I came from a large family where there was always a new baby around but breastfeeding was not something that was usually celebrated or encouraged. I was happy to find support in my sister, who became well versed in the benefits of breastfeeding through her job at a W.I.C. Office.

I found more support in various facebook groups, which lead me to the 1st NYC Big Latch On event. Where I found so much enlightenment that I resolved to breastfeed as long as it was best for my daughter and I. During this photo shoot, I was very emotional because seeing other moms nursing their younger babies made me realize how I took for granted how amazing being able to breastfeed for this long truly is. How much comfort and love my child still finds in nursing 3 and a half years later.

How we made it all the way here from not even being able to get a latch and having to give her a couple ounces of formula when she was first born. All the panic from those early days, erased by an amazing breastfeeding relationship nearly 4 years later.” – Lissette Perez

Photo by our founder Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography Liza Price

During NYC’s Breastfeeding World photo session we had the tremendous pleasure of seeing this mama return. Liza participated in our photo project back in 2014 with her little Reuben. This year we had the opportunity to meet her second baby boy who gave us so many smiles and reminded us why we started and why we keep on going.

Photo by our founder Alexia Garcia – Alegares Photography Raquel Sandino & Baby Joseph

“I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. My mother breastfed both my brothers and I so it just seemed natural to me. I never realized how stressful and sometimes painful it would be in the beginning, but I had my mother and my best friend who also breastfed her daughter to encourage and help me along the way.

Joseph and I are now 19 months in with no plans on stopping until he self-weans. I love the bond that was forged through breastfeeding and wouldn’t have it any other way.”- Raquel Sandino

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“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

As my son and I watched The Lorax the other day, I couldn’t help but think about Mother Earth Day coming up.

My son, throughout the movie, asked questions and at the very end asked one that really hit home. “Will that ever happen here Mommy?”

He was referring to the state of Thneedville, the destruction of all the Truffula trees, the sad state of the animals, and the need for bottled air. I could understand his concern. The moment that last Truffula tree fell, my heart sank as well. I took this as the perfect opportunity to tell him about how we, he and I, could help our planet.

How we could do our part to help save our Mother Earth and keep this from happening here and now. Although he is still young, there are plenty of (fun!) things we can do together to make a difference.

In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share with you the ideas we had! 1. Recycle

Teach your child about recycling and allow them to sort out the recycling in your home. This will start a live long habit for them!

2. Garden

A great way to start is to create an eggshell garden inside first. Then once they seedlings are ready, you take them outside and plant them together. This allows your little ones to actually see the seeds sprout and watch over them before they are planted outside. No matter where you live, gardening is possible…with or without a backyard! And there is something just so very rewarding when you are able to grow something from a seed!

3. Turn off the lights

Since my son is still a tad shy of being able reach the light switches, I purchased the extenders and taught him to turn the light off each time he leaves the room.

4. Conserve water

Teach them to turn off the water while they are brushing their teeth. Once they are a bit older, teach them how to take shorter showers, how to turn off the water when they are washing their hands, etc.

5. Open the windows

Anytime that we can, we turn the A/C off and we open the windows! We love letting the fresh air blow through the house all while saving electricity!

6. Grill

My son loves to help me get the grill ready and to be outside with me while I grill. This saves electricity inside (no oven or stove needed) and also allows us to be outside with the fresh air and sunshine!

7. Use your imagination and senses

Find creative ways to play without electricity and screens. Build a city with Playdough, create a construction site with Kinetic Sand, make a bird feeder out of bagels, peanut butter and seeds. There are so many interactive and fun activities that the list really is endless!

8. Go outside!

This one is our favorite! Turn off the lights, turns off the screens, put away all electronics. Explore nature, appreciate her and soak in the beauty all around you!

While this list is by no means inclusive, I hope that it provides a jumping off point for you and your littles to give back to our great planet. The more we teach our children now, the less we have to worry about the state our Mother Earth will be in when they inherent her.

If you have other great ideas to share, be sure to post them in the comments below!

Happy Earth Day!
Be sure to join us in our social media accounts and be up to date with the progress of our project And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our hashtag #BreastfeedingWorld

 

The post Our Mother Earth: Earth Day Activities appeared first on Breastfeeding World.

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Breastfeeding World by Katherine Hovey - 1y ago
Mom guilt is real.

It’s a fact for most mothers. It hits us when we need it the least, settles in and cracks our hearts. Your child falls. Their head hits the bottom corner of your coffee table within the blink of an eye. And instantly you feel like the worst person on the planet. In addition to nearly crying with your screaming baby, your can’t help but swell up with a trillion ideas on how you could have prevented the situation from happening in the first place. An instance that is now in the past–it’s over–all that matters now is the comfort and well being of your child. Yet we moms can only think “What if…”, we grab our babes, cuddle, and think “If only I had just…”.

