BabaBella's

A Review: Lactation Cookies by BabaBella’s

Recently, I had the chance to FaceTime with and see the faces behind Baba Bella’s, a new lactation cookie-making startup, based out of New Jersey! A mother-daughter super team, Baba stands for grandmother in Russian and Bella is the name of Baba Bella’s owner’s mother.

BabaBella's
Sweet packaging by Baba Bella’s!

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They were the sweetest ladies, eager to tell me the story of how Baba Bella’s started from sending a care package to a mother struggling to produce milk for her newborn.

They sent me both their Cranberry and Cherry cookies to try and, well, let’s just say I had a hard time trying to refrain from eating more than the suggested serving. Seriously.

My friends all know that I love cookies (and cake, and cupcakes, and basically anything sweet). I can’t keep my dang hands off the sweets! But, the cool thing about BabaBella’s cookies is that they are more than just sweet.

1. They are made with all organic ingredients!
2. They are made with ingredients that can help to boost milk production!
3. They are made with love!

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Sweet ‘Thank You’ note from Baba Bella’s — I should be the one thanking them!

My baby boy, Milo, is 13 weeks old and is exclusively breastfed (we only use MAM Anti-Colic bottles with breastmilk when needed). I do not struggle with my supply; however, after trying just two cookies, I noticed an immediate boost in my milk production—I awoke the next morning engorged, which hasn’t happened to me in weeks.

BabaBella's

If you check out their Instagram (bababellas), you can see their baking process & the milk-boosting ingredients that they use. You can also visit their website to see a list of the organic ingredients that they use.

Right now, they are running a deal! From now until Tuesday, April 24th, BabaBella’s is offering 20% off of any orders for their new Toasted Almond cookies!

Use the code: ALMOND18

Baba Bella’s is perfect for breastfeeding mamas who are trying out cookies to help boost supply or for anyone who simply wants a sweet treat that is yummy and healthy to eat. Their cookies also make a great gift for any new or breastfeeding moms!

Get your cookies here!

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* I did receive these cookies in exchange for a review. All thoughts are honest & my own. *

When You’re Postpartum & The Only Thing Bouncing Back Is Belly

I’ll tell you why we call them stripes and not scars.

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It isn’t because we are orange cats with sharp claws or any other kind of jungle animal with sexy patterns that we like printed all over our expensive shoes and designer bags.

It isn’t even really because of the, quite literal, stripyness of the marks and the rips and the tears and all that stretch.

Mhmm.

It’s because we are like soldiers come home from war—military men who have earned rank and recognition. And just as soldiers sew stripes on their shirts, we sew them on our skin.

And the stripes mark our stories; the stripes mark our strength.

I am stretched and marked, belly beyond recognition. It jiggles and it bounces. Think Santa, without the red suit. Or beard.

But that’s how it’s supposed to be; we are supposed to become something more, someone other than what we once were. And we know this. We know this, we know this, we know this. We’ve been told this, even want and anticipate this, desire this. But, when it actually comes down to this, we are in shock and denial and fear.

Deep inside there is a battle, thoughts raging one against another. Contemplative wonderings that we target towards that reflection of a tattered body in the mirror that we want to love, but hate.

Why?

Because we are used to bouncing back, used to working out five minutes longer to work off the five pounds we feel packed on. We are so used to wearing the right shirt to hide the right parts, so used to slapping a band-aid over the cut and saying a prayer to make it heal, faint, and fade. We are so used to lathering the oils and the creams and the concealers and the colors and eating the food and doing the things to make the tired and the blemished and the flab go away.

We are bosses at bouncing back, so much so that we are bothered when we discover it’s hard to bounce back and broken when we realize we’re not going to bounce back.

My battle is not like her battle, just like her battle is not like your battle. And even if she did give birth to a baby only to have her belly flatten faster than it took Jesus to escape the tomb, that does not mean that I can, or that you should, or that everyone will.

