This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.
It was August 2010 and I was 8 months pregnant. I desperately wanted to become a stay at home mama after my baby was born, but the reality was I needed to return to work after my maternity leave. Sometimes it really stinks to make the logical decisions that adult life presents. Wouldn’t you agree? I shed many tears over this decision and while my baby was still in my womb, I ached knowing the day would come when we wouldn’t be physically together.
Once I knew that it wouldn’t be me constantly caring for my baby I began looking for a village person. Someone to join our family and love my baby when I was away. A person we could trust to care and nurture our most precious blessing.
Through a dear friend, I learned her sister was finishing up college and would be looking for a job right about the time my maternity leave would be ending. She had nannying experience and part of her degree emphasized early childhood education, she seemed like a good place to start. We invited her over for dinner to share our situation and get to know one another. It was important to me that my husband and I “jive” with the person who would spend so many hours with our baby. I didn’t just want to employ someone, I wanted to invite someone into our home as an extension of our family.
When she left our home that night I knew she was the one. I relaxed a bit knowing that amidst the pain and suffering I felt in regard to leaving my baby during the work week – I had made a good choice for my baby’s care. My mother instinct could sense her genuine heart, her sweet spirit and her willingness to partner with me in parenting.
Rather than conduct a formal interview I shared my heart. I explained my parenting philosophy and how she could help me succeed. She agreed to read a book that had inspired many of my decisions. She was willing to drive an hour round trip every day so my baby could breastfeed during my lunch break. She expressed her excitement in meeting our baby during my maternity leave. She acted excited about cloth diapering even though she hadn’t done it before. She was excited to learn along with me and her openness calmed me.
We talked through technicalities at a later meeting and drew up a simple contract. Something that suited us and our growing friendship. The week before I returned to work we had a few trial run days to ease into things and then it was show time!
For 7 months, Janelle mothered my daughter while I was away. She texted me when Jemma ate so I could pump and stay in sync. She dressed her in cute outfits and met me for lunch each day. She helped prepare dinners and kept the diaper wash routine going. She practiced signing and words and crawling. She read to my baby and rocked her to sleep. Most of all, she made me feel like a good mom even when I was absent.
Janelle took ownership of my parenting goals and helped me to succeed, especially with breastfeeding. Without her efforts I’m sure I would have struggled . . . physically and emotionally. She knew breastfeeding was important to Jemma and I, and she took great strides to keep the milk flowin’.
Shortly before Jemma’s first birthday I was able to become a stay at home mom, and Janelle transitioned to caring for her nephew. We’ve stayed in touch even though we moved to a new city and now live many miles away from one another. She even visited to meet Max when he was born and again before she moved to the Midwest (above photo). Janelle will always be part of our family, she was one of the first we welcomed in to the village that helps us care for our children and I’m forever indebted to her.
Janelle – Thank you for everything – words will never express how thankful I am for you! For calming my fears, hugging my daughter, driving safe every day and so much more. You are the world’s greatest nanny in my book and my children are blessed to have you in their lives.
Who is part of your village? Are they as priceless to you as Janelle is to me?
Photo Credit: Author
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today’s participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:
(This list will be updated by afternoon August 1 with all the carnival links.)
- If You’re Worried About Your Kid Seeing Me Breastfeeding, You’re Doing It Wrong — Dionna at Code Name: Mama is living the breastfeeding-as-a-cultural-norm dream. She has first-hand experience that kids, teens & adults who see breastfeeding accept breastfeeding.
- Supporting Breastfeeding Online — Wendy at Breastfeeding Utah reaches out to birth and breastfeeding support professionals who are interested in knowing more about supporting their clients online.
- Breast Friends — Mama Bree, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center, shares a baby’s journey to blissful breastfeeding with a little help.
- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Online Breastfeeding Support — Other than buying and reading up on books, Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy finds that it is useful to read up on other mums’ breastfeeding experiences and how they deal with their obstacles.
- It Takes a Village… — Meredith at Thank You Ma’am talks about the support she got from her family, especially from her own mom, who is a lactation consultant.
- Community Support — Ashley at ModerationMama tells about her supportive community surrounding her breastfeeding journey, and she talks about the importance of the breastfeeding class she took while still pregnant.
- Finding a Nanny to Be Part of My Village — Before returning to work, Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen, posting at Natural Parents Network, needed to find a trusted caregiver for her daughter. Someone who supported her parenting goals and was ready to become part of a family.
- A Nursey Love Letter — When asked about her nursing support group, KassK of Get Born Tribe surprised herself with the answer: her husband!
- We are mammals. — To be a mammal . . . what does that mean? Practicing Mammal educates us.
- Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey — Tia at Tia’s Sweeps Go ‘Round shares how she built a strong support network to help her successfully breastfeed her newborn daughter.
- Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey — Diana at Munchkin’s Mommy shares her breastfeeding journey, from unhelpful nurses to a gentle guide, and her sheer stubbornness.
- Looking online for breastfeeding support — The author at “Just” A Mom has found many ways to use the internet to support her mothering and breastfeeding journey, and she has learned how to keep her online experiences positive.
- The Village that didn’t feed — Nona’s Nipples at The Touch of Life explains how our communities influence our choices. She explains how she came to breastfeed and how it was taken away.
- Nursing By Example — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births decided to nurse through a pregnancy and to try tandem nursing thanks to the support from her La Leche League leader and another mother in her community. Read about the resources that were helpful and the lessons she learned on her journey into tandem nursing.
- A Burden Shared: How my IBCLC Lightened my Load — My IBCLC rocks!! smscott at In All Things…One Step at a Time‘s journey would not be possible without a huge contribution of time and energy from her IBCLC. Her difficult times were measured in weeks and months instead of moments.
- Fathers Need Breastfeeding Support Too — Destany at They Are All of Me recalls that the biggest detriment to her breastfeeding success was her husband’s strong disapproval.
- Breastfeeding Support Over the Years — Valerie at Momma in Progress discusses the range of support she received over her seven-year breastfeeding journey.
- Uncharted Territory: Breastfeeding — Michelle at Oh, The Simple Joys describes her change of heart regarding breastfeeding and the kind souls who helped along the way. From thinking formula was the norm to extended ecological breastfeeding, this is her story. Her story also includes breastfeeding after a hospital birth, dealing with inverted nipples, and the lactation consultant who helped to name her daughter.
- Online Breastfeeding Support: Finding Success, Acceptance and Friendships — Author and CLEC Lara Audelo of Virtual Breastfeeding Culture shares how online breastfeeding support changed her entire life, and why so many mothers are drawn to it, rely upon it, and place such value on their virtual mother-to-mother connections.
- Staying Connected—Online Breastfeeding Support for AD Military Moms — Breastfeeding in Combat Boots shares how important online support is to the success of breastfeeding for mothers serving in the military.
- Breastfeeding and Community — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work discusses ways in which community affects breastfeeding dyads and makes suggestions for accepting and supporting nursing as normal and necessary.
- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Community Support — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy has been breastfeeding NON-STOP since 4th March 2009, the day her first child Benjamin was born. Jenny shares who has been in her community of breastfeeding supporters.
- Oversupply as a Blessing in Disguise: Milk Sharing and Wet Nursing — Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, tells how she ended up donating breastmilk and wet nursing several babies. She shares the benefits from both a recipient and a donor.