Getting Out of The House

  • How do I find my breastfeeding bestie?

    It’s no secret. Life as a new mom can be lonely. And that loneliness is terrible for new moms and can impact their postpartum experience.

    It really helps in the early days to find at least one or two moms you connect with that “get it.” Its great if you have family or friends who also have young children. But it’s even better if you their child is close in age to your child, you have a similar feeding goal, you live in close proximity, you share a religious background or even a cultural background. Sometimes having someone “like you,”- in which ever way empowers you- in your corner can make a huge difference.

    Especially when it comes to your feeding goals. Whether you choose to breastfeed, formula feed, pump and bottle feed or your own unique combo, support is critical to your success.

    But life as a new mom is lonely. Especially in the first days and weeks when your life is mostly baby care, feeding, mom care and resting at home and the occasional appointment or outing.

    And if you’ve chosen to breastfeed, it can definitely get boring (yes. i said it. pumping too). Especially in the newborn stage when nursing sessions can last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes (or longer! I’m looking at you clusterfeeding).

    Day to day challenges may arise that may have you questioning your choices, no matter how strong your will. Having a friend/cheerleader in your corner who really gets what you’re going will help you keep your goals in the focus. They can also affirm things that are normal or not and also suggest solutions, tools or resources you maybe hadn’t thought of. They can also keep you flexible in your expectations and help bring light and laughter when things start to get rough.

    Once you feel up for it, getting out of the
    house and into your community is a great way to build your mom skills and find
    that breastfeeding bestie you need to get you through the toughest times.

    Storytime/ Playgroups

    Your local library or bookstore may have a
    storytime or playgroup for young children. In Prince George’s County, MD, the
    public library system hosts story time based on your child’s age. This can be a
    great place to meet moms of babies the same age as your baby and to get some
    much needed adult socialization.

    Local Lactation Resources

    Check with your local birth center and lactation resources for classes, support groups and events in your community.

    In Maryland, Special Beginnings Womens and Birth Center is a great start. In addition to on staff Lactation Consultants, they also have a breastfeeding boutique, teach a Breastfeeding Basics Class and host a Mamas Group for new moms on the first Friday of each month.

    Lactation Consultants and Counselors

    Some private lactation consultants host
    their own support groups for the breastfeeding moms they are working with.
    Crowned and Cradled hosts a monthly support group in the Bowie, MD area.

    Awareness Events

    Events during awareness weeks like World Breastfeeding Week and Black Breastfeeding Week are a great place to find like-minded parents when it comes to your feeding goals. You can also practice feeding your baby in public with the support of other moms who know how it feels right by your side.

    So I encourage you to get out in your
    community and connect with the new moms you are meeting. I know it’s hard
    making friends as an adult but I also know that you are going to be a mom and
    through that process you will find so much strength.

  • Thriving Through Summer Break

    You’ve seen the memes. Schools out, parents are stocking up on snacks, guzzling wine and counting down the days until back to school. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I love when my older son is home for summer break. The mornings are slower, the days are filled with adventures and we make lots of memories. I’m so lucky that my doula business allows me the flexibility to set my schedule but even if your home on maternity leave, you can have peaceful, exciting and fun summer with your newborn AND your school-agers home for break.

    If your school aged kids are in camp while you’re home with your newborn baby:

    1. Have a plan. Get a game plan together for drop offs and pickups. If your partner, family or friend can help with this great! Pack bags, lunches and outfits the night before so that the mornings move smoothly. What’s for breakfast? Something quick and healthy like blueberry muffins and fresh fruit simplify your routine. Make sure you eat too!
    2. Maximize your time. Know what times your newborn tend to wake for their morning feedings and work around those times for your morning routine.  If your newborn doesn’t go back to sleep after your morning nursing session, baby wearing can free up your hands to help get your older kids ready and into the car.
    3. Take it easy. After drop of reward yourself with a snack and a big glass of water and relax. You have the rest of the day to focus on yourself and your newborn. But be mindful of your baby’s afternoon awake/ nursing times and pick – up times so you can be strategic with your timing.
    4. Get some help. If you’re doing things solo, enlist the help of postpartum doula or mother’s helper to help you with drop offs and pick ups. You can even have them stay through the day to help you make the most of your time with your newborn.

