Cinco De Mayo Fun, Food and Activities for Everyone

Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) is a commemorative celebration of the  Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during Franco vs Mexico War  from 1861-1867. It is celebrated (most commonly) in the United States and Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is often misidentified as Mexico’s Independence Day which is September 16th.

History of Cinco de Mayo – A fantastic history and clarification about Cinco de Mayo and Mexico’s Independence Day  (September 16th).

Fried Taco Shells if you have a large family, this is definitely the most economical way to do taco shells. Many Corn Tortillas are Gluten Free (Gluten is an issue at my house and I prefer a fried corn tortilla over a gluten free ‘flour-like’ tortilla-ANYDAY!)
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Plastic Maracas from Easter Eggs and Spoons -Oriential Trading Company
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Cinco de Mayo Coloring Sheets Other activities and ideas as well.
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Fantastic Cinco de Mayo Food I really love the idea of individial Dip Cups!
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Mini Pinatas from empty toilet paper rolls
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Festive Lime with Candles Centerpiece
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Cinco de Mayo Jello
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Lavender Margarita
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2.5 oz of Jose Cuervo Traditional
1 oz of Parfait Amour Orange Liqueur (where the purple color comes from)
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
Garnish with a Lime

Cinco De Mayo Nail Art
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Homemade Ginger Elixir

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Let’s talk about barf. Vomit really isnt something that anyone really *WANTS* to think about until you are dealing with a “situation”.

The culprit of the vomiting isnt always known. In some instances, if nausea is a factor and if it can be calmed, vomiting may be able to be reduced or in some cases avoided.

Ginger has some amazing properties that aid in easing a nauseated stomach caused by anything from motion sickness to morning sickness.

Since I was a child, Ive suffered from an GI problem that was allowed to go untreated for way too long. In recent past the condition has become something that has got to be addressed before it is allowed to go any further.

One of the things that has worked the best for me in soothing upset stomach is  Ginger Root. I carry purse fulls of Ginger Chew Candies that I pick up at the health food store but sometimes I need something a bit more immediate. Thats where my Homemade Ginger Elixir comes in. And its easy to make.

What you need:

•1 Pound of Raw Ginger Root (peeled and sliced into small, thin pieces)

•Sauce Pan with lid

•4 Cups of Water

•4 Cups of Sugar

• Strainer (Mesh)

After peeling and cutting your raw Ginger Root into pieces, add your Ginger pieces to your sauce pan and add water. Bring the water and Ginger to a boil and then reduce the heat to a medium and cook until your liquid reduces by half (you want to be able to pour off about two cups of Ginger Infused broth/water).

Once your Ginger Broth/Water has cooled, strain your water to remove any large ginger particles or pieces. Return liquid to sauce pan (discard the strained particles) and bring to a boil and slowly begin to add your sugar while stirring. Reduce your heat to low and continue to stir until all of the sugar has completely disolved and it begins thicken into a syrup like thickness.

To use, you can take it by the spoon or you can add it to a small glass of warm water (this is how I consume it when I know vomiting is coming  because warm water “comes up” much easier than cold water). Stores it in the fridge for about 7-10 days. I usually keep a 4 oz jar in the fridge and freeze the remaining in 3.5oz portions in Breastmilk Freezer Bags and thaw in the fridge as needed.

In addition to being great for helping an upset tummy, it is also great in coffee, used as a chicken glaze or added to tea.

If you are not familiar with Ginger, particularly fresh ginger, it does have a kick to it. It is warming to the senses, but not in the same way Chili Peppers are. Its hard to explain. Most children say its ‘hot’ but its only ‘hot’ breifly.

You can save the cooked Ginger for a Pineapple Ginger Chicken Rub/Marinade Recipe.

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Detangling Dolls Hair is Easy

Do your kids have Barbie or My Little Ponies that need some serious detangling? If so, here is a great way to easily detangle and revitalize synthetic doll hair (or synthetic wigs)

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Make your own detangling spray for dolls, cheap and easily. Maybe even with things you already have around your house. 

