Why in the World Would Anyone Ever Want a Natural Birth?

Recently I was asked the question, “Why would anyone want a natural, unmedicated birth? What’s the point?” And I have to say, I was caught off guard and couldn’t gather my thoughts quickly enough to give a good reply.

I completely understand the question. I mean if you can bring life into the world in pain and exhaustion OR numb and rested why would anyone choose the pain?

It seems absurd when you put it like that and yet many women are striving for a medication-free delivery. So what’s motivating them? There are lots of great reasons but first, let’s discuss a not-so-good reason for natural birth.

Don’t Do it for the Cookies

Many women who want a natural birth are discouraged by naysayers who tell them there are no special cookies or trophies for women who birth unmedicated. They are told not to try to be a hero and they are reminded that it doesn’t make them a better woman or a better mom.

And they are correct.

Fortunately, most moms who choose to give birth naturally are completely aware that there will not be a special prize waiting for them at the end. They know there’s no badge of courage and that motherhood will still be full of challenges no matter how they give birth.

Trust me, moms who attempt a natural birth are not looking for a reward and they aren’t trying to prove that they are, in any way, better than the mom with the epidural or scheduled cesarean.

Why in the world would anyone ever want a natural birth?

So why do they do it??

Natural birthings mama’s do so mainly because they have done their research. They know that one intervention usually leads to another and each intervention carries risk. Not only that, but they know that the body’s natural process of giving birth includes many benefits of its own and they truly want to experience all of it.

Cascade of Interventions

The Cascade of Interventions is a term used to describe the concept that one intervention often leads to another.

For example, what may start out as a simple membrane sweep to induce labor could quickly turn into prelabor rupture of membranes without contractions, which could turn into heading to the hospital for Pitocin, which could turn into fetal distress, which could ultimately turn into a cesarean section, a major abdominal surgery.

Epidurals specifically can be a huge player in the cascade game. Many first time moms are unaware that getting an epidural often means getting a bladder catheter which increases their risk of bladder infection. Secondly, epidurals often weaken contractions and Pitocin is used to strengthen them. Furthermore, due to the fact that epidurals numb the body from the waist down, laboring women are stuck in bed. Because movement is key to progress, labor is usually longer, often the pushing stage is longer, and episiotomy, forceps, and vacuum extraction are more likely to be used.

While of course, none of those things are guaranteed and often interventions work beautifully, natural minded mamas prefer to stay as far away from this cascade as possible. They would rather not introduce anything into the labor process that may overcomplicate things unnecessarily. By letting their body dictate what and when things happen, they are hoping to experience a relatively smooth and straight forward labor.

Risks of Interventions

Beyond the fact that one intervention leads to another, every pregnant woman needs to know that each intervention carries inherent risk with it. For example, narcotics given to decrease pain often lower the baby’s heart rate and he or she is more likely to have low APGAR scores at birth and slowed breathing [source].

Epidurals carry many risks that are often not fully discussed with a laboring woman who is ready for pain relief.

As mentioned before, epidurals may prolong the pushing phase of labor and forceps or vacuum extraction may be necessary. Severe perineal tearing is more likely because of this.

Secondly, epidurals often lower blood pressure which may make the mother lightheaded and lower the baby’s oxygen level. This event may warrant an emergency cesarean.

Next, women with an epidural are likely to develop a fever. Because it’s unclear if the fever is simply a side effect of the epidural or the result of an infection, both mom and baby will usually need antibiotics after delivery.

Additionally, around 1% of women who receive an epidural will endure spinal headaches after delivery. These are often debilitating and may require another procedure to fix. Because the first few weeks postpartum are already full of challenges, spinal headaches can be an unwelcome hindrance.

Furthermore, the mother may become drowsy, experience slowed breathing, become extremely itchy, or have an achy back. She may get an infection at the injection site and need to be treated with antibiotics.

Between 10-12% of laboring women will not receive adequate pain relief from an epidural. Sometimes they only go numb on one side of the body but continue to feel contractions on the other.

Finally, serious complications from an epidural include nerve damage, paralysis and seizures, but these are extremely rare and death by epidural is almost non-existent.

For a full review of the benefits and risks of epidurals click here.

Of course, these risks are low and many women have no issues with epidurals at all, but because there is always a chance, many women choose to opt out of medical pain relief and aim for a natural birth instead.

Why in the world would anyone ever want a natural birth?

