What I Want For My Children

Photo credit to Yellow Spot Photography

Today something is going to happen that I honestly never thought possible. As a nation we are going to swear a man into office who has zero political experience beyond the campaign he just finished, has already broken or twisted several promises he made during that campaign, has built himself a reputation as an amazing business man even though six  of those businesses have filed for bankruptcy, and wants to continue to tell us that celebrities have no business putting their voice into politics when he is a walking talking embodiment of that ideology. He ran a campaign largely based on loud voices, vague platforms, fear, racism, and hate. And today we will swear him in as the President of the United States.

Today I look towards our nations future, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive, I have spent a lot of time praying for this country and this planet we call home. I’ve prayed for the individual I do not like at all, and for all of the people scared of what the next four years will hold for them and their families. And one thing I have gotten out of my prayers is that although our countries future is uncertain, my dreams for my children’s futures are not.

I want my children to grow up to be hard working, motivated individuals who stand up for what is right, even if that means standing alone. I want them to find love, happiness, and friendship free from restrictions of race, religion, or gender. I want my children to know that others do not have to look like you, believe like you, or love like you in order for them to be accepted. To be defended. To be protected.

I want my daughters to be paid an equal wage for equal work, I want them to be able to wear what they want without fear of being assaulted and told they had it coming. I want my son to know that a woman’s place is beside him, not behind or below him.

My children are my life, my heart, and my soul. I want them to know I am always here for them, but I also want them to be capable and willing to stand on their own two feet. I want my children to look into their futures with hope and excitement, and I want them to look back on their past without resentment or regrets.

I have many wants for my children’s future, just as I have many wants for my nation’s. In the meantime I will continue to pray for both, to lead by example, and continue looking onward. As J.P. Morgan once said:

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”


4 Lessons from 7 Days Without Social Media

“I bet you a hundred dollars you can’t go a week without that.” my Uncle Cas said, rather smugly I might say, as we sat in the living room after Thanksgiving dinner.

By that he meant the internet. Never one to back down from a bet, I accepted his challenge.

And I failed, I failed miserably. Cyber Monday, need I say more? But after I had clicked order on my children’s final Christmas presents I decided I would not completely give up. I had gone three days already without social media of any kind (no Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even YouTube) and although I would not be celebrating Christmas with another Ben Franklin hanging out in my pocket I figured I could at least see if I could keep part of my commitment.

I’m not going to lie and say it was easy, in fact it was really, really hard. I, like many in my generation, have become dependent on the the constant connection that social media gives me. The constant constant entertainment and feeling of connection without zero effort. But I did it, I pulled through, and I even learned some valuable lessons during the process.

Lessons such as:

I do not have to be constantly plugged in to maintain connections.

My generation are the pioneers of social media. Yahoo chat, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter; we’ve had it all at our fingertips since keeping up with our friends outside of homeroom became necessary. It is so easy to send a quick Facebook message or DM someone on Instagram that it becomes a go-to form of communication.

But during my week without social media I found that these methods of communication were not necessary for me to maintain communications, instead I found that I still connected with the people most important to me, and in even more meaningful ways. A call to my grandmother or best friend left me feeling a lot more fulfilled than a chat message. That’s because during the call, however brief it was, both parties were fully engaged in the conversation, it wasn’t given in little snippets broken up by chores, work, or other daily activities.

Social media costs.

This one was a big one. We hear people often talk about how much time is wasted on social media. We look at our phones so frequently they become another appendage, so much so that I don’t think we can fully fathom just how dependent we are on them until they are taken away. By taking myself away from social media, I took away my need to look at my phone. Believe me, the first few days it felt like I had lost an appendage, like my left leg had suddenly walked away on it’s own and I was left me wobbly and uneven.

And while I felt unsteady without my phone, like I had lost something or was missing something, I soon realized how much I had gained by giving it up. I had gained time with my children, moments that had once been lost while staring at a screen. I had lost the effort and motivation to take care of my home and family, and the relationships I would should have been building with them.