What you need:

•Spray Bottle
•Liquid Fabric Softener
•Assorted Combs and Brushes

Mix 50% Water to 50% Fabric Softener (1 cup to 1 cup) and mix around in the spray bottle. Undress doll and hold over sink and mist the dolls hair with the solution and begin working knots out from the ends, gradually working your way towards the head with a wider toothed comb while brushing until knots have brushed out. After all dolls, ponies, doll heads, etc had their hair detangled, I quickly rinsed each dolls hair (and I rinse the body as well because it gets a bit sticky from the fabric softener being all over your hands). Once all of the dolls hair have dried, they are good as new.

I did observe that not all doll hair could be corrected/detangled. I have included a photo (bottom of page) of a pony who has a tail that is unhelpable.

Take caution in where the mist of your detangling spray lands. If it lands on flooring, it may become very slippery and its pretty difficult to mop off tile so that the tile doesnt become slippery when it gets wet in the future.

Pinkie Pie Equestrian Girl : Before

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Pinkie Pie Equestrian Girl : After

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After hair has completely dried
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My Little Ponies : Before
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My Little Ponies : After

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Barbie Head : Before

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Barbie Head : After

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This is the hair of the pony who couldnt be fixed. Before and after photos dont bear much of a difference. I ended up forcefully separating this ponies hair into 3 sections and gave her a tight braid and banded her hair.

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And since fabric softener is a chemical compound, its probably a good idea to only use this on dolls and synthetic that have been checked for compatibility in an inconspicuous place. And dont drink it or leave it where your kid could drink it or wash the dog with it, despite it might make the dog smell mountainy fresh…still not a good idea.

Nursing through Triumphs and Tragedy

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As I laid next to my almost 10 month old son and nursed him to sleep tonight, I couldn’t help but marvel at everything it took to get us to this point. He is my third child. My second son. My second breastfed baby. The journey hasn’t been easy.

I have to say that my breastfeeding journey began before I ever held a baby of my own in my arms. My oldest, Oliver, is almost 6. I didn’t even try to breastfeed him. I had debated it during my pregnancy, and in the end decided not to breastfeed. It was a mixture of ignorance on my part and lack of support I quickly regretted this decision and spent many months fighting back tears as I mixed bottles of formula and fed him with bottles. He wasn’t even a month old when I became determined to breastfeed our next baby.

In October 2011 I was given that chance. Our sweet daughter, Lucy, was born and within her first hour she latched on and our breastfeeding journey began. This time I had support, but was still not educated on how it all worked. I just assumed it was going to happen naturally, or in my eyes, easily. How wrong I was! Within days I had cracked, bleeding nipples. I worked with an IBCLC and we managed to get to the point where it was more comfortable, but breastfeeding Lucy was never very enjoyable. After the guilt and regret I had with not breastfeeding Oliver, quitting was not an option. I pushed through and we continued to nurse until she was almost 20 months old. At that point I was about 23 weeks pregnant with our third child, another boy, and my milk had dried up toward the end of my first trimester. Lucy continued to comfort nurse for some time, and when timing felt right we gently weaned.

In September 2013, our third child was born. Max Christopher was my first out of hospital birth, and he too latched quickly and began nursing within his first hour of life. While his birth was peaceful and wonderful, there was a lot of anxiety and fears that came along with him joining our family. You see, during my pregnancy, we had found out via ultrasound that Max was going to have a clubfoot. Our oldest son had been born with bilateral clubfoot (meaning both feet were clubbed), and I knew the pain and heartache that comes along with it. It meant lots of travel, probably surgery, and years of nighttime brace wear. Yes, it was fixable. Yes, we were thankful that it wasn’t anything worse. But when anything is wrong with your baby, oh, how your heart aches.

My milk came in within 24 hours of Max being born. I quickly started to recognize that we were having the same problems that I had had with Lucy early on. I managed to get his latch somewhat corrected, however after taking a close look in his mouth, I realized we had another issue on our hands: Max was tightly lip tied and also tongue tied. This can cause major issues with breastfeeding, and I was sure that it was the culprit of my trouble with Lucy although I didn’t know it until much later.