The Beauty of the Natural

Besides the risk of intervention, natural birth is also full of benefits. Because an unmedicated laboring women can feel everything happening, she is often able to be more in tune with her body. This allows her to instinctively know which position she should move into to help baby descend and continue progressing and she has the mobility to get into any position needed. She is able to push in a variety of different ways including standing, squatting and on all fours. She can feel exactly when and how to push so second stage of labor is often shorter and more effective. She is less likely to tear because she can feel the pressure of her baby moving down allowing for a more gentle descent. Putting all of this together, her recovery is often quicker and she is comfortable walking around independently before a women with an epidural has even gotten the feeling back in her legs.

Because natural birth is an uncomplicated process, labor can happen in an environment that is more conducive to progress. Fear, distraction, and mental stimulation all inhibit the body’s ability to labor effectively. Bright lights, beeping monitors, frequent interruptions and hospital intake questions can all contribute to stalled or slowed labor. On the other hand, the absence of interventions means a woman can labor at home or in a birth center where she is more comfortable, uninterrupted, unhindered, and in greater control of who she has in her space. She is more relaxed and less afraid and her body can labor on. Because of this, the natural birth process often works more smoothly than when interventions are added in without medical necessity.

Though we have made it clear that there is no trophy or special cookies for a natural birthing mama, she may receive a “hormone cocktail” after delivery that leaves her feeling energized and exuberant throughout the beginning of the postpartum period. This is because the body makes Endorphins in response to feeling pain that decrease discomfort and increase positive sensations. When women endure labor unmedicated, they will receive endorphins at full force as well. Cheers to the natural birth high!

Finally, many women find the process of giving birth naturally to be very empowering. Labor is an incredible feat and nearly every woman reaches a point in delivery where she thinks she cannot continue. But when she presses on, she finds out that her body was created to do difficult and powerful things and she discovers new determination and courage that she never knew she had. Women who strive for a natural birth see the beauty in the process and they want to experience it fully.

Keeping it in Perspective

In summary, natural birth is something to plan for because it is less complicated, less risky and it often works beautifully. However, it’s important to keep things in perspective and hold a healthy view of any birth plans a woman may have. Labor is unpredictable and try as we may, there are always factors we simply cannot control. Serious complications do arise and women must be prepared to meet medical intervention with gratitude when it is truly needed. While natural birth might be the goal, healthy birth is the ideal and sometimes medicine is the best way to achieve that.

Related: To the Mama Whose Natural Birth Plan Fell Through

As with any decision, every pregnant woman must do her own research, weigh the pros and cons of each option, assess how much risk she is willing to carry and then decide what is best for her. This looks totally different for different women and that’s completely fine. But I hope this gives you a better understanding of why anyone would willingly want to give birth unmedicated. As always, if you have further questions about this concept, feel free to reach out! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Why in the world would anyone ever want a natural birth?

Advertisements

Whoa that was close! — How close calls can fill us with peace instead of anxiety.

I remember that day so clearly. I was working outside in the greenhouse while my two year old napped inside. It was hot, the birds were chirping and the wind hummed a peaceful tune.

I have a special place in my heart for summer days like this one. There’s just something about being outside with your hands in the dirt that makes you feel fully alive. Top it off with a toddler sleeping safely in the house and a new baby nestled inside my belly and all felt right in the world.

Whoa that was close. How close calls can fill us with peace instead of fear.

We lived on a half acre lot on a busy highway right next to a bean field. My daughter loves being outside as much as I do but we always felt a certain amount of anxiety in our yard because of the traffic constantly zooming past our house. We had a porch swing and a fire pit along the West border of our yard right beside the bean field. Though I never let our daughter out of my sight, I had grown comfortable with letting her play around the swing while I worked in the greenhouse. Occasionally however, she’d let curiosity get the best of her and wander over to check out the beans. We had firm rules against this but she simply couldn’t stay away.

I don’t remember exactly what I was working on in the greenhouse that day, I just remember that I was very focused and blissfully unaware of the world around me. The air felt quiet, safe and peaceful when all of a sudden my attention was turned to a huge crop sprayer tractor tearing through the field right past our swing and exactly to where my toddler often snuck off to.

Whoa that was close. How close calls can fill us with peace instead of anxiety.