    If your school-aged kids are home with you and your newborn baby:

    1. Have a plan. Set a loose schedule for the day. Think of some low key outdoor activities and some engaging indoor events that will keep your older kids interest. You want to think things like water play outside, splash pads, age appropriate playgrounds, storytimes, gymnastics open play, music classes, robotics classes, art activities etc. you want to be able to sit and rest when needed and keep an eye on your older children from a safe distance that works for you. Again, wearing your newborn can help make things easy, especially if you have to nurse while out and about. Remember to schedule some quiet down time with your children too.
    2. Maximize your time. Schedule outings and activities around nursing times as you see fit. If you are uncomfortable nursing away from home you can focus on shorter activities and staying closer to home. If you find things to do that are popular for moms with newborns you can take that as a chance to practice nursing while out and about with your baby.
    3. Take it easy. Don’t try to do everything in one day.  I like to focus on getting out of the house or doing our highest energy activity in the morning after breakfast and taking it easy after lunch. Let your older kids embrace their older sibling roles and model positive parenting.
    4. Get some help. If your doing things solo this summer and your older kids are staying home for the summer you could seriously benefit from the help of a postpartum doula. Or even a mother’s helper or nanny. Having an extra set of hands, eyes and ears can really save your sanity through the summer months. Plus, you’ll have another adult (who can answer all of your breastfeeding, postpartum and newborn questions) to talk too. Yes!

    So what do you have going on this summer? Are you home with your newborn baby? And older kids? Is everyone going to daycare and school? Got any summer parenting questions?

  • Chillin’ With My Baby: February Things To Do Near Bowie, MD

    February is almost here which means we are RIGHT in the middle of winter. Living in the DC area, that can mean the weather is any where from a freezing 14 degrees to a confusingly spring- like 64 degrees. Either way, I know you are looking for opportunities to take your little one out for some fun. Luckily,  Bowie, Md and Prince George’s County have some great play activities for little ones and events for the whole family.

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    The Wiggle Room – This gem is new to the Crofton area.  The Wiggle Room combines a colorful, engaging and safe play space for you kids with coffee and comfy seating for the adults. Enjoy free play or participate in one of their educational play classes. On Monday of each week, Music with Julia is FREE, you just need to register online as spaces fill quickly.

    Black History Live with Culture Queen – Check out the amazing Culture Queen as she instills a sense of cultural pride through singing, dancing and chanting. Live at the Beltsville Library on February 1, 2018 at 3:30 pm. You can also find Culture Queen Live at the Expressions of A People Fest on February 11, 2018 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm.

    Rise + Rhyme at Busboys and Poets  (Hyattsville Arts District and Takoma Park) – Every Monday, get out of the house with your kids ages 5 and under for some good food and great kids entertainment. I love Rise + Rhyme as a space for newborn moms and babies to venture out of the house for the first time as the atmosphere is very laid back and very kid and family friendly. Feel little to no pressure as you take time to eat and socialize with other parents while your baby enjoys some quality local entertainment.

    South Bowie Library – And you can’t forget reliable story time at the library. Just for babies ages 0-2, enjoy stories, songs, finger plays, lap games and rhymes to engage your child. You can meet and chat with local moms and enjoy some free play with age appropriate toys afterwards. If you don’t think your child is ready for story time yet, the South Bowie Library has a great play area in the children’s section of the the library.

    College Park Aviation Museum – Check out this local hidden gem for the little pilots in your life.  On Saturday February 3, 2018 at 2:00 pm, learn about the first African Americans to take to the skies in Afternoon Aviators: Simulators and African-American Pilots.  On February 19, 2018 at 11:00 am, discover the history of the mailbox at Discovery Cart- The Mailbox and it’s African American Inventor.

    Expressions of A People – This is a  FREE! black history celebration on February 11, 2018 form 1:00 to 6:00 pm, featuring musical performances, children’s activities, workshops, and entertainment for the entire family. The celebration is lead by greeter and storyteller, Baba-C, and our always popular Culture Queen, Jessica Smith. There will also be plenty of activities include mask-making, face painting, a caricaturist, a make-and-take pottery workshop, and a S.T.E.A.M. workshop.

    The Drinking Gourd Revised – On February 25, 2018 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm, experience this modern take on the story The Drinking Gourd. The story is based on a song that slaves sang expressing their desire to be free. They would follow the Big Dipper, the drinking gourd, north to Canada and freedom.

    Now that you’ve got some ideas on where you can stay warm during this chilly winter, make sure you come back and leave a comment below to let me now which activities you tried and how you liked it.

    Got an event or activity that I’m leaving out? Let me know in the comments or send me an email and I’ll be sure to include it next time.