Breastfeeding is Empowering!

I breastfed my daughter for a year and six months (maybe a little more). I do not remember exactly when I stopped breastfeeding, even though it was a huge moment in both Lily’s life and mine. I tried to stop breastfeeding as soon as she became 11 months but breastfeeding was heaven for me. I gained an amazing connection with my daughter that I will forever be thankful for. I believe that our bond became stronger because my daughter felt safe, happy, and comfortable through this experience. After lily shots or when she was sick I would breastfeed her and that would calm her down in seconds. I never had to struggle to put my daughter to sleep as soon as she was on the breast she would drift away. My daughter and I were in our own bubble when I was breastfeeding her.

My daughter’s health is great and I believe breastfeeding was the cause of this. It is rare for my daughter to get sick; she does not get as sick as other children in the winter. So I am thrilled that she does not have health issues.

Breastfeeding was comforting to my daughter. I know that when I breastfeed lily she was more relaxed and happy. Everyone in my life supported my decision for breastfeeding. I would have my mother Spanish remedies to increasing my milk supply. I think that having this support made a difference in the connection that I had with my daughter. Having people cheer you on about breastfeeding is great and makes you want to continue and make the experience last a little bit longer.

I weighed 150 lbs. when I gave birth. After I stopped breastfeeding I weighed 98. Losing this weight was bittersweet. It was bad because I wanted to gain more weight after birth, but the good thing is that my body looked great afterwards. I could not believe that breastfeeding could cause such a weight change.

I stopped breastfeeding because I was becoming too skinny, my daughter used my boobs for comfort, and my schedule did not work with breastfeeding. My daughter would want to stay on the breast all day. She would pull my shirt and position herself for it, would play and watch TV while still being on the breast. It was weird to have her do this. But even with those negatives I wanted to continue breastfeeding.

It was empowering. I felt like any other mother out there. I did not feel just like a young mother, I felt like a powerful mom. Breastfeeding makes you feel powerful. That’s what I loved about it. I feel that my body was made to nurture a child. If I could go back in time, I would do it all over again to gain those emotions and awesome breastfeeding moments.

Tips on breastfeeding:

  • Always have that medical soothing for sore breast. It helps to apply it when the breast hurts. Helping to prevent sore breast.
  • Drink lots of fluid throughout the day. The more you drink the more your breast supply.
  • Remember what you eat and drink will influence what your child eats and drinks
  • Wear clothing that is easy to pull your breast out easily.
  • Turtle necks are a hassle when trying to breast feed
  • Breastfeeding bra are great but not necessarily needed.
  • Do not through away all your old bras, you may actually go back to the same cup.

Leave a comment below with your questions and tips!

One Toddler, Two Languages?

I grew up in the Dominican Republic and was taught to speak, read and write in Spanish. During the years that I lived there, Spanish was my only language spoken. When I was 8, I came to America and all of a sudden, my primary language was being changed. I had no option but to learn English, learn the way people live in this country, and adapt to how we are supposed to interact with one another. If I wanted to succeed, I needed to know English, there was no way that just speaking Spanish was going to get me by in school and out in the world.

LilyNow that I’m a mother and I’m raising a child in America, I have a hard time choosing which language to teach my daughter. I have had so many pleasant and unpleasant conversations about the language that my daughter should speak. The issue is that people feel like my daughter should maintain her “Latina culture” but what they don’t seem to understand is that I am her mother, not them. I will teach and show my daughter the Dominican the culture. I will do this not because I have to, but because it is good for my daughter to know where her mother was born, where her family is from. I want my daughter to be educated on her family history. I know that by exposing her to as much Dominican culture and language as I can, I will give her a form of clarity of who she is as a person. Overall, it will be my daughter’s choice on how she takes in all this information and what she will do with it. Regardless of what my daughter learns, I do not have the last say of who she becomes or what language she will speak. My daughter will interpret all the information I hand her, in her own way.

My daughter is two years old and for her to learn two languages and two different cultures at this age is a lot. I know that explaining and teaching her two languages now means that she may not know how to explain herself to certain people. I believe that there is no rush for a two year old to learn her “Latina culture” right now, she has a lifetime to do so.  As a young parent, I’m constantly questioned the decisions I make because people assume I put no thought into them. In reality, I spend a lot of time thinking deeply about them. I use my own experiences and what I have learned to make these decisions. So it’s unfair to question my parenting just because my daughter isn’t speaking Spanish.

You Cannot Scare Me… I Have a Child

photo“You cannot scare me…I have a child.” My name is Tarialis Garcia. I am a full time student at UMass Boston, where I am a junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management. I have a two year old daughter name Lily. I have two part time jobs. One of my part time jobs is an internship at State Street working in the pricing room. My other part time job is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a young parent ambassador. As a young parent ambassador I advocate for young parents, help create events for young parents, and try to find them resources. When I am not working or at school I am taking care of my daughter. If I am not doing either of those things I am resting, usually reading or catching up on a TV show. I like going out but I limit myself with the busy life that I carry. To keep myself sane from my busy life I like to go shopping or interacting with other people my age. I like having a busy life, although I feel that I need to include more time for myself.

