The Joy of Breastfeeding

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I just wasn’t sure how it would go. During my prenatal visits I promised my midwives, my doulas and myself that I wouldn’t give up and would trust the process.

Nursing is a Team Effort

It was a definite challenge breastfeeding Marley that first week. in the delivery room, one of the hospital staff told me basically that my boobs were too big and that I needed to take extra precautions to nurse.  This is definitely not something to tell a new parent.  We are already so open and vulnerable and can use all of the positive support that we can receive. 

Luckily the hospital’s and my own lactation staff assured me that was not the case.  My boobs are amazing and they showed me how to hold my little one to nurse while also checking to make sure her air ways weren’t obstructed.  Those first few days, I still fumbled with comfortable positions to hold her and did not take it seriously that I needed to use boob cream and warm towels.   Well after about 5 days, my boobs were incredibly sore and it hurt for Marley to latch. Kim, my lactation specialist  of Nola Doula came over but I still felt like I was doing something wrong.

This is the formula that we tried.

By day 6, I became worried that Marley wasn’t getting enough milk because she kept crying around 10 pm and wanted to nurse back to back.  I was ready for the cluster feeding but it seemed as though she wasn’t getting satisfied at all.   Although I felt a twinge of guilt, we decided to give her some formula.  The poop she had after was  enough to step away from the formula.  Breastmilk poop is a watery light brown and yellow with seeds.  Formula poop is dark, thick and smelly.   Everyone’s decision whether to give their little one formula, breastmilk or a combination is unique to their journey.  The continued use of formula just wasn’t right for us.

Self-Care is Primary Care

The next day I checked back in with my doulas Kim (Noula Doula)  and Ellenie of Asc3nsion Art and really heeded their advice.  I used warm compresses on my boobs and gently massaged them.  I returned to nursing and the soreness lessened.  We were back in business.  It still took a while for me to feel comfortable getting Marley in and out of nursing positions.   Our journey got a lot easier over time.

Me and my doula/sista healer Ellenie at my baby shower

Now I feel comfortable nursing while leading a yoga class, eating at my favorite restaurants, or sending emails.   Nursing became our precious time where me and my little one were present with each other.  Nothing else going on around us really mattered.  Marley just made 9 months yesterday and is also enjoying table food.  Her faves are plain yogurt, fresh avocado and butternut squash soup.  More info on preparing food for infants soon.

Homemade butternut squash pops

To my new parents, enjoy your journey.    Give yourself permission to release some of the new parent guilt that creeps up in our heads time to time.  There’s no perfect parent or perfect way to parent.  Taking care of our little ones is a lifetime commitment.  Create a nursing community before your little one arrives if you can.  If you are unable to check out La Leche league and the Nola Breastfeeding Center

Share your journey and learn from others.  You are not alone.  Join our community!  If you’re in the New Orleans area, check out our weekly Baby and Me yoga and tea classes. We would love to have you.  Click here for more info

 

Baby & Me Yoga and Tea

Calling all infants, their caregivers, doulas and other birth workers!

Join the Ohm Well for our Baby and Me: Yoga & Tea series.

When: Saturdays

Time: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Location: 3443 Esplanade Ave. | Esplanade at City Park Apartments| 2nd Floor Yoga Studio

Session Includes:

Tea Talk – We will discuss weekly themes and participants will be given an opportunity to share, vent and build community together.

*Tea will be provided*

Asana – We will engage in a gentle yoga and meditation practice designed specifically for caregivers and their little ones.  Class is led by our director Valerie McMillan and will feature her little one Marley.

Mats, blankets and other props will be provided. Feel free to bring anything else to make you and your little one comfortable.

Sessions are led by our director Valerie McMillan and will feature her little one Marley.

*Investment: $12 Drop -in, $50 for a 5 class package.*

Click Here to Sign Up

In addition to our Baby and Me Class, we have Candlelight Yoga, Relax and Restore and more!  Click here to view our full schedule

Ask for What You Want

Many of us may be used to helping others and being hesitant to ask for help in return. Or we may not ask for that promotion and instead wait longingly for it to be offered to us.

Give yourself permission to ask not only for what you need, but what you want.

As a new mom, I also get caught up with doing things for my little one and forget to do things for myself.  In order to take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves as well.  So there’s no guilt in me taking time to go to a yoga class, read a book or go to a coffee shop.  These are wants that are important to me and give me joy.

I’ve also been putting this idea to use more frequently in business matters as well.  I ask for sponsors and donations or yoga classes and even trips.  A lot of times I offer different trades of services as well.   I’m surprised at the positive responses I’ve received. All I had to do was ask.

We may not get a yes every time, but there’s no harm in putting in the request and letting the universe do the rest. So go ahead, ask for that promotion, raise or even time with that special someone.  You’re worth it!

