Let's be real, breastfeeding can be a total pain in the boob!
...while often taking an emotional toll on your soul when it goes wrong. Just ask any mom!
From calloused nipples, to engorged cup-sizes, breast feeding is not every woman's cup of tea. However, society will certainly make it feel like it should be.
Don't get it twisted:The pros of a mother's breast milk are endless. Besides the physical health benefits that come with exchanging your strong antibodies with your little human, the emotional bond from such an exchange is one that many moms consider to be priceless.
Recently, actress and The Real co-host Tamara Mowry-Housley opened up about her breastfeeding experience with her five-month old daughter, Ariah Talea. Elated that her second go round at feeding was much smoother than when she had her son Aden, the mother of two blogged about it on her personal site:
"It’s incredible how different one child can be from the next, and how much easier it can be the second time around. Of course, we’ve got a long way to go. But all the experiences I’ve had with Aden as a baby have definitely taught me so much, making things like breastfeeding much more enjoyable with Ariah.With Aden, breastfeeding was hard. It didn’t come as naturally as we’re meant to believe. Aden wasn’t latching properly, which meant I experienced soreness, my nipples were callused and I was in pain for about 8 weeks. I was having a hard time keeping up my supply of milk and it was taking a major emotional toll on me. All this in the midst of things I had to learn and research as a new mom – it was important to know, for example that I needed to eat right while breastfeeding to give my baby what he needed. (What we eat can even contribute to whether or not the baby gets colic.) There was just so much to learn, and so much I wanted to be able to do. I wanted so desperately to breastfeed that when it didn’t seem like a viable option, I broke down. But I was determined not to give up."
For those who don't know, "latching" is a young child's ability to properly grasp their mothers breast and areola in such a way that is effective for eating. Many non-moms, or new-moms, assume that breast-to-baby equals immediate mealtime, but this is far from the case. Not only because quite often your baby is too young to know how to instinctively feed themselves, but also because sometimes our own breasts are our worst enemy!
Tamera continued to detail Aden's issues with latching, as well as the progress that comes with getting the latch down pact!
"I know I’m not the only woman to have felt this way. In fact, I didn’t have it as bad as some women do. Breastfeeding can come easy and it can be nearly impossible. There are a ton of reasons for this, but the one that affected me was Aden’s latch. It took some time, but I finally learned how to get the right latch, and then breastfeeding was much easier. Let me tell you you, if breastfeeding is important to you, do not leave the hospital unless you’ve had the right latch with your baby!When it came time to breastfeed Ariah, I have to admit I was a little worried. I wanted to be sure that I could give her my antibodies, feed her nutrients and give her enough of my milk to help prevent her from getting sick. Thankfully my worries were unwarranted. I took everything I learned from my experience with Aden and Ariah had the perfect latch from day one. The nurses even commented that they wished Ariah could teach the other babies there! Lol."
Tamera went on to discuss the bond between her and her baby girl:
"Where breastfeeding with Aden was challenging, with Ariah it’s been unbelievable. I can’t fully express how it actually feels, but the bond it’s building between us is amazing. I cherish every second I can sit down and feed her. It’s our private time together, and I really find it so relaxing. It makes me feel good to know that I can give her everything that her body needs, and I plan to do so until she’s one year. And women must do what’s right for their baby–which can include bottle feeding of course. In that case, I’ve discovered that Gentle Gerber formula is best!I’ve learned to trust my baby. I hope hearing my story will help any new mommas out there!"
According to WebMd, some of the amazing healthy and economical pros of breastfeeding include:
- It's free and always available (formula can cost an upwards of $4 an ounce)
- It contains active infection-fighting white blood cells and natural chemicals that give increased protection against infections in the first months, when these can be the most serious.
- It can help prevent SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- It contains the perfect proportion of nutrients that your baby needs, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, and calcium.
- It is easily digestible.
- It may protect against allergies and asthma in the future.
- It may decrease a baby's risk of obesity in the future.
- It may contain some fatty acids that promote brain development.
- Breastfeeding can help new mothers lose weight more easily (with some OB-GYN's claiming that a day of breastfeeding can burn as many calories as a 7-mile walk. Now you wonder why some moms have an incredible attack of "snapback" when they come out looking better than pre-pregnancy!
What I can admire about Tamera's recount on breastfeeding (as a woman who hopes to have children in the future, and just as a woman overall) is that for one reason or another, the very fact that breastfeeding comes harder for most women than others is like a taboo, and hardly anyone speaks on it. It's as though a ladies' failure to breastfeed with ease is the equivalent of a shameful secret, as if such a thing makes us less of a woman because of it. And because of that, we often feel alone when it happens to us.
In actuality, many women, both young and older mothers, have issues with either producing milk, getting their babies to latch or both. Lack-tation (see what I did there?) can actually be the common result of blocked milk ducts or Mastitis, aka the inflammation of the breast which can result in your breast milk's duct being blocked. And no woman is safe from it either!