With everything going on in my life I usually get asked, what keeps you going? The answer to this is that I want to live a different life than what my parents had. I want a better future for myself and my daughter. Some days seem harder than others and there are times where I feel stressed out or feel like giving up, but I always find a way to pull through those negatives situations or thoughts. I like succeeding; it’s something that I am familiar with and like doing. Therefore failure for me it’s not an option. I cannot see myself without my bachelor’s degree, dream job, or living in the same or worst situation than what I am now. I am a goal seeker and now with a child I am more determine to strive through. There are many challenges as a young mother but I have had two successful years.

At State Street I am given a taste of what it is to have a real job. I am given many responsibilities that I have to handle. Being an intern at State Street you are not treated just like an intern but any other employee in the building. I like being able to explore and having a financial perspective at the age that I am in. I have learned a lot and grown as a person at State Street. Also in Brigham and Women’s Hospital I have had many opportunities to improve myself by interacting with others. I am learning to better my public speaking and improve my writing skills through many of the blog spot I have to do. I feel that both job opportunities have been beneficial to me.

Space to Feel Welcome

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In the past six months as a young parent ambassador, I have grown as a person. I been able to understand and explain my limits throughout the activities the group has done. I’ve become more open towards what I am comfortable doing or saying. I have pushed myself through many limits that I had. I am no longer extremely shy, but I am in the process of becoming outgoing. In the past six months, I have improved my leadership skills. The program has made me focused on my past, present, and think about my future.

Every young parent ambassador has a different story and talking to each other about it has made us grow closer and learn about each other situation. Being around other young parents makes you realize that you are not alone. Before becoming part of the young parent ambassador program, being young and having a child seemed lonely. It was hard to find someone to connect and talk to.  Specially with the shaming that young parents face now a day.

This group has given me a space to not only feel welcome but also feel loved and cared for. Even though my group of young parent ambassadors is very diverse, we all want the same goal: to be treated with respect as an equal human beings and parents. We all want to stop the shaming of young parents and create a welcoming community for other young parents. By creating a welcoming community for young parents many young parents won’t feel alone. Young parents will have someone that they can talk to who will not judge them for having a child at the age they did.  The community of young parents will be more united and be able to help young parents in need.

Lily Loves the MBTA

My daughter and I take the public transportation daily. I have a love and hate relationship with it, especially now that I take it with my daughter. Lily loves public transportation. Seeing so many people amazes her. She loves going out and traveling from place to place. Staring out the window of the bus or the train makes her happy. I in the other hand, have a different experience with public transportation. Most times the public transportation is great, the bus/train not full with people, which is good because we are able to grab a seat. Then there are other times where it is completely full that we cannot even get on the bus. When this happens Lily has a tendency to scream “Wait bus!” I have to explain to Lily that it is fine that the bus left, we will get on the next bus.

On a busy bus day we had, Lily had actually surprised me. Lily and I had entered a full bus where there were no seats available for us. I thought to myself “great now I have to stand up while holding lily in my arms.” After few stops, Lily looked around and pointed at a lady sitting down in the front and said “you, my seat!” I gasp and thought this is embarrassing but awesome. The lady looking at lily smiled and said “you want this seat? Here.” I was glad that she did this. I would not have been able to. It is hard at times to find a seat when we are taking public transportation. It surprises me that people do not offer a seat for a child. When I see that another person with a child get on the bus and no one offers a seat, I stand and ask the person if they want the child to share the seat with my daughter (since Lily is so tiny).

Lily and I have built relationship with some of the frequent bus riders. We started to take public transportation when she was six months old. Lily will be two this September. Most of the frequent bus riders say hi and know us. We exchange a few words during the ride. Lily has started to know this nice people. Even the bus drivers recognize us too. When lily used to go to daycare in a stroller, the bus driver always had the front seat up for us. On days we would not take the bus, the driver would say the next day “Hey, I had the seat up for you girls yesterday, what happened?” Lily loves all of this. She likes being noticed. I like taking the public transportation but there are also days I don’t. I just try my best to plan the ride and take it at their best times to avoid the struggle for me and avoid having an upset baby.

Do your kids like public transportation as much as Lily does?

My Life Has More Meaning

TarialisMy name is Tarialis Garcia and I am a 21 year old Dominican mother. I gave birth to my now one-year-old daughter, Lily. I am currently attending the University of Massachusetts Boston as a transfer sophomore student. I work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Young Parent Ambassador.

Juggling life as a mother is hard but surprisingly I have it all under control. Trying to be independent, a mother, a full time student, having a job, and being in a relationship is a lot of work. My road to success will not be easy but I am determined to go through it all to accomplish my dreams and goals in order to make myself happy.

I thought it would be impossible to continue pursuing my dreams after being a young parent. The negative media, the stereotypes, and the lack of knowledge towards the subject of a young parent made me feel that way. I was assured by many that my life would be over after my daughter. Funny part of it all is that without my daughter I would have not made it this far.

My daughter gave me strength that I did not know I had. I broke out of the shell that I hid behind before Lily was born. My life would have been completely different without her, but not in the way media has made it out to believe. Lily has influenced me into being a stronger woman. My life is not ruined because I got pregnant at a young age instead it has more of a meaning. I have broken out of all the social norms that we young parents face and throughout my blogs I will be able to prove it.

Tarialis is a participant of the Young Parent Ambassador Program at the Center for Community Health and Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.