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10 Steps to Create Your Own Breastfeeding Plan

They say breastfeeding is "natural," that it will happen naturally. But the truth is, breastfeeding is extremely difficult and can often leave the mother in isolation, physical pain, guilt and shame. Building your nursing plan is a great way to educate yourself and understand your breastfeeding goals so as to overcome or outsmart some of the challenges ahead.

As a Lactation Counselor, I've lived for the moment that I sit cross-legged on the bed next to a freshly birthed new mama, watching her cradle her babe as he suckles for one of the first times. Baby’s tiny fists begin to relax, both mama and I release a deep sigh, and a blanket of silence begins to rest over the home. But all too often, breastfeeding mothers don't get to experience this instance of calm and one-on-one support from a lactation professional; and if they do, it's often after weeks of struggles.

There is an easier way though. In my book Milk Boss 101: The Modern Breastfeeding Journal & Guide, I help mamas create a breastfeeding plan to allow for a more graceful and confident experience. From prenatal planning to building your breastfeeding tribe, here are 10 steps to create your own breastfeeding plan now.

1. List your breastfeeding goals. What milestones are you hoping to reach and how long would you like to breastfeed?

2. Meet with a lactation professional prenatally. Ask if she provides a private class where you can bring your partner or a friend, and if she does home visits.

3. Build your Breastfeeding Tribe. Get accessory help that will allow you to focus on breastfeeding once you are back home with your new baby. Consider hiring a postpartum doula, having a meal-train organized, or a friend to come by and help with light housework.

4. Talk with your provider about your breastfeeding goals. You’ll want to find out about the hospital’s policies on the Golden Hour, breastfeeding after a cesarean section, and feeding a baby in the NICU.

5. Evaluate whether or not your child’s Pediatrician is breastfeeding friendly. Ask them how they handle concerns about baby’s weight gain, whether or not they support the use of donor's milk, and if they hand out formula samples to mothers who express a desire to breastfeed before offering professional lactation support.

6. Attend a prenatal breastfeeding class with a friend or your partner. Try to find a class taught by a private lactation professional who will meet with you in person, address your specific breastfeeding concerns, and visit with you in the hospital and once home.

7. Schedule a few visits from a lactation professional. Plan on having your lactation professional visit multiple times. Breastfeeding is a learned skill that takes lots of practice. It will set your mind at ease knowing that someone is already planning to visit you multiple times, especially during the first two weeks. Try scheduling visits on your first day back home, day 3 to 5 when your milk gets more mature, and day 7 to 10, which is around the time that baby should be back to his or her birth weight. This schedule should also give you time to fix any issues in between visits.

8. Join a breastfeeding group. Find a group that resonates with you and your work-life situation.

9. Plan for returning to work or your first trip away. A lactation professional can really help you plan, from recommending the perfect pump to offering tips that will help you avoid common hurdles that typically arise around six weeks postpartum, like introduction of hormonal birth control.

10. Give yourself permission to do what feels right to you and listen to your Mama Wisdom. If something doesn’t seem right, voice it, ask for help, and make changes.

I hope that these breastfeeding planning tips allow you to make a smooth transition from maiden to mother and that you feel supported and powerful along your journey.

Anjelica Malone is a former Third Culture kid turned Global Mama. She is the author of Milk Boss 101: The Modern Breastfeeding Journal and Guide. She is a Lactation Educator Counselor, a birth and postpartum doula, and a Childbirth Educator serving women in the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband, two Little Women, and their mini-dachshund, Aoki. Visit www.AnjelicaMalone.com to book her services or read her writings, which focus on encouraging women to embrace their passions and equipping them to navigate motherhood in the way that’s most natural to them.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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