reality of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Boss Mommy!

Meet Lauren! She shares the reality of breastfeeding as a mama, restaurateur, and sustainability advocate. Join her on for nourishing meals and insightful tips on sustainable living!

My daughter’s first birthday is just two days from now and as I approach this momentous occasion, I’ve been reflecting on the crazy juggling act of life as a new and breastfeeding mom and multiple-business owner. 

Just from that statement alone, one can guess – It’s been a wild ride! 

It feels like I have experienced every shade of human emotion. From the deepest most satisfying elation to utter hopelessness and intense overwhelm. 

This past year has been more potent than any year I have yet to experience. The delicate balance of being a breastfeeding mom and entrepreneur has been a journey of trial and error. I’ve mostly found what works by finding out what doesn’t and then course-correcting. 

Every once in a while, there are moments when I get something “right” the first time, but more often than not, I’m learning as I go. I’ve certainly learned how to give myself grace. How to forgive myself, my partner, my daughter. How to (and when to) surrender to the chaos within and without.

And there are a few other “biggies” I’m still learning. 😉 

I hope that by sharing a bit of my story, I can inspire more peace for the other mamas out there. I hope that I can inspire more strength for the hard moments and a deeper capacity for all of the beautiful and wonderful feelings in between. 

Because, as Katie says, “a happy (mama) is a productive (mama)!” We are mothers AND we are entrepreneurs. It’s a tall order for sure. And we can totally do it!

A Little Backstory… And My “WHY”

“Whether or not” I would try to breastfeed was never a question for me. I deeply believe in its benefits for both my baby’s and my own well-being. While I’ve educated myself on what science knows to be true about the benefits, I also wholeheartedly trust in nature and the natural way. 

This has been a significant driving force in my decisions around parenting and life in general. I’ve always viewed nature as the magic that fills in the missing gaps of what science tells us.

Before giving birth, I had made the decision to breastfeed exclusively. 

My daughter’s birth didn’t go as planned, however. My vision of a home birth, with my baby immediately in my arms, in bed, turned into a hospital birth and emergency measures that prevented that immediate latch attempt. 

It was a month-long journey of getting Quinn to the breast after being physically unable to breastfeed her initially due to blood sugar levels and her very tiny mouth, among other health issues. 

Eventually, though, after excruciating feelings of hopelessness and failure multiple times a day, Quinn and I succeeded in transitioning from finger-syringe and bottle feeding to breastfeeding and we never looked at another syringe or bottle ever again. 

I share this part of our story to demonstrate the importance of taking the necessary time to focus on the more important things before we jumped back into the business. 

I think my success with breastfeeding while running a business has been due to my early commitment to it and laying the foundation, allowing the proper space to nurture that process as deeply as was needed.

My decision to start and continue the food business was 100% inspired by my dream to exclusively breastfeed. 

I didn’t have an online business yet or any ideas for one, and I knew that if I didn’t bring in an at-home income, I would have to go get a job which would mean bottle feeding (not to mention spending hours away from my baby). 

On top of that, there would inevitably be childcare costs that I just couldn’t imagine being able to afford. 

There was plenty of incentive for me to brainstorm how to make money in my community, and so my little food business idea was born.

When I was 33 weeks pregnant, I launched a community-based, farm-to-table food project out of my kitchen. I wanted to make samosas! And I wanted to make them from the delicious, organic produce that my neighbors were growing. 

I was inspired by the thought of nourishing my community with such high-quality food and the sustainability factor of using local produce and zero-waste packaging methods. I felt like a pioneer in a world of waste and fast food.

Still, it took me three months to muster the courage to send that first email! The first week went incredibly well. Much to my surprise. I sold about 70 samosas. 

Even more to my surprise, the very next week, my daughter was born. 

I thought, of course, that I had about 2 more months before having my baby, but Quinn had other plans. 

So, after a two-month break from the business, we were back at it and luckily our customers didn’t skip a beat. Orders continued to roll on in just like the first week. After about a month, my partner was able to quit her job and be home full-time with Quinn and me and now it’s a family business!

I realize that my story is fairly unique in that I have been able to create a work-from-home situation that isn’t possible for most. But the principles I have adopted for a smooth running ship can be applied to any situation. As I look back on the last year, there are a few major takeaways. 

These are the foundational aspects of my life that make it all possible:

Allowing and Receiving Support

I’m convinced to my core that raising a baby is not a one or two-person job! 

I have a whole new appreciation for the popular saying, “It takes a village.” 

I will say, though, it’s taken me nearly 12 months to really master the skill of receiving support from anyone other than my partner. 

The shame surrounding this runs so deep. It’s as if that shame had a vice grip over my mouth and wouldn’t let me say, “Yes, thank you. I could really use the help today. Please come over and hold the baby while I take a shower/do my dishes/cook me a meal/hang out and play with the baby for a bit while I work on the computer/etc.” 

There are levels to this skill too. After the newborn phase, help was offered less frequently, if at all (probably because I rarely accepted it), and so I would have to initiate and ask for it! This was a huge struggle for me. 