It’s a lot more enjoyable to experience the moments instead of worrying about posting them online.

By day three without social media, I started to feel a little more steady. I started to breath, and to see my surroundings clearer. When I played with my kids I was seeing them through my own eyes, and not through the eyes of my iPhone camera. I experienced moments with them fully engaged instead of planning out how I would put it into a Facebook status.

I started really living these moments with my family, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I’m not the only one with this problem.

This one seems very obvious, and maybe I am silly for even thinking that it is something worth noting. But I really was taken aback that once I unattached myself from social media for a little while, and coincidentally unattached myself from my phone simultaneously, I noticed how many there were out there like me. Not just moms and dads, and contrary to popular belief definitely not just millennials. No, this problem is one is felt by seemingly all generations, races, and religions. It does not discriminate; and whether that is a good or bad thing I do not know.

After my seven days were done and over I would be a liar to say that I was not happy to have social media back once my little experiment was over. In fact, the first thing I did was check my Facebook feed. But while I have not fully given up on social media altogether, my experiment did give me a sense of the freedom that I can have without it. Although I still use it to connect to my friends and family, my days are no longer wasted away on the screen of my phone. And I really, really like it.



2016 Favorites

Please note that this post contain affiliate links.

2016 was a big year for our family, and I thought long and hard about the products and people that meant the most to me this year. I hope you enjoy the video!


I want to let you know how truly grateful I am for you and your support over this past year. You are one of the most amazing, helpful, and caring people I know. There is no way I will ever be able to thank you for all you’ve done for our girl. I know you always tell me that it was nothing, but that ‘nothing’ has made a huge impact on our lives for the better. Every gain Austen makes can be traced back to the choice you made to have that conversation with Dr. H.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Products Mentioned:

Your Skin But BetterTM CC Cream with SPF 50+ (Fair)
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Waterproof Concealer, Light (Ultra Fair)
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Rosebud Salve by Rosebud Perfume Company 0.5 fl oz
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Eat, Pray, Love
Back to Butter: A Traditional Foods Cookbook – Nourishing Recipes Inspired by Our Ancestors
The Elliott Homestead: From Scratch: Traditional, whole-foods dishes for easy, everyday meals
KidSafe essential oils
Bullet Journal
Flowering Hope Foundation

What were your favorite products of 2016? What products are you excited to try in the new year?


An Open Letter to the Parents of a Child Recently Diagnosed with a Rare Disease

Dear Parent,

I do not know you, and I can’t even really say that I know how you feel, but I know how I felt last May when we received our daughters diagnosis. I thought why us? Why me? Why her? I wanted to cry and crawl into a tunnel and disappear in my despair. In reality I cried on and off for several days, ignored a lot of phone calls, made a few others, and watched my babies every single move.

Was that the healthiest way to cope? Probably not, but it got me through. And as time went by I learned to pick myself up and as time went on the reality of dealing with the disease eventually became second nature. Do I still hate Dravet? Hell yes. But I have learned some important realities of dealing with a child who has a rare disease, realities that I learned on my own but I want to pass on to you.

Knowledge is power.

Recently it was announced that a new study would take place across 44 hospitals in the US in regards to which of three anti-seizure medications would work best to treat a status seizure. The point of the study to is create a national protocol for emergency room doctors to follow in regards to treating these kinds of seizures. Sounds decent enough, right? The problem was that this is a completely blind study and federal regulations allow it to be done without patient or parent approval, meaning the doctors do not have to tell you they are doing the study on your child before they do it. If that isn’t scary enough one of the three anti-epileptic drugs in the trial (fosphenytoin) is a complete no-go for kids with Dravet Syndrome, instead of stopping a status seizure in a child with Dravet it will actually make it worse. Thankfully they have come out with a list of hospitals that are participating in the study and IF you know about the study beforehand you can get an bracelet for your child to wear letting the doctors and emergency room staff know that you have declined the study.