Instantly, I was filled with anxiety. Visions of what could have happened consumed me. What if my daughter had been awake? What if she had been playing over there? Would the farmer have seen her? Would I have been more aware of our surroundings and seen the danger coming? Would I have been able to react and save her soon enough?

Along with those questions, a stubborn resolve quickly set in. I would no longer let her play far away from me. I would keep her close and safe and I would not let my guard down. The world is a scary place so I would need to be more careful.

But almost as quickly as those fears consumed me, a still small voice breathed peace down in my soul. The Holy Spirit whispered,

“I perfectly orchestrated these events this afternoon. I planned for the farmer to work in the field while your daughter was asleep inside. I am in control and I am watching out for you.”

With that, anxiety dripped out of me and comfort settled in. In the past, close calls such as this one had always been perceived as a WARNING sign flashing neon red lights.

Whoa that was close! How close calls can fill us with peace instead of anxiety.

But things completely changed for me that day. Now, whenever I’m frightened by the “what ifs” of parenting, I am immediately comforted by God’s protection. Every time there is a close call it is simply a reminder of His grace and His perfectly orchestrated plan. When something bad almost happens, it no longer has the power to fill me with anxiety if I don’t let it. Instead, I can let it build my faith in the God who has complete control. He knows. He’s watching. We don’t have to be afraid.

In John 14 verse 27 Jesus tells us,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

In Isaiah 40:11 we learn that

“God tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.”

Just like the Psalmist in chapter 23 verse 4, we can proclaim that

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”

And finally, let Psalm 91:4-5 speak to you.

“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

Everywhere we look in Scripture we are reminded that we do not have to be afraid. Like little lambs, God holds our children close to His heart. Even though they will walk on scary paths and inevitably face danger, God will be with them everywhere they go. He is ready to protect them with His rod and His staff at any moment. Consequently, we do not have to fear any of the things our culture tells us to fear.

Whoa that was close! How close calls can fill us with peace instead of fear.

Practically Speaking…

I told my husband what happened during nap time and we did decide together that we needed to be more careful about where our daughter goes in our yard. We learned a practical lesson that day in addition to the spiritual lesson.

I will always be a believer in keeping a close, watchful eye on my kids. That is my mothering style at my core. But the difference is this: I know now that God is the only one who can fully protect my children and He makes it part of His full time job.

I could be the most protective helicopter mom on the planet and still my humanity could fail them. Scary things can and probably will happen to my kids. We will have close calls and I will be attacked by “what ifs”. But each and every time they happen now I will choose to let that event remind me that God coordinated it perfectly. Because of that, anxiety has no place and peace can settle in. What a huge weight taken off of me!

So if you’re reading this, I pray that those words the Holy Spirit spoke to me will permeate your heart as well. I pray that His peace will consume you. I pray against any anxiety that might try to imprison you. I thank God that He is coordinating every step you and your loved ones take. His kingdom come and His will be done, on Earth, just as it is in Heaven.

Amen.

Click the image to learn more about how perfectly God loves our little ones.

How to Give a Breastfed Baby a Bottle in 7 Easy Steps

Giving a baby a bottle may seem like a straightforward process. You simply fill the bottle, put it in the baby’s mouth and hold it there until it’s gone. Easy right?

Actually, nature’s design for feeding infants is more beautifully complex than that. A breastfed baby receives his milk slowly and a little at a time. He is fully in control of when he latches and unlatches and he can change his sucking pattern so that he can comfort nurse without receiving any milk.

Because of this slow and controlled eating pattern, the breastfeed baby perfectly masters portion control at a young age. He becomes very familiar with feelings of hunger versus satiation and he has time to recognize when he is full in order to stop the feeding before he eats too much.

How to give a breastfed baby a bottle in 7 easy steps

On the other hand, when a baby is bottle fed, he has less control over when the nipple is put in his mouth and he cannot control the flow of milk. If he sucks, whether for food or comfort, he will be fed and he may continue to eat past satiation for as long as milk comes out.

This may be part of why a breastfed baby is less likely to be obese in adulthood than a bottle fed baby.

It is also why a baby who is breastfeeding may gulp down a bottle immediately after nursing. This is NOT a sign that the mother has low milk supply but instead a good indicator that baby needs a bit more comfort at the breast. (AND if baby is going through a growth spurt and wanting more milk, the fastest way to boost supply is to continue nursing until baby is satisfied.)