Yeah—my size six jeans are in the dresser collecting dust. Yeah—my belly hangs low and it wobbles to and fro. (I can tie it in a knot, even tie it in a bow.) Yeah—I heard there’s wraps and reps to fix that…creams and oils galore to erase it. Yeah—I’m tired of wearing yoga pants, but yeah—maternity clothes are expensive. Yeah—I know you’re going to tell me that I look great, but, yeah—that doesn’t really matter in the whole scheme of things.

What matters, and what we women—what I need most, is for you to tell me that it’s okay if I don’t look great. To tell me it’s okay and expected and perfectly normal if I’m falling out here and there. To let me wear the stretchy pants to the funeral, to the wedding, and to the store. To let me stay home if things aren’t fitting right, even if it takes six weeks. Even if it takes twelve.

What I need is for you to tell me that you’re not looking for the person I once was.

Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially.

I need you to tell me that you’re looking for someone new. Tell me that the body is just a cocoon; just a cover for the metamorphosis taking place in my soul. Tell me that what matters most is not if my belly flattens or if the stretch marks fade, but if I hugged hard and listened long and gave that little life staring back at me every last ounce of love I had.

What we need is for the pregnancy, maternity, postpartum, and motherhood journey to not be centered around how good we can make it look or how strong we can look while doing it or how perfect, or how darling, or how flawless, or how fit we can be through it. What we need is for the focus to be put back on the birth of a breathing baby, flailing and kicking for love in a bright and noisy world.

We don’t need another hashtag or movement or book telling us how and why and what and when. We need the women AND the men in our circles to show us—show us how to make pregnancy, maternity, postpartum, and motherhood all about what it’s really all about and not the glittery sideshow that it’s become—not the fluff and the rattles and the ad-sponsored onesies.

Yeah—it’s all so precious. But it’s not the point. It never was the point.

PRAY WITH US.
BE WITH US.
ENCOURAGE US.
EMBRACE US.

Buy us the bigger shirt that fits.
Make us a drink to soothe the soul.
Send us a card to wish us well.
Sing us a song that says we are strong, and we are tough, and we are resilient, and we are fierce.

Surround us with the stories of your scars.
Your battle wounds.
Your birth.

That life-changing moment from which you’ve yet to bounce back from.

We are not supermodels; we are super heroes.

And we were never meant to bounce back from this, both the skin and the heart—we were meant to never be the same. We’ve made the space in our hearts to love our babies, more space then our bodies made to hold them. There is no bouncing back; there is only falling forward and filling all the new sizes and spaces that we have become for them and that we have become within.

And the skin will not snap back. And the organs will not fit their puzzled-piece selves back into their rightful places.

Everything, everything has been moved. You and I—we have been moved. Deeply, and irrevocably.

Welcome To The World, Milo Kang

Yeah.

He waited long and good and hard, and I have the silver stretch marks on my body to prove it.

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I woke up at 2:30 in the morning on January 15, 2017 with a tightening around my stomach that I’d never felt before. The contractions came in waves—first eight minutes apart, then five, then three. Within two hours, I was breathing through a rippling pain that would come at me non-stop, every two/three minutes for the next 30+ hours.

I labored in the beginning for 12 hours only to find out I was just one centimeter dilated—that’s like working a 12-hour shift with no lunch break and coming to find you’ve only earned $1.00 for your hard and honest labor.

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My desire was to deliver naturally, vaginally, without having to be induced and without the use of pain medication. But, sometimes after 12 hours of getting nowhere, plans change. And that’s okay.

I welcomed morphine through an IV drip and remember the cool liquid slipping into my veins. There was the hand of a nurse on my forehead, the sound of my husband’s voice, and my eyes blinking wide, then waiting, then closing shut.

I awoke hours later, tired and in a daze. But I was 6 centimeters dilated. Rest, just like my midwife suggested, had been a good idea for me. I spiked a fever, and though my eyes had that short bit of sleep, the rest of my body felt like one big whirlwind of weakness. I clutched my husband’s shirt…barely having the strength or attention span to speak in the short time that passed between contractions.