I am so grateful to know that this option is available for us, but what if I didn’t?

You might be a parent like me, who already googled and searched through the information about my child’s diagnosis before the test results came back. You have an idea what your child will face in the days, weeks, and years to come and you continue to frantically search more information each day.  Or you might be the complete opposite, you chose not to look up the disease before you knew the results, you didn’t want to scare yourself with ‘what ifs’. Both options are totally okay, but remember that you can never know too much about your child’s condition.  In fact, the thing with rare diseases is that you will probably end up knowing more about your child’s condition than many of the professionals that you will come in contact with. You will be the one that is up to date on new trials and therapies that could benefit your child, and you will be the one that is often informed of studies like the one above in which you are the only one who can keep your child’s best interest in mind. At this point being educated about your child’s disease is not an option, it is a must.

Be your child’s advocate. 

Chances are that your child will see quite a few people throughout their medical journey.  Doctors, therapists, specialists, etc. And it is not always easy for them to connect to you and your child because, well lets face it, they see a lot of kids every day. Some, like my daughters neurologist, will focus on kids solely with your child’s condition. But more often than not they might see thirty different kids, with thirty different issues coming in and out of their office each day. They don’t always know all the nitty gritty details, and it’s not that they don’t care, it’s that it is impossible for them to do so.

But those details could make or break your child, and it is up to you to advocate. If your child is put on a new med that your doctor seems very excited about, but you see it having adverse reactions at home it is your job to be your child’s voice and talk to the doctor about a change. If you think your child would benefit from a certain type of therapy, or you a new piece of medical equipment at home speak up! You don’t have to be rude, but you also cannot expect for the doctors to know what is going on unless you let them know.

Use the power of social media to your advantage.

Social media is a great way to get your child’s story out there for others to pray and think encouraging thoughts, we set up the Hope for Austen page back before we ever moved from Texas because we had so many friends and family members wanting to be kept up to date.

But what I love even more about social media is my ability to connect with other moms going through the same thing. Facebook is filled with pages and groups directed towards parents of children fighting similar conditions. If your child’s condition has a name, I would be willing to be that there is a group out there for it. These are awesome because these are the people who know exactly what you are going through, they can help you through the ups and downs of day to day living. From my experience it is these people who will be your biggest supporters, and will pray the hardest for you on your bad days.  Which brings me to my last point…

You matter too.

This is probably the hardest point to remember of my topics today, but I speculate that it is the most important. I read a blog post earlier today that spoke about how for parents of special needs kids often do not just have PTSD, it’s more like TSD because the trauma is continual, it never goes away.

I remember the first time Austen was in the hospital, she was intubated and in the picu at Dallas Children’s.  On day two or three of her stay they were taking her back to get an MRI as well as CT scan to let us know what, if any, damage had occurred from her big 35 minute seizure. So far her dad and I had only left the room to eat or take a quick shower, but never left the hospital itself. In fact, when we did leave the room it was for as short amount of time as we could stand because we did not want to leave her alone. On this day the nurse came in and told us that they would have Austen out of the room for several hours. We could stay in the room she said, but she really encouraged us to leave.  To get out and go to lunch, to take a walk, to breath. We went to Denny’s and then to Target to get Austen a toy. In the Target checkout line I broke down bawling and the poor cashier had no idea what to do with me.  It was then that all the trauma, all the stress came crashing down on me.

You matter too.  You matter too. One more time for the people in the back YOU MATTER TOO. As a parent in general it is very easy to wrap ourselves into our kids lives until we eventually lose who we are without them, this happens sevenfold when our children have special needs. But you must take care of yourself, if for no other reason than if you lose your sanity who else does your child have?

So talk to a therapist, join a support group, take that respite care that the hospital is offering you. Get a pedicure, take a nap, heck even go grocery shopping by yourself. Do whatever it takes to keep you as 100% as possible, because you absolutely cannot make it unless you take care of you too.


