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Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

“There’s no use crying over spilled milk.”

A mantra for the breastfeeding mother.

In honor of Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day we’ve decided to share some valuable words of wisdom to all the breastfeeding mothers out there that have definitely cried over spilled milk. Adjusting to a breastfeeding routine can be challenging for any mom and spilled milk definitely feels like a tragedy when you’re just getting the hang of it.

Pumping breast milk can be a challenge in itself and any milk that goes to waste can be traumatizing for women who are experiencing a low milk supply or even moms feeling stressed their baby isn’t eating enough. 

We want to assure you, it’s all going to be okay.

Whether you’ve knocked over some precious ounces of freshly pumped breast milk or accidentally let some expire, you’ve definitely had a moment of breastfeeding-induced anxiety. No matter what, it’s going to be fine and work itself out. Even if that feels impossible. Whenever things get tough, seize the opportunity to build yourself up. 

You are incredible.

Do you know how incredible it is to not only make a firm decision about your parenting style but to stick it through? That’s amazing. Not to mention it’s astonishing how your body can build a human from scratch and produce food for that small person to live! If you ask us, you’re already too amazing to feel let down over some spilled milk. 

It might be tough, and you’re entitled to a few bad days but it’s important to look on the bright side. Motherhood, parenting, breastfeeding and pumping won’t go according to plan, that much we can tell you for certain. Learn to laugh at the bumps in the road, celebrate the small triumphs you make every day and learn to let go of the mini mistakes that aren’t failures.

When you’re a mom, there’s no such thing as a failure. Only obstacles.

To help you through the days that feel a little tough or beat up your self esteem, we came up with some tips and tricks for pumping that will make your life a whole lot easier.

  • Follow a pumping routine and feeding schedule.
  • Drink plenty of water before you pump.
  • Hold your baby, look at a photo or something that smells like them. This triggers hormones that help you produce more milk.
  • Pump as often as your baby nurses.
  • Pump early in the morning when your breasts are the most full.
  • Pump from opposite breast as your baby nurses.
  • Make sure your pump is as comfortable as possible. Not all pumps are created equal.

Fill your day with affirmations that you’re a breastfeeding pro and everything else will fall into place.

Some days you might feel like breastfeeding isn’t working out, but don’t get impatient. No one becomes a professional overnight and with anything, breastfeeding and pumping take some practice.

With a strong support system and self determination in place, you can conquer your breastfeeding goals and say goodbye to the days of crying over spilled milk.

Black History Month: Influential Midwives

Many years ago, I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting with two influential MIdwives of color that have made strides in the birth world. Gladys Milton and Margaret Charles Smith spoke to their midwifery experiences at a conference for practicing and aspiring midwives that I’ll never forget.

In these sessions, Margaret and Gladys enlightened our group to the challenges of Midwifery in the mid-1900s. They took care of the women doctors and hospitals didn’t want to care for during that time. Poor women, primarily women of color. They had limited access to resources and were rarely paid for their work as Midwives. Midwives have made progress legitimizing their profession with specialized care and training. Gladys Milton moved and inspired us all with her experiences, validating our passion for improving the birth of children in our communities.

Gladys was recruited by the Walton County Health Department to provide birth and delivery services to women in low income areas. As this was during the peak of racial segregation, many African American women had to rely on midwives for birth services. After taking this opportunity in Walton, she was trained and licensed in nearby Alabama to practice midwifery in 1959.

After acquiring her license, Gladys delivered babies and provided in home postpartum care for nearly two decades before opening her own center in 1976. This center was the first birthing center in Walton county, now known as the Milton Memorial Birthing Center. Milton Memorial is run now by Glady’s daughter and Midwife, Maria Milton and continues to provide care to low-risk families in their community.

Margaret Charles Smith was one of the first official Midwives in Alabama in 1949 and was still practicing in 1976 when Midwifery became illegal in Alabama and was permitted to practice until 1981. She caught her first baby at the age of 5 when the Midwife didn’t show up in time, she Midwifed herself through 3 births, and welcomed over 3000 babies to some of the poorest women during her Midwifery career.