To someone who isn’t a mother, this could simply be disregarded as dramatic overthinking. However, I think once one becomes a mother, the feeling of anxiety gets programmed into their DNA and is meant to go hay wire the second something starts to go wrong. Guilt can be assessed on a spectrum: there’s guilt on the far left, guilt on the far right and more guilt in between. Do you find yourself on the spectrum?

When we’re confused, our bodies have funny ways of coping during tough situations.

Many responses happen to be very instinctively and others just plain rash and unhelpful. So, I’ve created a list of the most helpful and sensible ways to react when mommy guilt it kicks in, that has worked from my experience.

1. Accept your feelings for what they are

Right now you may be feeling a sense of shame or pain in something that has happened to you or your child. This is where your fight or flight reaction shines. If you’re like me, you take the time to wallow in the guilt and replay the scenario over and over again, regardless if this is a situation of me wanting time alone or freaking out about my baby taking a spill on the carpet.

Then there are others who instinctively fight. No, I don’t mean literally fight with yourself or your baby, but rather fight for a healthier mind set. The best way to initiate combating these thoughts and fears is to accept them as possibilities. Yes, your baby just fell. Yes you’re going to get that alone time, and you may very well enjoy it and forget about your baby all together, but in order to move past these unforgiving thoughts you need to not shame yourself.

Do not let the guilt turn into shame.

Remind yourself that your moral character is never in question. These scenarios occur based off of actions and decisions alone. You are not a bad mother because something happened that you didn’t plan on or stop from occurring. If you go on to blame who you are as a person then the guilt going to manifest itself into something beyond what it truly is.

2. Be prepared to analyze how you reacted

Just this past week my daughter fell ill with a terrible stomach bug. We were trying to get back into our normal routine, but because she’s still feeling nauseous it’s made her a bit wobbly and weaker during play time. I told myself that I should reposition the couch and move it closer to the foam mat because it shifted. Well, I never did it. And not even 30 minutes later my baby was clinging onto the couch and lost her grip, fell backwards and smacked her head– half on the mat and half on the tile flooring.

I felt horrible, blaming myself for the entire situation.

Instantly I thought, If only I’d moved the couch or didn’t allow her to play as normal because she’s sick...

I figured that would have prevented all the hurt for the both of us.

At first this may seem hypocritical of the step above, but there’s a distinction between the two. Wallowing in your sorrows is certainly not the same as taking a step back to asses what just happened, that would mean that no progress had been made and that the only thoughts would be of those demeaning you as a person.

In order to analyze our levels of guilt, like all measurements, we need a scale and there is one for this exact exercise. The Taxonomy of Guilt was created by a professor of psychological and brain sciences, Susan Whitbourne, at UMASS Amherst.

“Guilt comes in many forms. But when all is said and done, it can be boiled down to a set of five basic types.”

With that said, here are the 5 types of guilt and their causes, as developed by Whitbourne:
  • Superstitious Guilt: This is felt after you believe to have set something in motion, for example wishing ill on somebody and then finding out they’re in the hospital a week later.
  • Survivors Guilt: Not having suffered the way that others have.
  • Self Guilt: About something you did.
  • Scarcity Guilt: Referred to as caregivers guilt, most mom guilt lands in this category. It’s felt when you think you’ve not done enough for someone in need.
  • Fantasy Guilt: This happens when you feel guilty for something you haven’t done

Applying the scale to help asses which level of guilt I felt when my daughter fell is fairly simple. In that moment I was feeling superstitious guilt because of having the thought of an accident happening without my moving the couch, which at the time I believed her fall was my fault for not preventing a hypothetical issue. Without assessing, this could easily be blamed on Self Guilt. However, when you separate your feelings and morals in question, from your actions and thoughts, you can clearly see which level this scenario lands under.

3. Say bye-bye to choosing self esteem over acceptance

This is going to be short and sweet. As humans, to survive an unsatisfied mentality our brains compensate for a lack in proud moments and thoughts, by choosing to not focus on the negative aspects of ourselves. This becomes an issue when something bad happens to us or our children because we tend to expose those feelings when we’re already down. It seems to be human nature to beat ourselves up more than we need to and saving those negative impressions of ourselves is the worst (but best) way to do that.

What do I mean by choosing self acceptance over self esteem? Simple.

The moment you make a mistake or do something wrong, learn from it, tell yourself it will be okay and move on.

Acting perfect and presuming nothing ever goes wrong in your life is going to make things that much harder when it comes time to admit your concerning thoughts. This is because it will be much harder to discuss a plethora of problems of your own with someone you’ve never brought them up to before. Labels never settle well so stop calling yourself “good” or “bad,” yet just look to yourself with an open heart and let things be.