Likewise, the inability to control portion size from a bottle is part of why a breastfed baby may drink much more milk from a bottle than his mother is able to pump for him while she is at work. Unfortunately, if this continues, she may not be able to keep up and will find herself needing to supplement if she wishes to continue working which can further hinder supply.

Therefore, it’s important to try to mimic the breastfeeding process when feeding a breastfed baby a bottle. Not only is this beneficial for the baby because he develops healthy eating habits, it is also vital to the breastfeeding relationship because it protects the mother’s supply and avoids any nipple confusion or preference.

So if you are given the privilege of feeding a breastfed baby a bottle, follow these 7 steps to bottle feeding and you will greatly benefit both the baby and his mama.

How to give a breastfed baby a bottle in 7 easy steps

Step 1: Choose a bottle with a slow flow nipple.

When breastfeeding, a baby has to work to get the milk to flow. The letdown doesn’t happen immediately and milk doesn’t always flow at the same speed. But in a bottle, the flow is regulated by the hole in the nipple. Therefore, choosing the slowest flow will keep him from gulping down the bottle so quickly that he doesn’t have time to recognize feelings of satiation.

Step 2: Put an appropriate amount of milk in the bottle.

The average baby eats about 25-30 ounces a day and feeds between 8-12 times. That means the average baby eats anywhere from 2-3.75 ounces per feeding. Therefore, this is an appropriate amount of milk to put in a breastfed baby’s bottle. Putting more than that in at one time may lead to overfeeding.

Step 3: Hold the baby upright.

It’s important to hold the baby in an upright position rather than holding him flat on his back. This way, he has more control of how much milk goes into his mouth because he has to work against gravity to get it there.

Is breastfeeding an effective form of birth control??? The answer is YES, IF you follow these 7 principles. Click the image to learn more

Step 4: Let the baby draw the nipple into his mouth.

Hold the nipple to the baby’s lips but then let him open his mouth and draw the nipple in. Do not push the nipple into the baby’s mouth uninvited. This gives the baby a say as to whether he is ready for a feed or not.

Step 5: Hold the bottle horizontally.

Much like holding the baby upright, it is also important to hold the bottle horizontally rather than vertically. This slows the flow of milk and gives the baby greater control.

Step 6: Pause the feeding every minute or two.

After baby has taken a couple sucks and swallows, lower the bottle a bit so he can take a break from eating. In doing this, the baby consumes the appropriate amount of milk (2-4 ounces) in the same amount of time that a breastfeeding session typically lasts (10-15 minutes). Once again, this gives the baby a chance to recognize feelings of satiation and stop the feeding before he gets overfull.

Step 7: Let the baby decide when he’s done.

Finally, it’s so important to let the baby be in charge of when to stop eating. If he falls asleep and stops sucking or let’s the nipple fall out of his mouth, let him be finished. While it may be so tempting to encourage him to eat the last ounce in the bottle, remember that he is practicing portion control which will have lifelong benefits for him.

So whether you’re a dad, a grandparent, a family member, a daycare worker, or just someone lucky enough to hang out with a baby, be encouraged that in feeding him this way you are allowing him to eat in a healthy manner that not only benefits him but also protects his breastfeeding relationship with his mother. That is truly something to strive for and celebrate.

Click the image to learn more.

10 Thoughts I Have as I Rock my Toddler to Sleep

Rocking toddlers to sleep can be a somewhat controversial subject. Our culture typically expects independent sleep at an early age which leaves many cosleeping and attachment style moms feeling inferior.

Because of this, in the twenty minutes or so that I used to spend rocking my toddler who had not yet learned to fall asleep on her own, I had so many mental battles and conflicting thoughts.

I originally wrote this list about a year ago and never got around to publishing it until now. Currently, I have a new little baby that I rock to sleep and we lay with my toddler as she falls asleep. So even though I’m no longer rocking a toddler, I still feel each of these emotions and thoughts reading back through. And while I’m grateful that I only rock one child right now, I am already so thankful that I took all of that time out of my day to hold my first daughter.

So if you’re a mama who is feeling conflicted about rocking your child to sleep, let me just say, I see you. I understand all those thoughts. I encourage you to do what is best for you and your baby and then move forward confidently. And just like everyone says literally all the time, this phase will be over before you know it, so soak in those cuddles today.

I hope as you read through this list you find that you’re not alone and there are many moms out there that you can relate to. So let’s get started with the ten thoughts I had (over and over again) during the countless hours I spent rocking my toddler to sleep.