Although I knew Max had these ties, and I knew it was going to cause us problems, the logistics of getting it fixed was another issue. The dentist that I wanted to go to to fix it was 3 hours away. At 8 days old we began the treatment for Max’s clubfoot, and that involved driving 2 hours each way every Monday for weeks at a time. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically, and the thought of more driving and doing anything else to him was too much to bear. I just kept putting off the lip tie and tongue tie revisions as long as I could.

Getting Max’s clubfoot corrected involved weekly appointments where he would get his foot and leg casted and slowly turn the foot into a better position. Each Monday was long and tiring. He was often uncomfortable after the appointments, and unlike a lot of babies, nursing did little to comfort Max. When he was in pain or uncomfortable, he wouldn’t breastfeed. I often felt rejected and angry that the one thing I was given to be able to help him gave him no comfort whatsoever. When he was 8 weeks old Max had a minor surgery (although when its your baby, it definitely doesn’t feel minor) called a tenotomy where they cut the Achilles tendon and put on his last cast which stayed on for 3 weeks. He hated breastfeeding during that week after his surgery. I had to pump and freeze my milk because he wasn’t eating much at all. It was heartbreaking. I remember about two weeks after his tenotomy Max nursed and fell asleep, the first time that had happened since before his surgery. I cried with relief that we hadn’t lost that precious time altogether.

Three weeks after his surgery his cast came off and he began wearing his bar and boots brace. It took a little getting used to nursing with the brace. Max couldn’t really turn into me when he breastfed, so we had to get used to him being restricted by the brace and just turning his shoulders and head into my breast to feed. Nighttime was especially difficult because he usually would lay on his side and nurse since he slept in our bed next to me. He isn’t able to easily lay on his side with the brace on, and again, Max doesn’t like to nurse when he’s uncomfortable.

I also struggled with oversupply and overactive letdown. Max gained weight very quickly. (before each new cast was put on, Max was weighed and gained anywhere from 1/2 a pound to a pound a week! It was crazy!) He would nurse and then I could pump 8 oz. I had to slow down on pumping because I was worried that I was just making it worse. In the evening, Max would latch on, gulp gulp gulp, and scream. Then my husband or I would have to work to burp him and he would let out a huge burp, and then be hungry again. We would repeat this cycle for up to two hours. It was exhausting. He also seemed sensitive to things I would eat, but it was hard figuring out what exactly.

There were so many times I wanted to quit. Wanted to just throw up my hands and walk away. I wanted to be left alone, to cry, to scream, to be able to do whatever I wanted to do for however long I wanted to do it without feeling the physical effects of my baby not wanting to nurse. Instead I felt tied to a baby who often rejected feedings and emotionally, I felt like was rejecting me. Max has the sweetest, most amazing disposition and I simply adore him. But there were definitely times I resented all of our struggles and desperately needed time to myself and a decent night’s sleep.

It was only a few weeks after Max got his bar and boots brace that he ended up in the hospital with an infection (unrelated to his clubfoot). He spent two days in the hospital and it was a horrible, traumatic experience for me. Thankfully, he nursed well while we were there, but I started to feel like we just could not catch a break.

When Max was about 4 months old we decided to really look into having his tongue and lip tie revised. We made an appointment for March 13 with Dr. Notestine. I was looking forward to finally having this taken care of.

Two days before we were to leave for our appointment, my father-in-law went into the hospital for a routine procedure. Things did not go as planned, and he ended up in ICU that night. Tragically, he passed away two days later, and we obviously did not make it to our appointment. I have never felt so grief-stricken as when we lost our precious Poppa. I had to fight myself to eat the first few days, and I worried that the stress would affect my milk supply. I had to spend a lot of time away from Max during those days, and had to trust others to bottle feed him. It was very hard to leave my baby with others and worry about pumping so often.