Find solace in knowing that you will never be perfect, nobody ever is, but you are enough and that is exactly what matters.

Finding self-acceptance can take days, weeks, months, or years and sometimes people go an entire life time without discovering it within themselves. Take a few moments to try this next step to help kick start your self acceptance journey.

4. Be your own cheerleader

Who needs a BF when you have a confident outlook on yourself. Self-confidence is one of those things that is ALWAYS easier said than done. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is one simple exercise that will help you cope with self inflicted guilt. It will also encourage you to feel more confidence as a mother! Remember back in middle school health class, or when you were talking to your schools counselor, and they told you how to give self affirmations? In a way this is just like that, but from a more concentrated perspective.

Grab a pen and a paper. If you’re feeding a baby or too tired to get up, simply use your phone, or do this in your head. First, make a list of 5 positive things you’ve done for your baby or children today. This can be anything from preparing their favorite meal to changing their diaper the moment you noticed it was dirty…anything. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just the great things that make you a mother. Maybe you bought your son a new toy or cleaned the floors in your daughters room. Easy right? Keep going, write five more.

Is it all starting to flow now? Maybe today was a day about you and you’re having a hard time thinking of things. If so, write down what you did today to help yourself be a better person, like taking a shower to rejuvenate yourself to be peppier when taking care of your littles (or taking a break to read a book to calm your stress so that you’re more positive when addressing your family). All of these things matter and are GOOD!

Next I want you to take a minute and realize the impact each of those actions has.

A pretty big impact, and an important one at that!


“Often we don’t thank ourselves for the good things, rather we spend too much time focusing on the negative.”

The society we live in has programmed our brains to over think the negative aspects of our day to day life. Really think about it. Each morning and night we hear tragedy after tragedy on the news leaving room for maybe one happy story during the news reel. How often do you leave a review for a business when you’ve had a positive experience? Not that often, right? But what if someone has done you wrong? You’re all over that! That business will never sell another cupcake to anyone if you have anything to do about it (by the way, they gave you blue frosting instead of pink…yeah I know, people).

And guess what, we do the exact same thing to our self esteems.

We need to give our awesome mom brains more credit for doing the dishes later rather than not at all. Thank yourself for deciding to pick up the minefield of legos your child left for you “play” with. Thank you for doing what you do! You’re awesome and have a lot more successes to focus on than you know.

Be sure to join us in our social media accounts and be up to date with the progress of our project! And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our hashtag #BreastfeedingWorld

 

The post When Mom Guilt Kicks In appeared first on Breastfeeding World.

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Growing up Mexican, I am familiar with fajas.

I was introduced to this tool by Mom and my great Tia-abuela (Great Aunt who I just call “Tia”).  Looking back, I have vague memories of my Tia giving me advice on how to care for my body during menses. I remember her telling me how to rub my panza (tummy), how important it is that I wear socks all year long “para que nada se salle”. I realize now that she was speaking of prolapse and low lying cervix’s and telling me to use heat packs to return the heat to myself.

During pregnancy, there were more advice.

A frequent one was, if I was going to “fajarme”, she would ask or tell me “Si te vas a fajar par que te livias bein, no?” (You are going to use the faja so you recover correctly, right?)

I would respond, “I don’t know,” and then I would ask if it really even works. What is the truth to it?

She couldn’t really tell me facts, only stories of all the women who she knew who did and didn’t, and what their results were–especially the ones who didn’t do it. She’s expand on how not doing it let the cold air stay and cause problems in their bodies.

I just figured this was an old wives tale and chose not to fajar myself.

After my son was born, I experienced the natural side effects of birth. I didn’t like what I was feeling, the feeling of my intestinal organs moving inside me because of the vast open space left after my baby exited my body–and how unsupported my body felt because my abdominal wall was so weak from being stretched so much! I completely regretted not listening to my Tia and mom. I was being the stubborn woman that Iam and chose not to admit that I was wrong.

I did make a promise to myself that after my future children were born, I would “Fajarme.”

During the pregnancy of my second child, my husband bought me a faja after asking my mom and Tia for advice.

After my daughter was born my aunt and mom gave me a tummy massage using pomado de árnica and wrapped my tummy.  I ate hot foods, drinks and made sure to keep my socks on. The difference was so noticeable! Like Whoa. I felt fully supported and I was standing tall. Good thing, since using a faja can help with posture.

I was sold. This amazing family tradition is definitely being passed down. And I am so happy to be the guardian and carrier of it.

Since learning this beautiful postpartum care technique, I have used it for myself with my 3rd and 4th children.
This 4th baby was an even more intimate session for me as I was by myself. I had a home birth, and my husband wrapped me. After a hot shower, hot tea and hot food, I gave myself a nice warm stomach massage that my Tia taught me. I used an essential oil recipe that my beautiful midwife (and friend back home in California) shared with me. Then, my husband wrapped me while our sweet baby slept near by.
It was so intimate and precious.