1) I can’t believe we’re still doing this.

Sometimes I’m tempted to start counting up the hours I’ve spent rocking my child to sleep since she was born. It used to be three naps a day and bedtime. Even though she only takes one nap now, it’s still one nap and bedtime and takes roughly 10 minutes (or more) each time. So at the minimum, in two years, I’ve spent about 20,000 minutes (333 hours or 13.8 full days) bouncing, rocking, and singing my baby to sleep. Geez.

10 Thoughts I Have as I Rock My Toddler to Sleep

2) But it’s really not a big deal.

I mean what’s 20 minutes out of my day? Besides, I think it’s important to take time each day to do nothing except cuddle my child. It helps me slow down and unplug and really, I can do this.

3) And they’re only little once.

How many times do we hear this phrase? I know I’m gonna blink and she will be grown up and won’t need me to fall asleep anymore. Just like they always say, one day I’m gonna miss rocking her to sleep. I’m so thankful I have this time now.

4) Hmmm… what age will this independence happen exactly?

It seems like it would help if I knew exactly how much longer this will keep going on. Does 2 1/2 count as grown up enough to fall asleep on her own? Will she be 3? 4? Oh gosh, what if she’s in Kindergarten before we get there?

5) I should have sleep trained.

I should have listened to all those people who told me to let my baby cry it out. They have been happily putting their babies down to fall asleep independently for years now. I can’t even imagine a life like that. What could I be doing with my life now if I had those 333 hours to do something more productive than rocking my baby?

10 Thoughts I Have as I Rock My Toddler to Sleep

6) I’m so glad I didn’t sleep train.

As jealous as I am of my friends who are getting easy sleep, I know deep down that sleep training just isn’t for me. To each their own and I’m happy for those that can do it, but ultimately I know that the burden of rocking my toddler each night is easier to handle than sleep training would have been for me. I chose this route and I stand by it.

7. But this rocking hurts my pregnant belly

Oh yeah… I’m gonna have another baby. How exactly is it going to work when I have two children to put to sleep several times a day? I really need to figure this all out ASAP.

8. Let me cuddle all the babies!

But then a wave of oxytocin rushes in as I hold my sweet daughter and think of the new baby to come and I realize how grateful I am for them and for the chance to snuggle them each day. Suddenly, I don’t care about how uncomfortable my body feels or how much time it takes to rock them, I just want to hold all the babies!

10 Thoughts I Have as I Rock My Toddler to Sleep

9. She looks so beautiful as she falls asleep

I stop thinking for a minute and just watch my daughter as she starts to completely relax. She stares deep into my eyes and her body begins to rest in my arms. She looks so peaceful, so innocent, and just so beautiful. It’s always such a rewarding and completely fulfilling feeling when her eyelids start to get heavy and she finally feels safe enough to let them close. What a gift we have as mothers to help our children fully relax!

Blakely’s 4 Month Sleep Regression: What We Did to Get Through ItClick the image to check out our experience with the dreaded four month sleep regression!

10. Maybe tomorrow will be different but that was worth it for today.

As controversial as it may be, rocking my toddler to sleep tonight was so worth it. I’m glad I did it and I will keep doing it if needed. Maybe tomorrow something new will click. Maybe I will be more diligent in trying to help her fall asleep on her own, or maybe she will just wake up ready to be independent. But today I did what we needed in the present and I will continue to take this journey one day at a time. And getting to climb into bed now is such a sweet reward! I love this life of mine ❤️

How long did you rock your children to sleep?

Four Random Things I Hope to Teach My Daughters

Here’s a little secret: Before I had kids, I thought I was destined to be a boy mom. Having sons seemed easier and more fun and I really was hoping to avoid the drama of raising girls. Truthfully, when we found out our first baby was a girl, I was a little shocked, confused and straight up scared. To help me get used to the idea, I started writing out a few different things that I’ve learned about being a girl that I hoped my daughter would take to heart. Fast forward to the present and I now have two little girls that I love dearly and I cannot wait to pass these four random truths onto them.

1. Your Body Can Do Amazing Things.

Our culture communicates endless messages about the female body every single day. But what I want my girls to understand the most is that their bodies can do amazing things. From accomplishing athletic goals to growing, birthing, and feeding babies, the human body is simply incredible. With that great ability comes an ever important duty to take care of our bodies. We must treat our bodies well and use them the right way. We do need to exercise and we do need to eat well, not so that we look good, but so that our bodies can perform to their highest ability. When we do this, we are rewarded multiple times over. It’s simply thrilling.

