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Breastfeeding on the Second Try

Every baby comes with a different feeding journey.

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.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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