During a recent discussion, some of our very own staff revealed their experiences with breastfeeding:
"I personally didn’t breastfeed because my crazy son got freaked out every time I pulled out my boob. He just refused to latch, so we didn’t force it. But we should have stuck with it, because there are a ton of benefits to breastfeeding. I applaud any mom who can do it." -Joy "I didn't breastfeed for long because I stopped producing milk after two weeks. If I'm being honest I didn't mind though because that process, for me, was very painful. I cried every time. Which could've been due to my lack of milk supply, but I used to hate having to get up in the middle of the night just to be in pain. Then when I had to stop I received so much backlash from people and it was like why are you yelling at me? I didn't have an option! As they spewed their facts and health knowledge about why its the best thing in the world.
There are some people who breastfeed and make it seem like if you don't you're a horrible mom and the only way to bond with a child is through breastfeeding. Have literally heard people say this and its discouraging because its not true." -Ashleigh
"God bless the women who breastfeed–I did it for a month the first go round (and oddly, stopped producing) and not at all the second time. I 100% agree that it isn't easy, and although my experienced sucked, I fully advocate for it.
As far as the emotional trauma that comes with it, a lot of it has to do with other moms who shame parents (I've been through it–side eye) or understanding that the benefits are so key for your baby's development and not being able to produce enough milk. The blame game is real on the latter & some Mommies don't realize that sometimes, there's nothing you can do. It's not your fault." -Erica
Breastfeeding-shaming is also a huge and unfortunate part of women feeling the pressure to breastfeed, even if it's not the best for their baby or even their body. The crazy thing is, there are more than a few dangers associated with breastfeeding, with the most common one being "thrush,"--a yeast infection of the nipple and/or breast. It’s the result of a fungus that thrives on milk on the nipples and/or in the milk ducts. Your baby can get it, too. In fact, you can pass it back and forth to each other. So not everything is for everybody. Only each individual mom, with the possible further assist of a physician, nurse or experienced woman in her life, knows what is best for her baby and her body.
And although I don't entirely agree with feeding your tot a tit once they are able to chew into steak (as Erica pointed out, "the woman I worked with in a hospital said her baby bit her nipple off and she had to get it sown back on-- HELL nahhh!) every mom is different. Some only care to breastfeed up until the baby's first birthday, while some mom's will feed their kid way into their first day of preschool.
Either way, breastfeeding is an option that most mom's feel is a right they should have to decide upon!
What are your thoughts on breastfeeding and how was your experience?
A modest goddess who keeps it humble between mumbles. I'm a journalism graduate with a HERstory in digital media, print and radio. Roll the credits: Power 96, VH1, xoNecole, EBONY, SOHH. Deemed "Top 20 Women in Media" by Power 105. Bronx made me, Broward raised me.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Fall Equinox begins on September 23, 2023, and it’s time to embrace abundance, gain clarity, and know that you are worthy of your desires. The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall and the end of summer and is a turning point of the year, where things settle in and come to fruition. The energy that fall brings is one of harvest, but it is also one of release, letting go, and finding your ground. Coming from a summer of intensity, drama in love, and overall moving through a space of deep spiritual growth- now that fall is here, we are ready to decompress, dream, and enjoy that which we have created for ourselves.
What Is the Energy of the Fall Equinox 2023?
The energy this fall is opening up new doors of abundance and is a time of reaping your rewards in life. Fall begins at the same time as Libra Season, and a lot of these blessings have to do with love and the relationship developments that will be taking place over the next few months. With a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra occurring a few weeks after fall begins on October 14th, something enchanting is happening in romance right now. The scales are coming into balance, new beginnings are occurring, and clarity prevails.
Relationships over the next few months are about focusing on the gifts and gratitude you find in them and accepting where things need to change as well.
By the time winter begins, most of the planets that are currently in retrograde will be direct, and this signifies the change of pace that fall is bringing. This fall highlights Eclipse Season overall, and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th will be a time of creating boundaries, honoring your values and energy, and closing a chapter in your life that doesn’t align. Financial worlds are growing and finding new ground, but with Jupiter still in retrograde in Taurus until December 30th, patience is needed here.
Over the next few months, give yourself the space to gain some new perspectives, make room for love, and grow in abundance.