Dear parent, I know right now you are scared, and I do not know if that will ever go away. I know that the road ahead of you is probably a hard one, and definitely a tiring one. But I also know you are not alone, you have joined a club that no one ever wants to join, but whose members are some of the greatest and most inspiring people in this world. I want you to know you are in my prayers now, and will continue to be in them until I draw my last breath. You are not alone, nor will you ever be.

With Love-


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Sick Days

This post may contain affiliate links.

Atlas is a very energetic little boy.  He is always on the go, building things, taking things apart, and just generally making a mess.  Sometimes I find myself wishing he had an off button, or even a pause button.  It often seems like nothing could ever slow him down.

And then he gets sick. And through all of the coughs, sneezes, and naps I find myself missing my energetic little boy.  At first he always tries to deny the existence of the bug.

“I’m not sick, mama.” he will say through watery eyes while wiping his nose with his sleeve.  His little eyes are already red and puffy, there’s no denying what’s coming.  I know that in just a little while he will give in, and quietly whisper in my ear “Mama, I think I need a nap.”  That’s how I know it’s real, that he has admitted defeat and is really, really sick.  Atlas never wants to nap.

Unfortunately for Atlas this sick day is also falling on the first good snow playing day of the year. I can’t count how many times he has looked longingly out the window today and asked to play for ‘just a little bit’.  And now I can hear Austen coughing from the other room as well: two runny noses, two coughing babies, and lots of snuggles for mama.

I know there isn’t much I can do.  The soup is on the stove, our diffuser is up and running, and they have been thoroughly doused in my favorite essential oil blends from Plant Therapy’s Kid Safe line. We are watching, waiting, and have our seizure stuff out and ready to go.  Hopefully we won’t have to use it though.

In the meantime it will be couch cuddles, Thomas & Friends in the dvd player, and I quiet afternoon with my littlest littles.  Maybe this afternoon we can muster up the energy to play with some homemade play-doh, and hopefully tomorrow we will all be back to our energetic and mess making selves.


Our America

Today I am sad, I am scared for America; my home, my family, my future.  I am not sad necessarily because Trump won, I have looked deep down into my soul and really believe I would have been just as sad even if the other party had taken the victory.

I am sad because this election has brought out the absolute worst in our people.  One nominee opened the floodgates of hate, showing many people’s true colors in regards to anyone who is or thinks different than them be it their race, religion, economic standing, sexual orientation, or even their gender.  I have seen so much hate, so much animosity spewed over social media this past year and it has made me look at many people I love and hold dear with a new set of eyes.

Does every person who voted for him see with this set of eyes, believe and condone this level of hate? No, I do not think so.  Some of the people I love the most voted for him, and I have searched in my heart to see if I can imagine them being filled with this level of darkness.  I can’t.  But I fear they are the minority in his followers, and the majority is what my nightmares are made of.

The other half saddens me too.  The ones who do not care that it is not her voice that they will be standing with, instead it will be ‘big money’; the lobbyists, the corporations, the foreign entities that scare me shitless that will be running this country.  Their money paid for her campaign, and their money would pay for the policies she would fight to put in place.

And I’m not just sad, I am angry.  I am angry at both sides.  There are over 300 million people in this country, and these are the two that we decided to choose between.  I am mad that no matter how often it has been proven that a two party system is absolutely ridiculous and even harmful to our nation that we insist on keeping it.  I am mad that because I chose to deviate away from that line of thinking I am told that my vote must have been a protest vote, and that I somehow harmed my country by doing so.

Here’s the thing, I don’t vote for the people.  I vote for the policies they are going to put in place.  I vote for what I feel our country needs, and what I feel would be best for me and my family.

That means no to big money.

That means yes to universal healthcare.

That means yes to equal rights and equal freedoms no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

That means yes to a plant that is saving my babies life and could very well save countless others.

Did the candidate I chose tick off all of those boxes? No, but that candidate checked off all but one.  Is the perfect candidate for me out there?  He was, but unfortunately he asked me not to vote for him and I could not in good conscience vote for who he asked me to.

