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Breastfeeding on the Second Try

*We’ve partnered with Babynes to celebrate new parents’ feeding journeys, and share some feeding positivity to help you feed your baby in the best way you can.

The expectations to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby can come from a variety of influences -- your family & friends, social media, and even yourself. If you breastfed your first baby, you may assume your next will follow in his footsteps; if formula-feeding was your norm the first time around, you may not even attempt putting your second baby on the breast.

But as Brandi Jackson, a doula and mom of two, can attest, every baby-feeding journey can be a different one, and a new opportunity to redefine what feeding with positivity means to you. Brandi struggled to breastfeed her first, but was determined to give nursing a second try with her new little boy. With support and inspiration from the mommy community, she succeeded.

Below, Brandi shares why breastfeeding empowers her, how social media is changing the feeding landscape, and why she believes that every mom should be respected and honored no matter what her feeding decision.

What did you envision your feeding experience to be like when you were pregnant? Did you plan to breastfeed or bottle-feed?

I didn’t breastfeed my oldest kiddo, due to a lack of support. The second time around, I wanted things to be different. I was more passionate about nourishing my baby with my body. The more I researched, the more I became fascinated with the fact that I could not only bring life into this world, but I could sustain it with my own milk. Due to a breast reduction surgery that I had undergone at the age of 19, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to breastfeed. I didn’t know what to expect, given the circumstances. However, I wanted to breastfeed, and I was determined.

Where there times you wanted to throw in the towel on breastfeeding? What inspired you to keep going?

The hardest part of breastfeeding was the beginning. My nipples felt as if they were going to fall off! However, the saving grace that carried me through was my now implemented support system of other mamas cheering me on and encouraging me to continue.

Why do you feel it’s important for you to breastfeed as a woman of color?

There is a huge disparity within the black community regarding breastfeeding, and because of this, the rates of infant mortality is up. Why are black women not breastfeeding? There are various reasons. History, socio-economics, racial biases within the medical industry, you name it. They all play a part. I breastfeed because I now realize that breastfeeding is truly amazing for my baby. I breastfeed because I can. I share images of me breastfeeding to show that black women do breastfeed, and to encourage other moms of color. Ten years ago, we didn’t have Instagram. It could have been quite beneficial to look online and have access to photos of beautiful black women nursing their babes.

Social media can be a powerful tool. We are all looking for something/ someone to identify with. Breastfeeding is no different. Who knows, perhaps seeing those images of women who look like me could have given me the inspiration that I may have needed to continue nursing with my oldest.

Tell us about your feeding rituals.

I honestly do not have a routine. I allow my little one to feed on demand. That’s what has worked for us. Because of this, I have found myself nursing in the car, while grocery shopping, even in the middle of my yoga practice. No place is off limits. Breastfeeding has become a part of my daily life.

How is breastfeeding a positive, empowering emotional experience for you?

For me, breastfeeding has been so very empowering. I can make milk. That’s pretty amazing. I can not only nourish my babe with my breast, but I can calm him with my breast. Because of the amazing antibodies and anti viral properties in breast milk, I can heal my baby with my breastmilk. At the beginning, breastfeeding can be hard and tiring, but the benefits are so very worth it.

What kind of encouragement or advice would you give to a new mom struggling to figure out how to feed her baby?

In my doula work, I encourage all of my clients to follow their “mama gut.” What does that mean? I believe that when we become mothers, there is a divine intuition that is birthed within us. If we listen to it, it will not steer us wrong. There are so many reasons why women choose to breastfeed. There are many reasons why women choose not to breastfeed. Perhaps there is a lack of support? Or there may be sexual trauma? Or perhaps mama simply doesn’t want to breastfeed, and that’s ok.

Breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or supplementing doesn’t make anyone a better or a worse mom. Our choices and bodies should be respected and honored. Listen to your mama gut… honor your body… By doing so, you become your best self, and therefore the best mom your little one could ever ask for.

Photography by Sarina Cass of Red Anchor Photo for Well Rounded NY. This post is sponsored by Babynes.

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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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