Want to know other self care techniques after birth? Read this.

Be sure to join us in our social media accounts and be up to date with the progress of our project! And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our hashtag #BreastfeedingWorld

 

The post My Faja and I: A Postpartum Wrapping Tradition appeared first on Breastfeeding World.

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I’ve discovered there are different truths for everyone when it comes to breastfeeding.

However, I have also discovered there are universal truths for every…single… mom who decides to make this relationship a top priority. Every mother and child relationship varies from another. Some find their journey almost unbearable in the beginning, but like second nature once things progress. Other moms never have any difficulty in production, latching, or convenience. (Bless Them.)

Below are a few statements I have discovered to be true when speaking with any mom on the breastfeeding.

Not all Breastfeeding Journies are the same Burpie time when he      was a little bitty

Prior to my sons birth I watched videos on latching. I read blogs on milk production. I also studied every breastfeeding hold there is. None of this really prepared me for what would be my journey with my child.

I learned that babies born prematurely will have a harder time than babies born closer to their due date. Some babies are born with tongue or lip ties that make latching near impossible or can cause extreme pain for mommy. And then there were some mothers that I learned never have a single issue.

From the beginning, I discovered that what Gabriel and I had set before us was uniquely ours. It was a groove that we were going to have to find and a trust we were going to need to build in order to save what was beginning as a set up for failure. Between unapproved formula being administered to my child to nipple shields, we had serious kinks to work out in order to save our unique journey.

You May Not Be Supported

Some people just do not understand breastfeeding. Other’s may have had a bad experience and quit early on may try to make you believe that you will, too. They may use phrases like, “You can use formula if this doesn’t work,” or “Don’t be discouraged if in a few days you realize how hard this really is and want to give up.”

While it would be fantastic for all moms to support you, or be amazing to not worry if someone is going to give you a dirty look in the restaurant, this isn’t always the case. You will get stares, you will feel unsupported at times and you will have to simply ignore it.

It is an Emotional Journey

Breastfeeding is the one thing my son and I share that no one else gets to share with him. We women carry our child for 9 months and we go through all that it entails. Once our baby has arrived, they can be quickly “taken” from us and passed around to each grandparent, aunt, friend or in-law there is. Breastfeeding is a way to ensure that mommy and baby have their much-needed time together. It is beneficial and crucial, not only in the first few months, but even for seasoned relationships.

15 months old When baby is sick, tired, hurting, teething, scared, clingy, nervous, or unsure, breastfeeding offers a safe haven.

It is what is best for you and your child because it is the path you have chosen.

“The advantages of breastmilk are so astounding that if pregnant women were required mandatory education on the benefits of breastfeeding prior to giving birth, I truly believe that more moms would not only decide to forego the formula, but that they would *try harder when times felt tough.”

*Not intended for those with supply issues or that simply can’t breastfeed.

Not only is it best health wise, it is best because it honestly does not matter if you decide to breastfeed 3 weeks, 3 months, or 3 years. The length of time you breastfeed is what is best for you both because that is your decision.

And it is okay if people don’t get that. It is okay if they think you need to stop. It is okay if they silently criticize. They aren’t your child’s parent.

Breastfeeding Isn’t without Challenges

There may be clogged ducts, mastitis, cracked nipples, latching issues, low milk supplies, and more. But there is also education on each and every one of these challenges. Through research, blogs, support groups like mine on Facebook and counselors or consultants, there is help to overcome these obstacles.

Not all Pediatricians will be supportive or fully educated on breastfeeding. Some may make you feel you aren’t producing enough milk. Some may not understand why you decided to delay feeding solids until baby is a year old. Some may think it selfish and just for your own gain and self pleasure that you are taking this route. Unless your child is malnourished or lacking vital nutrients, then either ignore snide and blatant remarks or find a Pediatrician that is supportive.

Finally, Breastfeeding is for you and your child alone We are 20 months in.

It can be for the mom who wants to pump and breastfeed, for the mom who wants to supplement and breastfeed, and for the mom who wants to breastfeed exclusively and on demand. It can be for the mom who chooses extended breastfeeding.

Whatever breastfeeding looks like for you, Mama, it is yours, you know best, and it is no ones business to tell you otherwise. You just let it go in one ear and out the other and when someone nods in approval, applauds you, or gets you…you just look them in the eyes, smile and know that they get it!!

Nurse on, Mama!!
XOXO

Be sure to join us in our social media accounts and be up to date with the progress of our project! And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our hashtag #BreastfeedingWorld

 

The post The Truth About Breastfeeding appeared first on Breastfeeding World.

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