So here I am: scared, angry, sad. And the one thing I am doing is praying lots of prayers, for the next for years and what they will do to the future of the land that I love. We are an America founded on immigration, founded on freedom, founded by refugees: the tired, the poor, the huddled masses.  And I hope we never forget it.

1 in 20,000


November is epilepsy awareness month, a whole month devoted to spreading awareness to this awful condition that effects 1 in 26 Americans. An estimated 65 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy and 2/3 of those people do not have a known cause to their seizures.

In Austen’s case we know the cause, an SCN1A mutation known as Dravet Syndrome, the condition hits 1 in 20,000 people worldwide. In kids with Dravet Syndrome seizures tend to start before or around 6 months of age, they start out as tonic clonic (grand mals) and then the child eventually starts to develop new types of seizures in their second year of life. Dravet patients are characterized by having status seizures, a seizure lasting over five minutes, that are notoriously hard to control and resistant to anti-epileptic drugs. Most Dravet kids end of being severely cognitively delayed and many end up being somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. Dravet kids have a 16-20% chance of dying before the age of 20.

Dravet Syndrome is awful, Dravet Syndrome can kiss my ass.

As I write this I am looking at my 17 month old baby; this baby who is completely cognitively normal. She walks, she talks, she sings, she plays, she climbs, she socializes. I am looking at this baby who earlier today was running, laughing, and getting into trouble but is now asleep and exhausted thanks to a non-convulsive status seizure she had right after her bath this evening. Thankfully THC stopped her seizure, but it is taking more and more to stop them each time. Today I almost gave up and brought out the Diazepam (a gel form of valium) but she thankfully stopped seizing right as I was about to administer it.

My husband keeps telling me to stop being pessimistic. He is convinced that THC and cannabis are going to be a miracle for our girl. Maybe he is right, maybe it will be. I hope it is. But sometimes it’s easy for the negativity to take over. For the anger and the bitterness to bubble up and come to the surface.

You see, I am mad, I am angry, I am devastated that this condition is ransacking my baby. I hate that she has to suffer, and I hate that no matter what I do I can’t seem to stop the seizures completely.

Tonight I feel scared and I feel defeated, but tomorrow is another day. Tonight I might cry, but tomorrow I will pick up the pieces and continue this fight to help my baby.

I will do it because she deserves a chance, she deserves hope, and she deserves to have people in her corner fighting to give her those things.

And if I won’t do it, who will?

Who Am I?

Over the last few months I have been going through an identity crisis of sorts.  I have had a really hard time reconciling what I have been told I should be as a mom, a writer, a Christian, a blogger, etc. with what I really am inside.  So I’ve taken some time to write how I see myself, the things that are defining me right now.  You might not agree, and that is okay. But this is me. This is who I am, and I am no longer ashamed to admit it.



I’m a product of hippies and southern belles

A mutt in every sense of the word

Teaching and writing run through my veins

And the Red River clay clings to my soul.

My ancestors were pilgrims and free thinkers

Generals, prostitutes, and judges.

Each gave me something unique,

And filled me up, drop by drop, to make me whole.


I am an American.

A Daughter or the Revolution, and the Texas Republic.

I love my country with all of my heart,

But I am scared for us too.

I believe in socialized healthcare and a flat tax for all.

Because I believe we were all created equal,

And our economic status should not determine our access to healthcare,

Or determine what percent of our earnings we give back to our nation.


I am a daughter of Christ,

Forgiven of my sins.

But I’ve learned to focus more on the red words in my Bible,

And not the absurd expectations society says I must meet in order for my faith to be real.

I believe in a world were my privileges and rights,

Are not defined by my race, gender, or sexual preference.

I believe that our forefathers built our nation on the freedom of all religions,

And not just the one I belong to.


I am a feminist.

Not because I believe all men are rapists, or that I am superior in any way.

But because I believe that I am equal.

And that my anatomy should not subject me to lower pay and less respect.