Your guidance this fall is to take those first steps toward the goals you have been pondering over this year. There is a Full Moon in your sign a week after fall begins, and you get the opportunity to enter this season with less baggage and more closure. You will possibly be starting a new position or working in a new field, and you need all the good energy to back you right now. Know that you can count on your skills and talents to move you further in life and that help will be there when you least expect it. This is a fall of abundance for you, Aries, claim it.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 13, Nov. 21
Patience, patience, patience, Taurus. You are creating something beautiful in the world right now, and the time it’s taken to get you here will all be worthwhile. Your guidance this fall is to nurture your world and your dreams and to bring more love and compassion to your life. You are preparing for a new reality but need some more time to dream it up and define that which you want for yourself and your future. The Full Lunar Eclipse happening this fall is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through some major closures in your life right now. This is a creative time for you, Taurus.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
This fall is all about taking care of yourself and valuing your time and energy, Gemini. The way you see yourself and your life are coming up for review right now, and you are being urged to look at yourself in a better light. Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde for the last time this year on December 13th, just before fall ends, and this time is all about taking what you have learned and choosing better for yourself. You may be tested to be more confident or true to yourself right now and over the next few months, and it’s about owning your part in this life and standing up for what you want.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 20, Dec. 12
This is an abundant fall for you, Cancer. You have worked diligently on claiming the opportunities and new doors that have been opening for you, and you are feeling free to be your successful self. You are encouraged in your independence right now, and you have proven to yourself just how talented you are and how much you have grown. No major aspects are happening in your sign this fall, giving you the space to breathe, create, and receive your rewards. Happiness fills your world, and even though you still feel like you are just getting started in a sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the gifts that are presenting themselves today.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 13
This fall is a turning point for you in love, Leo. New developments are taking place in your relationships, and you are being received especially favorably. This is the time to open your heart to growth and new possibilities and to get creative with what you are looking for right now. The Last Quarter Moon happening in your sign on November 5th will be a turning point for you this fall. Your unique charm and charisma are enough, and you attract many to you through your natural energy and love for life. Your ship is coming in this fall, and your heart is fulfilled.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, Nov. 14
Virgo, this fall is a blessing for the heart space. You are feeling in tune emotionally, and there is positive energy coming your way and into your love life. You have spent a lot of this year healing, forgiving, and finding your voice, and over the next few months, you will be creating the spaces you have been looking to enter in your life. Venus enters your sign for a month on October 8th, and there are some pleasant surprises in store for you during this time. Fresh starts are coming in for you, and spiritually, you are awakening to the gifts within you and in your heart. Your beauty is showing, and love is coming in for you this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 20
This fall is a new beginning for your financial world, Libra. Autumn begins the same day Libra Season does, and you have some extra motivation and energy within you right now. You are ready to put the action behind the intentions you have been setting for yourself financially, and this is a time of plans coming together and falling through to success. The more you stay focused and diligent, the more opportunities that can come for you right now. The first month of fall, the Sun is in your sign, and this is really the time to get things moving in your life, especially with a New Moon Eclipse in Libra on October 14th happening as well.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 27, Oct. 14, Oct. 30, Nov. 20
It’s all about the vision for you right now, Scorpio. You are focused on the future, your path ahead, and manifesting your dreams, and there is something passionate about the next few months for you. You may be taking some risks this fall as you test the boundaries on how far you want to go with something and what worlds are opening up to you now. Mars is in your sign from October 12th until November 24th, and life is exciting for you right now. You have your eyes on the prize and are ready to move forward toward the things that are lighting you up right now.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 12, Oct. 13, Nov. 6, Nov. 13,
This fall is about taking a leap of faith, Sagittarius. Your guidance over the next few months is to do the things that you would do if you knew you would be supported in doing them. Less self-doubt is needed now, as you are walking on new ground. You are moving towards personal healing you have been wary of from the beginning, and you are ready to let go of some energy that has been holding you back. Trust that once you decide on something, the universe instantly begins to make it happen for you. Your season begins on November 22nd, and it’s time to put yourself first more. Have courage in yourself this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 8, Nov. 22, Nov. 24, Dec. 12
This fall is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. You are a wise soul, and you are owning this energy about yourself right now. Over the next few months, you will be developing spiritually, helping those who need your sound advice, and evolving in life. You have found a new sense of enlightenment and are enjoying the clear perspective that has been gained. Mercury goes retrograde in your sign on December 13th, right before fall ends, and this is when you will be feeling more tested to take the lead in your life and use your voice. Overall, fall 2023 is your time to surrender to the good within you and in your life, Capricorn.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 4, Dec. 1
Things are moving fast for you this fall, Aquarius. This is a successful, harmonious, and passionate time for you, as many opportunities come your way at once. It will be hard to settle down with all the energy flowing through your life over the next few months, as you have so much to do and so many people to see. Overall, however, this is positive energy that you have been looking forward to in your life, and everything is coming together and moving forward where it was once stagnant. Fall is giving you the closure and the opportunity to reinvent yourself and start on new, solid ground in your life.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Nov. 28
Your guidance for fall is to have balance in your life. There is a lot of new coming in for you, but you are also working on letting go of what has fallen. You have grown in many ways this year, and financially, you have seen growth as well but may be feeling the weight of responsibilities this has come with now. To move through this season with the most grace, give yourself more time to rest, to be, and allow things to fall into place on their own. Saturn has been retrograde in your sign since June and goes direct this fall on November 4th, Pisces. This is your opportunity to see things more clearly, protect your energy, and feel more in tune with your internal guidance system.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 22, Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Dec. 12
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