Max was just over 6 months old when we finally were able to get his tongue tie and lip tie fixed. While it was hard to see him go through anything else, it was the best decision we made for our breastfeeding relationship. Dr. Notestine explained that instead of truly “nursing”, Max was using the wrong muscles and “sucking” to get milk out. His lip was very tightly tied and he also had a posterior tongue tie. The laser surgery to release the ties took very little time, and I was able to pick up my baby right away. We went into a quiet room and nursed and wow! What a difference! It was the first comfortable latch I had ever felt, and it brought tears to my eyes. For the first time, it felt like Max actually emptied my breast while feeding, and wanted the other side. Dr. Notestine came in and watched the end of our feeding and commented on how good it looked. For once, I felt such relief and happiness with our nursing relationship.

While I tried to introduce some solid foods to Max after his lip tie and tongue tie healed, he really wanted nothing to do with it. It wasn’t until he was closer to 9 months old that he began showing any interest in foods. While I have no problem with exclusively breastfeeding for an extended period of time, we continued to have challenges. Max is a very easily distracted baby. I often have to go into my bedroom and lay down with him in the dark to get him to breastfeed. Doing this with two older children is not easy. Going out in public with Max basically means he won’t be nursing for however many hours we will be gone. He will go 6 hours or more without eating if we aren’t home. No matter how hard I try or how full of milk my breasts are, he won’t have anything to do with nursing. It would become extremely painful for me, and he would often cry from hunger, but still would not nurse. This was probably the most frustrating part of breastfeeding for me. Now that he is eating some solids, it is somewhat easier. Recently, our family had to spend 5 days away from home taking our oldest to St. Louis for surgery to treat a relapse of his clubfeet. I had to pump and bottlefeed because unless we were alone in the hotel room, Max wouldn’t breastfeed. I had so much pain and felt so inconvenienced having to stop and pump just to turn around and give him a bottle.

Max has also had problems with ear infections, and once had a terrible allergic reaction to an antibiotic that we gave him when his ear drum ruptured. Its often cited that breastfed babies have fewer ear infections than bottle fed babies, but this doesn’t seem to be the case for Max. It feels as though it is one thing after another with this sweet baby. Its very humbling to have a child who often gets sick when you feel you are doing everything “right”.

Despite our many struggles, heartaches, and frustrations during the past 10 months, I have to say that breastfeeding has absolutely been worth it. So many times we talk about how wonderful and amazing breastfeeding is. Its true- nursing my child has been all of those things. And its also been heartbreaking, aggravating, painful, and at times, downright unenjoyable. We don’t often talk about those things. But as I lay next to Max and feel his soft hands holding onto me, listen as his breathing becomes slower and heavier as he drifts off to sleep, I am so thankful for these times and that I am able to breastfeed my child. These memories will last a lifetime.

Right away I knew

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I found out I was pregnant with my daughter when I was 18. Right away I knew breastfeeding was something I wanted to do. I attempted breastfeeding her older brother, but it did not work out as planned. My entire pregnancy I researched breastfeeding, I joined support groups, and I even took the local breastfeeding class at WIC. I was determined to breastfeed.

When my daughter got here it went amazing the first night! Then the initial pain hit and I wanted to give up. Luckily my husband, best friend, and an amazing lactation consultant kept encouraging me to keep going. My husband watched all the videos the hospital provided and learned how to help latch the baby on. He latched her on when I was getting too frustrated to get her latched. He was so incredibly supportive! He learned ways that he could bond with her, without interrupting our breastfeeding. I was amazed at how active and how important his role was to our success in our breastfeeding relationship.

My best friend kept encouraging me and reminding me how badly I wanted breastfeeding to work out this go-round. My LC taught me how to get the best latch and the best positioning comfort wise. They were both a huge support, especially in the beginning!

When my daughter was 11 months old I found out she had an Upper Lip Tie (ULT), we chose not to get this corrected since it didn’t hinder our breastfeeding relationship. It did explain why we had a rough start pain wise and why the first few minutes of each nursing session were painful. Her ULT corrected itself around 14 months.

My daughter is now 23 months old and still breastfeeding with no end in sight! I plan to allow her to self-wean and my husband backs my decision 100%.

