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    When People Say, "Just Use A Cover"

    I’ve often heard people say, “I don’t know why it’s such a big deal to use a cover when you breastfeed.” Well, here’s why!

    Not every Mother has the option of using a cover. My daughter obviously does not like to be covered while she eats. She likes to look at me and make eye contact. She also likes to look around and swing her arm around freely. And I LOVE to smile at her and talk to her and sing to her while I nurse her. This is our way of bonding. And these are some of my most treasured moments as a Mother.

    Sadly, there are a lot of women who feel afraid to nurse in public, and I can’t stand that!!! No Mother should ever feel afraid or shamed for feeding their hungry baby!

    So to those of you who don’t like seeing a Mother breastfeed, look away, move on, or better yet, learn to appreciate it and support that Mom because nursing is HARD, and it is one of the best things a Mother can do for her child. And not all of us can or want to use a cover!! I am in full support of Mothers breastfeeding their babies, anywhere, anytime and in any way they feel comfortable doing it!

    -Billie Toone, @billiemarie_816

    A Mother's Worst Fear

    My baby has been waking up a lot in the middle of the night. Not sure if it is from teething, or if the seven month sleep regression turned into the eight month sleep regression. Either way, this mama is tired. 

    It was around midnight and it was the second time that night she woke up crying. So I picked her up from her crib and put her in bed with my husband and I so I can nurse her back to sleep.

    Around 3:30 in the morning, I heard something hit the floor, followed by crying. I never jumped out of bed that fast in my entire life. I turned on the light and I see my eight month old daughter lying on the floor screaming. I immediately started bawling. I couldn't believe I let her roll off the bed. 

    My husband and I held her, rocked her, and told her everything was going to be okay. After maybe two minutes of crying, she stopped. She started smiling and giggling. It was like she forgot anything had happened. We checked her entire body to see if she had bruises, scrapes, or bumps. There was nothing. I couldn't believe it. 

    Soon after that, she went back to sleep. I, however, couldn't sleep. I was up researching signs of concussion and head trauma. I kept thinking if we should take her to the ER, but my husband didn't think it was necessary, plus she seemed completely untouched. Regardless, I felt like a failure.

    The next day, I was on and off crying. I felt like I damaged her. The mom guilt was hanging over me like a dark rain cloud. I checked her entire body again to make sure nothing came up. Still nothing. She was perfect. Why did I have a hard time believing that nothing was wrong? I think the fact that we have carpet and had some clothes on the floor was our saving grace. 

    That night, during her bedtime routine, my husband and I were talking to her. I pointed to him and asked our daughter, "who is that?" And she said, "da da." When he pointed to me and asked her, "who is that?" She said, "ma ma." That was the first time she had ever distinguished the two of us as mama and dada. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life.

    In that moment, I knew she was perfectly fine. I told myself to let the mom guilt go. Easier said than done though, but I need to stop beating myself up for every little thing that happens. This won't be the last time she gets hurt, even if I hate to admit that. This is all just apart of motherhood.

    -Kristin, Owner/Creator of Free the Mother

    A Micro Preemie Miracle

    I'm a mama of three and photography is my side hustle.

    In 2011, I was a clueless expecting mama at 24 weeks going in to the OB for some symptoms people told me were "totally normal." I trusted my gut and made the appointment anyway. Turns out, at 24 weeks, I was losing my mucous plus and dilated 5 cm.

    Steroid shot and ambulance ride later, I was told I would not leave the hospital til the baby was born. After several attempts of slowing labor, Aiden was born a few hours later in the water sack. He cried a few moments on his own and then was put on a vent. 1 lb 10 oz micro preemie miracle.

    He was too small to breastfeed but I knew my milk was the best chance at helping him through the fight of his life. My body was not ready but I pumped anyway. By the time he was strong enough to try feedings through a feeding tube, I had enough stocked up to give him mothers milk.

    After 109 days in the NICU he came home healthy. Now he is 7 years old and perfect. Trust your gut when you are pregnant, you know your body better than anyone. No matter how you feed or raise your child, mothers know best. I am now a mother of 3 healthy kiddos.

    -Anjel, @anjel1988

    Check out her photography @anjelmartinphotography

    "Young" Mom

    So I guess I would be considered a “young mom” to most, I got pregnant at 20 years old after only knowing my child’s father for a short amount of time; and while she wasn’t planned I know that there was a plan for me and that’s why she is here.

    Emma is 10 months old now and these past 10 months have been some of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced, yes motherhood is hard but I believe I’ve had such a hard time because being so young everyone has wrote me off. While pregnant I got comments left and right on “are you sure you’re ready for this?”, “you’re so young maybe you should just take care of this and do it later”. I knew in my heart I was ready to be a mom, and then once she was born everything got so much worse.

    While nursing we were having issues left and right and I saw so many lactation consultants for them all to tell me “it’s just not working maybe you’re just not ready for it” so instead I did research and I figured it out myself.

    These past 10 months have been filled with rude comments, unsolicited parenting advice, bashing, and the list goes on and on. But they have also been filled with, belly laughs, baby snuggles, smiles, and so much joy. The comments don’t get to me as much as they used to, I’m at peace now knowing that I’m the best mom I could possibly be.

    -Brittany, @thewonderfulworldofemmagrace