4 Random Things I Want to Teach my Daughters

2. Finding the “Right Man” Is Important, but Becoming the “Right Woman” Should Be Your Main Focus.

Little girls and teenagers everywhere are obsessed with finding “the one.” Almost every movie carries this theme and somehow it becomes the ultimate mission. But what no one is telling these girls is that marriage is very hard work regardless of if you found that one perfect guy or not. And even if you have carefully chosen who to marry, you will not be able to control his actions. The only thing you can control is yourself. So I can’t wait to start teaching my girls (hopefully by example) about what it means to be the “right woman” for someone else. I hope they learn what it means to be selfless, giving, and loving no matter what. I hope they learn how to be strong and deal with conflict effectively and respectfully. I know these are things that I have to work everyday to change in myself so I pray that they see that and start working on it in themselves immediately so that one day they can bring it to a beautiful marriage.

4 random things I hope to teach my daughters

3. Watch Out for Common Denominators (and Definitely Don’t Be One)

This wisdom comes from my own mother and is something I have lived by since I was a young girl. She taught me that in the world of girl drama, there is often someone who seems to be involved in disagreements with almost everyone. She may claim that other people are always the problem, but the fact that she has trouble getting along with so many different people makes her what my mom called “the common denominator” and likely, all of her relationships will be a little bit rocky.

Unfortunately, common denominators are also often popular personalities making them hard to spot and making it easy to want to be friends with them.

First of all, I hope to teach my girls that good friendships require you to be loving, invested, and encouraging toward other people. Secondly, I hope I can help my girls understand that a friendship with a common denominator is ok to pursue but only with the understanding that it may include drama. And ultimately, if this drama is too much heartache for my girls to handle I hope they can confidently and lovingly distance themselves from that person and seek out more prosocial friends who understand what good relationships look like. These friendships can be hard to find but are so worth it!

4 random things I want to teach my daughters

4. How You Feel Matters but How You Act Matters Most.

It’s no secret that many young girls are highly emotional creatures. It’s part of their beauty. But culture tends to deal with strong emotions in two opposite, extreme ways. Either we completely disregard a woman’s emotions, calling her hysterical or we highly validate those feelings and encourage acting them out.

I want my girls to know that neither of these options are acceptable. I hope they always believe that they can tell me how they feel, even if those feelings are exaggerated, selfish, or hard to understand. One of my deepest desires is to work through those emotions with them. But it’s very important to me that they know that just because you feel a certain way does not mean that you can act like it. Emotions are not the end all be all, they are not absolute truth, and they are not more important than how we treat others. I hope they can be brave when they feel scared, persevere when they feel hopeless, and most importantly, love when they feel angry.

I’m sure being a girl mom is going to be full of challenges and this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of all of the things I’m going to have to try to teach my daughters. But writing them down has helped me organize my thoughts and feel more prepared the day that I’ll need to address these issues.

What would you add to the list?? I would love to hear it!

My love for you is limited; but the love of our Father God is limitlessCheck out the image to read about the MOST important thing I could teach my daughters.

Four random things I want to teach my daughters

Myths Moms Believe About Daily Devotions That Keep Them From Doing It

All Christians know that spending time in the Word of God is a must but many of us have a hard time actually doing it. As a mom of young children, this task can feel even harder.

Truthfully, it took me a long time to find my groove when I became a mom a couple years ago and devotions were really not part of my life. But then I listened to Risen Motherhood’s Episode “She Reads Truth: God’s Word Everyday, in Every Season” with the founders of She Reads Truth, Raechel and Amanda. They talked about some of the common hangups that moms face when trying to get in a “quiet time” with the Lord each day and the episode really opened my eyes to a new way of approaching devotions.

I was blown away by some of the myths we believe and since busting them, I’ve slowly started to be able to make reading the Word a routine part of my day again. So here’s a rundown of the myths moms believe about daily devotions that keep us from doing them.

1. Devotions must be in the morning…

I get it. It makes sense that we should start our day off in the Word of God. It sets our focus for the day and helps us to wake up filled with joy and grace.

But for moms of young kids, mornings can be truly crazy. Toddlers often hit the ground running and everyone needs breakfast and clothes right away. To top it off, many moms are up half the night with a baby which means they need to sleep as much as they can to face the day.