I have also donated 100s of oz to friends and family for their babies and I nursed my sisters son when he was a new born.

I am so glad that I stuck with breastfeeding. I am so glad that my daughter is still nursing. It has allowed me to stop and focus on just her a few times a day which was so important to me since I was otherwise busy chasing around my toddler son. It has allowed my daughter and I to have an amazing bond and it gave me a chance to expand my knowledge on something that would forever change my life.

My goal now is to become an IBCLC to help other mothers experience this amazing bond!

By Jess M

Grace Prevails with Fearless Trust

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I did not have any attachment to my own mother at all.  She had some serious hurt and issues she did not want to deal with and it really prevented a healthy relationship between the two of us.  What I took from that is that when it came time for me to have my own family, I wanted things to be different.  I wanted to have an incredible relationship and attachment to my kids, in every way possible.

It was a surprise to find out I was pregnant in the summer of 2010, and I set out to do all kinds of research possible.  I wanted to know what all of my options were.  I was blessed to not have any distractions such as working a typical job, and I really threw myself into preparing for my pregnancy.

Some of my dear friends told me about breastfeeding and I was all ears.  As I started to my research and I heard about all the wonderful benefits, some physical and health related for both mama and baby, but also the relationship benefits and attachment that can occur, I was thrilled.  But I had no concept of what I was in for.

We birthed unassisted from home and was able to start breastfeeding within the hour at home.  We did lotus birthing and never cut the cord.  All very new things to us, but we just went with what we felt led to.  We are very outside of the box people, and her name reflects that.  Our daughter’s first name is Fearless Trust, taken from Psalm 27.

That first night, of her sleeping on my chest, us tummy to tummy, was just heaven on earth.  I had never known such joy.

I was not truly prepared about the after effects of birth.  I felt like a truck had hit me physically.  I felt so awesome pregnant, and so horrible not being pregnant.  No one told me that breastfeeding could be painful.  I was not prepared that my nipples needed to adjust to being latched on, I was not prepared that getting the right latch was necessary or it would hurt both of us in different ways, I was not prepared that with every session, it would cause my uterus to clamp down and that was a natural process after birth.  And worse, I had no one in my family to reach out to, no real friends to be that open and honest with about what we were going through, so I just started researching on the internet, and listening to my instincts, which has always led me to good things.

I took a ton of arnica.  I diffused a lot of Frankincense and Myrrh, which seemed to soothe both of us.  And I really worked on getting to know this little one and developing our communication right from the get-go.

I started noticing different positions helped her and myself.  Stacks of pillows around me became my best friend.  We virtually lived on the couch or the bed the first few weeks.  I was blessed to have an incredible MIL who brought me food and let me and her rest and bond.  I could not believe how hungry and thirsty I was, nor how tired I was breastfeeding.  Many naps occurred for us both.

I had read stories of mothers in various cultures who basically stayed in for 90 days after birth and I gave myself and this little one permission to do the same.  I did not worry about attendance to anything, going shopping, anything like that, and outside of few walks close to home, the little one and I just stayed and rested and bonded.  I totally credit this one particular thing in helping our breastfeeding journey, and also our relationship.  It made for very low stress for both of us.  It is a privilege that I know few get to experience, but rest at this stage is so vital for both mama and baby.  Not everyone may need 90 days of that, nor do I remember if we were exact on that number or not, but what was significant is that I felt that any competition to show or prove that her and I were back up and running at full speed, going out and running errands and making public appearances — I just felt none of that was necessary at all.

In my history, my gut health was horrible and had caused a lot of problems for me.  In researching breastfeeding and introducing solids, it was awesome to see how breastmilk helped prepare their gut for LIFE.  And also to find out that there is a time that the gut seals itself, and that sealing can happen anywhere from 6-10 months old of age. I was very interested in helping her get ultimate gut health so that she would not have to struggle like I had or try to rebuild her gut health.  I also watched her for interest in solids.  She really did not have any and was totally satisfied by milk.  So we went almost a full year exactly in breastmilk alone.  I never pushed solids on her, but really waited until she was ready.  Her first solids were homemade chicken bone broth with a pastured egg yolk in it. And we took our time with solids.