I would rather befriend a pot head than an alcoholic,

Because marijuana doesn’t make you go home and beat your wife.

The only thing I need to protect from pot is my Cocoa Puffs,

And cereal can be replaced, but people cannot.


I am a mother.

My heart belongs to the three little souls who fill my heart with love,

And my days with chaos.

They complete me, in every sense of the word.

I am an advocate and a dreamer,

A writer, and sometimes a screamer.

I am far from perfect, and I don’t have all the answers.

I am me, and I am learning to not only be comfortable in my own skin, but to embrace it.


An Ode to the Mom Bun

An Ode to the Mom Bun The Moogie

This post was originally posted on my former blog, The Moogie, but in honor of Mother’s Day yesterday I decided to post it here too.  For all you moms out there, you are loved, you are appreciated, you are important.

I see you over there. Your hair pulled up, not because it is the latest fashion, or even because it is ‘messy cute’.  It is based more on time and ease than how many Pinterest pins it would get.  No, your hair is not inspired by magazines and movie stars, it is inspired by the messes and spills, cuddles and hugs that make up your day.

At 5:00 a.m. it is pulled up in a sleepy haze while you wake up to start your coffee, make bottles, and change diapers.

Maybe it’s tossed back after breakfast when your bending down to sweep up the scramble eggs for the third time this morning; or as you lean in for snuggles and a story as nap time draws near.

At 3:00 it’s thrown up while you run to your child on the playground, and again at 6:00 when you splash and scrub your Little’s in the bath.

It comes in the form of a bun, a pony tail, and even a braid.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can do it without even thinking.  It’s automatic and engrained, a testimony to the love and devotion you put into the day’s tasks, both menial and substantial.  It’s a part of your uniform, mini vans and yoga pants optional.

It might not be vogue, but it tells a story; and that mama, is not just amazing, it’s inspiring.

Breastfeeding: The Good, The Bad, and the Bloody

The Moogie Breastfeeding The Good The Bad and The Bloody

Photo Courtesy of Addi

So far I have spent over two years of my life nursing babies.  Two full years providing nutrients so that my little one can grow and develop.  It is something that I truly love and have become passionate about.  I mean not only does it save my family money, but I am also providing my babies with tons of nutrients to help them grow and develop to be healthy and strong kids and adults.

But with that said, breastfeeding is not all sunshine and daisies.  Breastfeeding is hard y’all, it’s really freaking hard. Which is why it isn’t surprising the only 13% of new moms successfully breastfeed exclusively for the first six months (according to a 2013 study from the UC Davis Medical Center).  And unfortunately many women are left unsupported thanks to a mixture of social taboos and pure ignorance on benefits of a mother’s milk.

I myself stopped breastfeeding Addi at two months after an ER doctor gave me a medication that was not breastfeeding friendly when I came down to with a bout of pneumonia. I was told I would need to pump and dump for two weeks to keep my supply up.  I had a small supply of pumped milk in my freezer that was gone within two days, and Addi was moved to formula.  I tried y’all, I tried really hard, but I was only 19 and the whispers of “Isn’t pumping too much work” and “You know it’s not a badge of honor, you don’t HAVE to keep nursing.” soon got to me, and I gave up.

If I am being honest, I felt like a failure.  I felt like not only had I let my baby down, I had let myself down.

When Atlas was born I was determined that this time I would be able to breastfeed successfully.  When I was preparing to breastfeed Addi I did very little actual preparing.  I thought it would just happen, and it did for the first two months, but I felt that maybe if I had prepared more for the possibility of failure it might not have happened.

So while pregnant with Atlas I read.  I read everything I could get my hands on, and I didn’t stop there.  I watched YouTube videos and asked for tips and tricks from professionals and other moms like me.  I felt like I was preparing for the boob olympics or something.

I was amazed at the range of advice that I got, and I do believe it helped me a ton when it came to nursing him.  He successfully breastfed for 14 months, when he decided to wean himself, and never got a drop of formula.  Austen is going strong at almost 9 months, and is showing no signs of slowing down!