For these reasons, daily devotions first thing in the morning felt impossible for me.

But because I believed the lie that I must do them in the morning, I ended up skipping them all together rather than doing them later in the day.

Once I gave myself permission to do my devotions at different times of the day, so many more opportunities suddenly popped up and it felt so much easier to make time in the Word a priority in my day.

2. We must do devotions when we’re all alone…

The second myth we believe is that we must do our devotions in solitude. I think this probably comes from Matthew 6:6 which says,

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

This instruction was meant to keep us from trying to impress others with our prayers and fellowship with God so we’ve come to believe that it’s good practice to do our devotions in private.

Unfortunately, most moms do not have much alone time so we often feel like we don’t have a chance to read the Word.

I would argue however, that it is vitally important that our kids see us reading the Bible and praying to God. Simply telling our kids that devotions are important is not enough. They have to see it to believe it.

So don’t worry if your kids are watching you or even sitting on your lap while you read and pray. It’s good for them to see and so much better for you than to not do any devotions at all.

5 myths moms believe about daily devotions that keep them from doing it

3. Our daily quiet time must be an uninterrupted 30 minute chunk…

We often feel like our time in the Word is supposed to be a certain length and we must be able to do it all in one setting. I’m not sure exactly where we get this idea from other than it helps us to know we’re “doing enough.”

But for many moms, finding a time of day where they can sit uninterrupted is difficult which stops them from trying at all.

Since busting this myth, I’ve resolved to simply start my devotions each day. I leave my books and my Bible out on the couch and even though I have to stop to grab my toddler a snack or nurse my baby, I try to just keep coming back to my reading until I’m done.

I’ve found that not only do I spend time in the Word this way, but I think about what I’m studying for longer because I’m reading little by little all day long.

4. Daily devotions must be a quiet time…

Another synonym we use for time spent reading the Bible is “quiet time” with God. So in our minds we often picture sitting on the back porch with a coffee cup in hand and peaceful nature sounds all around.

But when this luxurious quiet time is hard to find, we end up skipping out on devotions all together.

I completely understand that we can focus a little better and dig a little deeper into scripture when we’re in a quiet room but we can’t focus on the Word at all if we aren’t taking the time to open up the Bible in the first place.

Full disclosure, I often read my Bible while my toddler is watching TV. I truly think it’s worth the screen time and I’ve learned to just tune out the background noise.

5 myths moms believe about daily devotions that keep them from doing it.

5. This season is just too hard…

And finally, the last myth we believe about our time in the Word of God is that it would be easier to do in a different season of life.

We remember the pleasant old days when we were free to do whatever we want whenever we wanted or we daydream about the day when we can drop all the kids off at school and come home to a quiet house.

We tell ourselves that we would be so much better at reading our Bibles in those seasons than the one we’re currently in.

But the truth is, making our daily devotions a priority is always hard. Life is busy and there will constantly be other things that try to take up our time. Furthermore, it takes discipline to read the Word because the sin inside us is constantly telling us we don’t need to abide in Him.

So truthfully, it won’t be any easier in the next season of life. In fact, the only way to make it easier is to simply start now. The more we read His Word, the more of a habit it becomes and the more delight we find in Him.

Even though there may be plenty of reasons why doing daily devotions is difficult, there are even more reasons why it’s actually a great idea, especially in this tough season of motherhood. So mama, go ahead and pick out a new devotional, grab a fresh notebook, and get in the Bible. Your “quiet time” may not be uninterrupted, private, or quiet at all but His Word is still living, active, powerful, and perfect for today ♥️

My love for you is limited but the love of our Father God is limitlessIf you liked this post, click the image to read more about how a mother’s love compares to God’s love.

Why I Breastfeed in Public

Here’s the thing: I value modesty. You won’t catch me in a super low cut shirt because I prefer not to show cleavage to the whole world and it’s important to me to dress in a way that is respectful of those around me.

But I also value breastfeeding. It’s the number one tool in my motherhood toolbox. My babies nurse around the clock whenever they’re hungry, thirsty, overwhelmed, tired, in pain, sick or scared and that’s totally cool with me.