I asked him what he’d think of me if I took the epidural. Would it render my experience any less natural, my story any less strong?

I silenced the voices in my head that said I’d be a bad mom or a weak woman if I chose to have an epidural—6 to 7 to 8 to 9, my body lingered as long as it could at each stage and,  I?

I hated that I didn’t feel one bit of it.

But I was stable and I was present.

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It’s hard to connect my present back to the past—that moment I gave birth. It was a blur; it happened fast and yet, at the same time, dangerously slow. I remember the faces of strangers—women I did not know, and I had no choice but to welcome them in. I let them be and sit and stand and watch in the presence of my bare and naked body. They were the voices that spurred me on in my pushing. They didn’t even know me, and yet they screamed for my success—they yelled, they cheered, they pushed me to push my son.

I never felt more loved, known, supported, empowered.

I didn’t know I’d come out the other end of birth holding a special bond with my midwife. I kept my eyes glued on her for the hour and fifteen minutes that I pushed. She spoke calmly, encouraged strongly. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the feeling in the moment, but looking back now, I know what to call it.

I felt trust. 

That’s what I remember most about my labor and delivery. Not the pain, not the fear, not the apprehension, or the dread, or the joy, or the love or the needles. But the trust. I remember sitting on a bed and trusting every person examining my most intimate insides. I remember laying my arm out for the IV needle to be poked through my skin, trusting that she’d get it right—even if she had to take it out and do it all over again. Trusting the person putting medicine in my body, the person pulling Milo from my body, the person injecting the needle near the spine of my body, trusting my husband’s whispers before drifting off into deep sleep, trusting the God who created my body to safely and sacredly deliver the body that had been created and formed within my own.

A whole 30+ hours of recklessly letting go of every last bit of self-sufficiency and dignity that I had left. No time for fear, no time for backing out. There was only going forward and pushing until a life was born and that hollering baby cry was heard, until he was in my arms—until we met.

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Milo Sahn Kang

January 16, 2018
12:13PM
7 LBS & 20 INCHES

His first name, Milo, means mild, calm, peace. And that is exactly what Shin & I feel (and trusted that we would feel) when we are watching him and holding him. His middle name, Sahn, is Korean for mountain. His name is our hope & prayer for his life—that he might grow to have an unshakeable faith in God, as firm and as secure as any mountain.

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That, everyone who meets him would wonder at what he might grow up to be. That, all would see the Lord’s hand is upon him.

Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.

—Luke 1:66

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That, he would have a fire in his heart to find God, in his own way. That, he would be fearlessly bold in declaring such a found faith.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

Romans 1:16

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No one told us we would want to die for this child.

No one told us that, everything we once thought we knew and understood about love would be shattered and built back up with new bricks and new clay, all within the first moments of looking into his eyes.

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No one told us our hearts would flood with crippling anxieties and irrational fears. No one told us we were going to feel anger, that we were going to feel joy. And peace, and guilt, and that we were going to want to be everything, do anything for him.

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We’ve heard the horror stories. The crazy births. The fond memories, the shocking confessions. We heard about the 12:00AM diaper changings and feedings and the vicious cycle of laying down and waking up only to do it all over again at 12:05AM.

But how could we have ever known about the kaleidoscopic movement of swirling colors and shapes that would soon twist and bend in our hearts, showing us sights we’d never seen before, angles and spaces we couldn’t even fathom into existence?

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We are smitten.

Overwhelmed, completely.

In awe, in wonder.

Still swirling in the changing shapes and colors of our hearts.

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And we hope that ten years down the road we are still swirling.

That we never stop swirling—seeing the newness, the fullness, the richness and the depth in all this.

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Welcome To The World, Milo Sahn Kang.

We are wild about you.

We love you and we bless you and thank God that we get to have and hold and share you.

Always.

Mom & Dad

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[Photos by Shin Kang]