XO,

Valerie

Prenatal Benefits

One of the bonuses of pregnancy is that you get amazing hair, skin and nails.  It was a delight to see my hair grow considerably thicker and longer over the course of 40 weeks. That is, when i wasn’t nauseous or tired from morning sickness ( in my case, it should have been called all day sickness)

I didn’t think about how it would grow toenails as well. They almost broke some nail clippers they had gotten so strong. 🤦🏽‍♀️ Well, there are worse things.

Here’s a pic of me right when I found out I was pregnant:

During pregnancy:

And now:

Big difference right?! My little one is a gift that keeps on giving. Aside from amazing genes and great hormones, my prenatal gummy vitamins and slow iron releasing tablets helped a lot. I started with the prescription vitamins and they tasted horrible!

Click  here to check out the ones I like!

XO,

Valerie

 

 

Keep Your Zen During The Holidays

The holidays are open us; and for some of us that means long lines at stores, long to do lists, extensive family gatherings and elaborate
meals. It can be easy to fall out of the
habit of self-care, and to dedicate every free moment to taking care of loved
ones and our additional, seasonal responsibilities. Here are some tips to help keep you grounded
throughout the holiday season and beyond:

M- Mediate at least five minutes a day. Pick a quiet spot in your bedroom, office or
car when you have a few moments to yourself.
Set the alarm on your phone for five minutes, sit in a comfortable
position, close your eyes and breathe.
That’s it! If you can, you light
your favorite candle or oil to enliven your senses. The goal here is to sit still and just
breathe. Let your thoughts float away
even if it’s just for those 5 minutes a day.
When the timer goes off, it’s time to go back to your regularly
scheduled program. Even a brief, daily
mediation practice can help to reduce stress, anxiety and can increase overall
well-being.

A- Act Silly!
As adults, it’s easy to take ourselves too seriously and to not even
take time to smile. So, go ahead and put
on your favorite song and dance around the house in your pajamas. Give yourself permission to fall out of a
pose during your yoga practice. Go for a
run around outside while wearing two different sneakers. Channel your inner child and be free. You’ll be glad you did and so will everyone
else around you.

S- Steep your own spiced, herbal tea. Save
a few dollars and create your own favorite drinks! Spiced teas such as chai, cinnamon and
pumpkin can also help you stay warm during the changing weather. These drinks will aid in the digestion of all
of the colorful cuisine you may partake in during the holiday season. They are also pretty delicious.

H- Hug at least two people a day. One of those can be a self-hug, self-love is
great! Hugs are a sign of affection,
love, intimacy and are also natural ways to release the Serotonin and Dopamine
hormones. These are two “feel good” hormones
which are also neurotransmitters that regulate our mood and how we feel in our
bodies.

Remember, do everything in moderation. Be kind to your body, and it will be kind to you.

Peace and Blessings,

Sista Yogi

Life with Marley

I’m a mom, entrepreneur and a yogi.  I decided to create this blog within my blog to share a little more about how my practice is intertwined with being a mommy,  which is intertwined with my business.  Be a part of this journey and feel free to share your thoughts!

XO,

Valerie

3 Month Milestones

My little one made three months last week and she’s has already grown so much!  Her smile mesmerizes everyone and she’s got the “happy baby” pose down like a seasoned yogi. She can pretty much hold her head up on her own and is amazed at her ability to roll from back to side to tummy and back again.   My diaper changing skills are improving and she’s just about sleeping through the night.  While I hope my renditions of Elmo’s world and other children theme songs that I sing to her are impressive, what’s more impressive is how she inspires me to be more present in my life and our interactions.

The Power of Nursing

We’ve created a little ritual around nursing.  I grab some blankets and pillows and find a cozy spot when it’s time to feed her.  Initially, I would use one hand to hold her and the other to respond to emails and play words with friends.  Marley let me know that she’s no longer having that.  She wraps her hand around my fingers when she’s nursing and even resorts to kicking away whatever’s in my other hand to make sure I have her full attention.  It’s as if she’s telling me, “be here- with me- right now mommy.”

This helped me realize that in those moments when she’s nursing, nothing else matters.  Everything else can wait.  This is really a sacred experience.  We’re not  promised the next minute, hour or day.

Be Present

Take time to be present with your loved ones and let them know how you feel.  Pick up the phone and make the call you’ve been putting off.  Give yourself permission to all be present for yourself.  Schedule time in your day even if it’s 5 minutes to rest, recharge and enjoy doing nothing. Take that yoga class or indulge in your favorite dessert.  Communicate your needs with others as well as yourself. The more we take care of ourselves and be present in our own lives, the more we can take care of and be present for those around us.