I know by this time, many mamas wean or look into weaning.  I kept researching, but I felt I did not want to force anything.  As she got older, it seemed that the breastfeeding was not just a nutritional thing for her, there was this huge emotional aspect that it brought her in calming her emotions.  She never did want a pacifier or bottle, she just wanted me.  Or I should say, she wanted what we referred to as “milk-milk time.”  I can tell you that breastfeeding through the emotional two-year old time and through teething, and having that available to help with those meltdowns was just incredible for both of us.  

Yes, some adjustments had to be made.  As she got older, at times her latch would get lazy.  Or you go through they want to breastfeed in “olympic” positions, even upside down.  Or you go through being very “touched out” as a mama, and you really don’t feel like breastfeeding right now, or because you’re working on something.  We had to constantly upgrade our relationship overall, and our breastfeeding relationship.

We just hit the age of three and a half years.  And we are still breastfeeding very strongly.  Right now, she likes it at night sometimes, while we sleep, and in the mornings when she wakes up, or still she uses it if she ever gets really upset and it is her way of calming herself down.  She has had to adjust to different positions since she is so big now. And I have had to make some adjustments too, in various ways. But overall, we have worked together on this and the benefits of that have spread throughout our entire relationship. There is a trust level and communication level we have that is hugely significant to us both.  

In addition, she has never been sick yet. We have not had to deal with a cold, ear infection, none of that.  Of course, there are other elements in play to that process.  But I do believe breastfeeding has played a huge part in this, in giving her gut time to seal, and giving her immune system a huge jump start, etc.  Also, she is off the charts in how tall she is, which again, other elements affect that of course, but I do believe that extended breastfeeding has played a huge part in that.  

Whenever she is ready for this process to end, I am fine with that.  But for as long as she feels this is something she needs, I want to partner with her in that way.  I never expected our journey to be like this, but it has been an absolutely amazing journey.  And I love that my dream of having an awesome connection and relationship with her has come true, and that we have breastfeeding to thank in helping that to be all that it is today.  

Cherieann Riley  

Breastfeeding Addison Serenity

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The experience of breastfeeding my child is wonderful for many reasons. Not only is it good nutrition, it is also
a great bonding experience. It allows me to hold my daughter close, cuddle her, and be in awe. In addition,
breastfeeding reduces the cost of formula and is always accesible.

As soon as my daughter was born, I was excited to breastfeed her as I was aware of the many advantages it offers. 
However, it was a bit challenging. It was difficult for her to latch on properly and I was not sure how to hold and
position her correctly. By the second day, my nipples were sore, bleed and hurt really bad. After reading about
breastfeeding, I thought I was prepared.  Unfortunately, it was not the case– it has harder than what I anticipated.
Despite the struggles, I was determined to get it right; therefore, learned to be patient and asked for help. It was
a learning experience for both of us. Because I did not breastfeed my first child, who is now 6 years old, I felt
like we had missed out on an amazing opportunity. At that time, I had the same challenges and gave up instead of seeking help.

Because my milk supply was so low, I was encouraged to breastfeed for at least a week after birth.  They assured me that
my baby would be getting colostrum, which is the most important part of breastfeeding for a newborn.  However, I felt like
that amount of time would not suffice. Thanks to the support of other breastfeeding mommy’s and further research, I learned
about different methods to increase my milk supply.

The importance of breastmilk is critical for my child as it helps her with digestion, reduces colic and gas. Breastmilk stores
the right amount of vitamins and proteins that my baby needs to grow. It is also convenient to be able to feed her in the middle
of the night instead of waking up, half asleep, to prepare a bottle. Best part of all is that it is free! Breastfeeding also
benefits me as it helps my uterus in returning to its pre-pregnancy size and reduces post-partum bleeding, as well as helping me
to return to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Our breastfeeding time together is truly amazing! I will soon return to work, and although I will be pumping, I will miss the
eye to eye contact we share.

Don’t forget to check out our World Breastfeeding Week Giveaways!