I think it was partly due to the cultural programming that so many women receive that says “You should be able to handle everything and do it on your own.” 

This, coupled with my fear of judgment on my ability to “be a good mom,” made receiving support a real challenge. 

Eventually, my exhausted and run-down self acquiesced so that I might survive! Slowly, I’ve strengthened this muscle and now I am the biggest advocate for communal support! Any time and I mean ANY time someone offers their support, I accept it. What’s even more, I’ve learned how to ask for support when I need it too, and also just when I want it. 

Here’s the sustainability factor. I realized that if I’m going to get through this above the level of just mere survival, I need to ask for help way before I’m desperate. And so I do. And the reality is, everyone is always so happy to pitch in. 

And now, at 12 months of age, Quinn is much more mobile and her preferred place isn’t in the carrier but on my hip or crawling (and now walking!) around. So my partner and I take turns being with her, while the other is doing something productive toward the business. As she ages, her needs and the timing of them are a bit more predictable which allows more concentrated slots of time where I can focus on business. 

We have also just recently hired two young maidens who live in our neighborhood as “mother’s helpers” which has been revolutionary to our life! I also love the idea of nurturing the youth in gaining wisdom around caring for small children – something I see as being tragically scarce in our culture.

Essentially, both my partner and I can be focused on business-oriented activities while Quinn is still very nearby and getting the engagement and exploration that she needs. 

And now, I have the capacity to include another passion project in my life where I get to help other eco-driven individuals live a more sustainable lifestyle – all while being Mama to Baby Quinn. This second business is incredibly important to me because not only is it a creative outlet of “my own,” but it is my plan to take our income to the next level, beyond just meeting our basic needs.

It truly takes a village to navigate the journey of motherhood and entrepreneurship. Finding and embracing a support system is crucial. Whether it’s accepting help from family and friends, hiring assistance, or connecting with other like-minded moms in the community, having a network of people who understand and can lend a hand makes a world of difference. 

Over time, I learned to let go of the shame and embrace the support that was available to me.

The second factor in making it possible to run two businesses as a breastfeeding mama is:

Flexibility in Business

As a breastfeeding mom, schedules are often unpredictable. Being open to adjusting and adapting my work routine has allowed me to meet the needs of both my baby and my business.

At the time of writing this, my daughter is just about to turn one, and I have a pretty good idea of how long she can go in between nursing sessions, but it’s never been an exact schedule.

Especially in the first several months of her life, with cluster feeding and growth spurts, I often felt like I was nursing her around the clock! My focus on work is often interrupted or paused without much warning. 

Luckily, the way both of my businesses are set up, there is ultimate flexibility. 

And the way I take advantage of this is by breaking up my work into smaller, manageable tasks that can make it easier to handle interruptions. Instead of aiming for long, uninterrupted work sessions, I focus on completing smaller tasks during breastfeeding breaks. I make progress bit by bit over the course of the day and I’m more likely to avoid feelings of overwhelm.

And a Few Other Things…

Creating a nurturing environment for Quinn was essential in running a business. 

For me, wearing my baby in wraps and carriers was a game-changer. It allowed me to have Quinn close and involved in my daily activities while providing her with the comfort and security she needed. 

I wore Quinn everywhere and at all times! This allowed me to do so much. I did all of my prep and cooking with her wrapped on my chest. When customers would come to pick up their orders, you guessed it, she was wrapped up on my chest. It was incredible for both of us. 

In addition to being functionally beneficial to the daily tasks of life and business, having her wrapped on me allowed a certain part of my brain and body to be at ease. It always felt like she was right where she belonged and I could just glance down to see that she was okay. When she got a bit older and able to, I could nurse her in the carrier as well which allowed me to be a little more mobile and able to keep going with the task at hand.

In addition to having a “move-with-me” workspace, having a dedicated stationary workspace that is organized and clear of clutter has also been a huge contributor to my productivity. This way, when I have a moment to focus on computer work, I can dive right in without wasting precious time.

My workspace follows me into other unlikely moments as well. There are those precious nap times. Even though Quinn primarily naps at the breast, while we lay in bed, I can still use the time wisely. If I don’t take advantage of those moments for some rest myself, I am using those solid chunks of time for research or emails or anything else I can do on my phone. 

The skill of time management has been honed over the last 12 months to a fine art!

Final Thoughts…

Every breastfeeding mom’s journey is unique, and it’s important for each mama to find what works best for her and her baby. It may take time to discover the right balance, and there will undoubtedly be challenges along the way. However, with a mindset of resilience, an embrace of support, and a willingness to adapt, you can thrive as a breastfeeding boss mommy! 

Remember, you are not alone, and the growth and fulfillment that come from this journey are worth every moment of struggle. So keep going, trust your instincts, and know that you have the strength to conquer breastfeeding, motherhood, and entrepreneurship. 

Much love!

Want to share your story? We’re seeking real-life breastfeeding stories from real life people! Whether you’ve faced challenges or cherished joys as a healthcare professional or a parent, we want your unique perspective!

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