Margaret co-wrote a book in 1996, “Listen to Me Good: The Story of an Alabama Midwife” and was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010. But what I remember the most about her was the stories she told at the Mana Conference in 2000. She shared with us her trials & tribulations as a midwife and was open to questions. One woman asked her, since she was prohibited by Alabama law from performing internal exams to assess dilation, how she knew when it was time for a woman to push… her response.. “Have you ever heard of crowning?”. She had quite the sense of humor.

Since she was restricted, like most of the Midwives back then, from using medical equipment and performing specific exams, she became more attuned to nuances of normal healthy pregnancy and the signs of problems. Several years after hearing her stories and her sharing some of her tricks of the trade, I had a mother experience a prenatal complication that did not present with the typical symptoms, yet it was Margaret’s words that came to me and allowed me to recognize the issue at hand and allowed this mom and baby to get the care that they needed.

I often think of these amazing Midwives and am thank full for the knowledge and wisdom they have shared that continues to support moms & babies today.

During the month of February, we take a moment to recognize women like Gladys Milton and Margaret Charles Smith and the men and women that inspire us every day to continue improving childbirth and midwifery care.

Using Essential Oils to Reach Your Wellness Goals

Essential oils are more powerful than you think.

Swapping some household solvents, cosmetics and over the counter medications with some all natural essential oil blends can help you reach your goals of living a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

Essential oils aren’t just hype, they’re proven holistic treatments that really work. Like any medicine, cosmetic or topical product, everyone’s skin is different and may respond to essential oil treatments differently.

Find the Right Oils for You

Identify ways you’d like to switch to a healthier lifestyle. Are you looking for safer cleaning products? Tired of harmful chemicals in your hair and skin care routine? Trying to cure aches, pains, scratches and scrapes the all natural way?

No matter how you’re looking to make a change, essential oils can be your guide into living healthier and cleaner. Identify your goals and essential oils distributors will provide you a breakdown of the individual health benefits of each individual oil or blend. Be careful to choose only pure oils and extracts and beware of cheap imitations that might contain harmful fillers. You can ask your Midwife for essential oil suggestions pertaining to health during pregnancy too!

Cosmetics

Essential oils are awesome alternatives for creams and cleansers that strip your hair and skin of the good, causing breakouts and uneven tone. Oils like lavender will clear up breakouts and basil oil will wake up tired skin. A dab of cinnamon essential oil will even give your lips a plumper and fuller look. Lavender and black cumin seed essential oils are great for clearing up dry scalp and dandruff. Making the switch to essential oils can help you break away from expensive, ineffective and processed cosmetics.

First Aid

There’s tons of medicinal uses for essential oils and they’ve been used for thousands of years as powerful defense against bacteria and infections. You can use  to clean wounds, dress burns and insect bites and even sunburns. Oils can help alleviate muscle pain, headaches, sinus congestion and cold sores.

Household

Essential Oils can make your cleaning routine a whole lot safer for you and your family. Diffuse some essential oils in the air for some aromatherapy or use them diluted in a mist bottle to freshen up your space. Lemon essential oil eliminates odors and can polish wood furniture. Some essential oils can also give your laundry a boost or give you a beautifully scented DIY laundry detergent free of harsh dyes and fragrances.

Essential oils can give you the boost you need to start living a cleaner, healthier lifestyle.

You don’t need to fill your skin and your home with chemicals to look better and feel better. Armed with a variety of essential oils, you can reach your health goals and resolutions this year of making smarter choices for the environment and your family.

To Hat or Not to Hat

It’s National Hat Day and although we appreciate the value of a a great hat, there’s a time and a place.

It has become customary to put a little knit cap on your baby’s brand new noggin to keep them nice and toasty just after birth. Although it sounds like a great plan to keep your baby warm, it can actually disrupt valuable bonding and hormone production, and may result in an overheated baby!

We all love that sweet baby smell.. Johnsons and Johnsons tried to bottle it.. there’s a reason why we love to smell babies, especially our own!

Skin to skin contact has some incredible benefits immediately after birth and as your baby is getting introduced to their new environment. This contact benefits the mother as much as baby, and begins the bonding process that will be important during their breastfeeding journey. Skin to skin improves a baby’s respiration, regulates their body temperature and reduces stress and anxiety. The first hour after birth is important for the infant as it’s their first opportunity to become acquainted with their parents, allowing them to become more emotionally stable and confident as they age.