But with that said I would like to pay it forward, and share with you some tips, tricks, and tidbits of advice that I have found beneficial during my breastfeeding journey.

It is not one size fits all.  Just as breasts come in many different shapes and sizes, so do breastfeeding journeys.  No two journeys are going to be exactly the same.  Some people have no problems at all, breastfeeding is a breeze to them.  Other’s experience cracking and bleeding, engorgement and mastitis.  But just because your journey is different than the woman’s next to you, doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong, or that you cannot succeed.  You just have to find your own path and go with it.

Cracking? Bleeding?  Yep, I said it.  Breastfeeding freaking hurts.  I honestly didn’t believe this one at first, because breastfeeding Addi was super easy (please don’t throw tomatoes at me).  Until I got sick we literally never had any problems.  She had an awesome latch, I had a good supply, we must did it. I seriously thought everyones horror stories were complete exaggerations.

But then I watched my best friend try to nurse.

I’ll never forget her calling me after her son was born.  She was crying and saying this whole breastfeeding thing just wasn’t going to work out.  I went over to her house to see if I could help at all, and she showed me her boobs (when you’ve been best friends since you were nine, privacy doesn’t really exist) and my jaw hit the floor.  I had never seen anything so painful looking in my life.  She said she was in tears every time she tried to nurse, and I believed her.

I’m still grateful that I never had to experience such pain, but if you do there are ways to help.  A good nipple balm can soothe and help to heal cracked and sore skin.  Some women have also found that a warm tea bag used as a compress, or even rubbing some of their own breastmilk into the nipple helps them to heal.

As for the cause of the pain?  Often it is as simple as the babies latch, or positioning when they nurse.  A lactation consultant, nurse, or even your pediatrician can often help you trouble shoot and find a more comfortable nursing style for you and baby.

It’s a rollercoaster. Your emotions are going to go up and down, even after the post part hormones level out. Sometimes you will feel amazing about your breastfeeding journey, other times you will be in tears holing yourself up in the bathroom. There will be times when you feel that your body is not your own, and you will fear that it never will be again.  Then there will be times when you feel amazing about nursing.  You will love the bond it gives you with your baby, and the way they smile at you in between latches will simply melt your heart.  If I am being honest, hanging onto my emotions has often seemed just as daunting as the act of nursing itself.  But I have learned to just roll with it, and realize that tomorrow my feelings will probably be completely different.

It’s like a marathon, not a sprint. As your baby grows and changes, so does their nutritional needs.   But your body is seriously amazing.  As your babies needs change, your baby will signal to your body that it needs more milk through actions such as cluster feeding.  You might think it means that your baby isn’t getting enough, and you might be tempted to supplement with formula.  But your baby is more than likely getting exactly what they need, and the cluster feeds are telling your body to produce more milk for them.  Soon enough your babies feedings will level out again. Until their next growth spurt, that is.

And finally, my last piece of advice is that sometimes breastfeeding is simply not for everyone.  While I love what breastfeeding has done for my family, and fully advocate the benefits of it for both mom and baby, sometimes it’s just not the right fit for a particular mommy or baby.  That is OKAY! When I had first stopped nursing Addi another mama comforted me with these words of advice “It doesn’t matter how you feed your baby, as long as you feed your baby.” So simple, and yet so, so true!  We all make the choices we do in parenting because we want whats best for us and for our kids. I don’t know the girl next to me’s story, I don’t know if she bottle feeds because it is medically necessary, or works full-time, or is an adoptive mama, or because she simply doesn’t want to.  Whatever her reasons, they are hers, and I’m okay with that.

Just as I feel an outsider has no right to tell me where I can feed my baby, I feel that I have no right telling a bottle-feeding mom what she can feed her baby.

So bottle or boob, choose what feels right to you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  You’ve got this mama, your baby trusts your instincts, and so do I!