When I had my first child, I had no idea how to reconcile these two values when I was in public. On the one hand, I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of being at all exposed and on the other hand, I felt helpless as a mom because my go-to trick was unavailable. It was the middle of the summer and the thought of using a cover was unbearable for both me and my sweaty baby so I mostly spent my time frantically searching for private rooms or bathrooms to feed her in.

Fortunately, by the time I got pregnant with my second daughter, I had learned how to discreetly nurse in public using the “two shirt method” and a full repertoire of nursing friendly clothing.

Secondly, I had invested in a couple great nursing covers for those situations where I just felt better fully covered.

And finally, I had also become a doula and I learned so much about the many struggles new moms face with postpartum and breastfeeding. It is always my goal to do my part in making this transition easier for women.

So even though I still try to be as modest as possible, I feel strongly that I should be breastfeeding in public. Here’s 4 reasons why.

1. Because Seeing Someone Breastfeed is the Best Way to Learn How

Our culture struggles with breastfeeding. At this point, most women attempt to breastfeed but many do not continue past the first few weeks or months. A good latch is hard for us and countless women worry about their supply.

Part of the reason for this difficulty is that most girls grow up without ever having seen someone nurse a baby. In general, we don’t know what a good latch or a comfortable position or modest breastfeeding looks like because we’ve never seen it. And we’ve certainly never seen a woman nurse while cooking or putting on makeup or playing mini golf or whatever else her day may bring.

Consequently, breastfeeding remains a mystery and it feels too hard to master.

This is the first reason I feel it’s important to nurse my baby in front of other women and girls. I want them to know that breastfeeding can be comfortable, it can be enjoyable, and it is possible to live life while doing it. When they can see that this is true with their own eyes, they’re more likely to have confidence when it’s their turn to nurse a baby.

Breastfeeding in a minivan is all too common because breastfeeding in public is difficult, inconvenient, or shamed upon.
Breastfeeding in a minivan is all too common. Also notice how I can nurse without actually exposing anything. It is totally possible to nurse modestly in public. 🙌🏾

2. Because Something So Good Should be Normalized and Easily Accessible

Breastfeeding has tons of benefits. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to be obese, breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop breast cancer and the immunity factors in breast milk change depending on what germs are around so it’s always the perfect medicine for the baby. I could go on and on about all of that but the point is, breastfeeding is so good and healthy for all involved.

Why then do we have to make it so hard for women to nurse their babies?

We need to make a change. We need to welcome and encourage the breastfeeding mother. We need to accept the fact that breasts were created for nurturing babies and allow them to fulfill that purpose.

When I breastfeed in public, I am helping the world around me to get comfortable with something that always has been and always will be a beneficial aspect of raising the next generation.

3. Because Feeding in a Bathroom is Gross

It’s true, sitting on a toilet in a public bathroom while nursing a tiny child isn’t sanitary, comfortable, or necessary.

Can we all just stop pretending that this is a good option for breastfeeding moms?

I did this with my first baby but honestly, this is where I draw the line this time around.

Is breastfeeding an effective form of birth control?? The answer is YES, IF you follow these rules.Is breastfeeding an effective form of birth control? The answer is YES, IF you follow these 7 principles. Click the image to find out more.

4. To Empower the Isolated Mom

This last reason is probably the most important and what really drives the need to breastfeed in public home for me. There are too many new moms out there who don’t want to leave their houses because finding a private place to nurse their baby is too difficult (and a public restroom is too gross).

As a result, they end up feeling trapped and alone in their home.

Or there may be moms who do go to social gatherings but they wind up breastfeeding alone in someone else’s bedroom and their heart aches because they are missing out on conversation and festivities with their loved ones.

Both of these situations leave new moms feeling isolated which is extremely important to note because isolation and Postpartum Depression go hand in hand.

As a society, we must make it easier for women and babies to get out of the house and this starts by getting comfortable with breastfeeding.

So I’ve resolved that I have to do my part. If just one woman sees me nursing my baby in public and this helps her feel more confident in leaving her home, getting fresh air, and feeding her baby then it’s worth it to me.

The bottom line is this: both breastfeeding and the entire postpartum period are down right hard. But for so many reasons, not being able to feed a baby in public just makes it harder.

So as a doula, a breastfeeding advocate, and a woman, I know now that it is my responsibility to nurse in public in support of my fellow moms and I hope that others will do the same ❤️

4 Reasons Why I Breastfeed in Public

Don’t miss a post! Hit the follow button at the bottom of your screen to get my posts sent directly to your email.