When your are skin to skin with your baby and able to smell your baby, your body releases Oxytocin, the hormone that rules labor and is known as the LOVE hormone. Smelling your babys head releases oxytocin, which helps your uterus contract, helps expel your placenta and minimize bleeding. Oxytocin also helps you fall in love with your baby.

So why do they put a hat on your baby?

The head and face are important for a newborn’s natural instincts to acquaint with the mother’s scent, warmth and heartbeat. Newborns will nuzzle into their mother’s chest and and begin searching for their mother’s breast. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone released in the mother when her baby’s scent is nearby, that triggers the final stages of labor and increases milk production. This is one of the many beautifully simple ways that nature has perfected the childbirth process, and that cute tiny hat is getting in the way!

When mom is available, she can regulate her baby’s temperature with her OWN BODY and no hat is needed. Yes.. that’s right.. when baby is skin to skin with mom, mothers temp will increase or decrease to heat or cool her baby! Pretty incredible!

So when should you choose a hat?

If your baby is born premature, underweight or has certain medical complication, a hat may be a good idea. In some of these situations, the mother or baby is not well enough to utilize skin to skin contactWhen skin to skin contact isn’t possible, hats, swaddling and warmers might be the only way to regulate your newborn’s temperature. If baby is able to be held, but mom isn’t available, Dad or another family member or friend can hold baby skin to skin.

This period after birth is unique and shouldn’t be interrupted by anything, including a tiny hat.

Some birth professionals say that babies remember birth. This period of bonding is unique in that it is the first impression your baby has of this great big new world. These impressions are theoretically associated with the way adults perceive the world, so we should make it count!

Besides, there’s plenty of opportunities for cute hats once your baby is a little older.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

When you get stressed, you get sick.

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays upon us, stress levels are up and everyone’s getting sick.

Its no mistake that the common cold and flu are at an all time high this time of year. Immune systems are low and with all the traveling and picking up germs you’re bound to get the sniffles just in time for the holidays.

Taking extra care of yourself during the holiday season will keep sickness at bay and you feeling merry and bright for all your holiday parties and traditions.

Immune System Boosting Superfoods

There’s plenty of delicious food to indulge in during the holidays, most of which unfortunately doesn’t provide you with the nutrients you need to naturally boost your immune system. Incorporate antioxidant rich foods like citrus and green leafy veggies to give your system the fighting chance it needs. A daily dose of probiotics in foods like yogurt will keep your digestive system on track and breaking down indulgent foods like those extra cookies you snuck at the company party. You are what you eat, so make a conscious effort to balance your party eats with a healthy variety of nutrient rich food.

Dodging Germs While Out and About

There’s so much to do and so many errands to run, forcing you to head out into the germy wasteland that is the mall and supermarket. Instead of putting yourself on the front lines, try shopping online in the comfort of your thoroughly sanitized home. Your treasures arrive conveniently at your door and you can avoid the crowds, lines and frustration of the holiday shopping scene. If you do have to go out, stay prepared. Wash your hands and get fresh air frequently and avoid touching your face! Germs enter your body through your eyes, nose and mouth so keep those yucky hands off your beautiful clean face.

Practice a Healthy Amount of Self Care

Take care of yourself? Who has the time!

Well actually, a sprinkle of self care into your daily routine takes no time at all and will help you banish stress and feeling great all season. Take the time to relax and unwind at the end of the day, and stretch out your breakfast to enjoy your morning cup of coffee. The holidays are stressful because of the constant need to get everything right and it really wears you down. Take a step back and do things that you enjoy, even if it means putting down the wrapping paper and the tinsel for a while.

Who wants to start 2017 sick in bed?

Taking some extra precautions and focusing on your health this season will keep you from catching the flu or a nasty cold; the gift that keeps giving. Eat right, get some fresh air and be a little more conscious and you’ll feel extra festive for all of those upcoming holiday parties and obligations.

Tissues aren’t a cute accessory for your holiday outfit, so leave the red nose to Rudolph.

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