Birth Control: Which Method to Choose?

When it comes to birth control, I’m sure many of us have the same question in mind: which method is best for me? The answer, of course, will be different for everyone. Some methods will be more expensive than others, while some may be inexpensive but require more time and attention.

Many types of birth control fall into one of three different categories: behavioral or social methods, barrier methods, or hormonal methods. In this post, I’ll be discussing these methods as well as their advantages, disadvantages, and effectiveness.

Behavioral Birth Control Methods

Behavioral methods include things like the withdrawal method, fertility tracking, exclusive breastfeeding, and even abstaining from sex. This method is ideal for new moms who are concerned with:

  • hormonal methods affecting their breastmilk supply
  • the hormonal changes and side effects that may occur
  • being too busy for daily methods
  • being too forgetful for a weekly method

Lactational Amenorrhea Method

This birth control method is the suppression of fertility by exclusively breastfeeding. It requires that the person’s menstrual cycle has not yet returned postpartum, the baby is under six months, and exclusively breastfed including at night.

Advantages:

  • has the highest effectiveness aside from the IUD
  • no drugs or barriers are involved
  • caters to a healthy, longer-lasting breastfeeding relationship

Disadvantages:

  • doesn’t work once your baby starts sleeping longer

Fertility Awareness Method

This method of birth control involves the charting of fertility signs and changes every day to predict ovulation.

Advantages:

  • no drugs or barriers are required
  • specific to the parent
  • highly effective

Disadvantages:

  • requires a daily time commitment for accuracy
  • some people may feel uncomfortable putting their fingers in their vagina

Ovulation precedes menstruation, so unless you are carefully charting fertility signs, you may not realize you’re fertile until it’s too late (Surprise! You’re pregnant!). Some signs of fertility include cervical mucus consistency and amount, basal body temperature, and sore or tender breasts. There are more, but I’ll save that for another post and another time.

Barrier Methods

Barrier methods include the female condom, male condom, cervical cap, or diaphragm.

Male or Female Condoms

These are made of latex or other materials and are placed before sex and may be used in combination with spermicides to boost effectiveness.

Advantages:

  • can be purchased online or over the counter
  • may reduce the risk of some STI’s
  • no drugs are involved

Disadvantages:

  • the feeling is not enjoyable for some people (reduced sensation)
  • must plan to have on-hand
  • semen leaking is a risk due to tearing, etc.

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is shaped like a shallow cup and made of silicone or latex. It is used with a contraceptive cream and inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix.

Advantages:

  • can be inserted ahead of time as to not interrupt sex
  • no hormones are involved

Disadvantages:

  • must be prescribed and fitted to the individual
  • body changes postpartum may require refitting

Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal methods include the pill, patch, shot, or IUD. If you’re anything like me, and wary of the things you put into your body then this is NOT the option for you. I can say that I have tried just about every hormonal option, under the guidance of an OBGYN, and hated the side effects I experienced which led me to cancel this option altogether and stick to behavioral methods. But, if you’re interested, keep on reading!

Some hormonal options don’t require daily attention and are better options for people with busy lives or people who have a hard time remembering to take a pill every day.

Implant

The implant is a thin, flexible, plastic device implanted under the skin of your upper arm. It releases hormones into your system preventing ovulation, and thickening the cervical mucus which prevents sperm from fertilizing eggs.

Advantages:

  • can be used while breastfeeding
  • fertility may return quickly after removal
  • only needs to be replaced every 3-5 years

Disadvantages:

  • may cause undesirable side effects

The Patch

This is a thin patch that is placed onto the skin of your arm, torso, or buttocks once every week for three weeks, then no patch is worn during the fourth week It releases hormones into your body to prevent ovulation.

Advantages:

  • allows for spontaneous sex
  • no pills involved but may offer similar protections

Disadvantages:

  • may cause undesirable side effects
  • blood clot risk increased
  • requires attentive use for effectiveness

There are many more options to choose from but I suggest you do your own thorough research, consult your physician, and before making your decision ensure that you weigh the advantages, disadvantages, effectiveness, and other things like which drugs have what effect on your chosen method.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Whatever option you choose, remember that it’s extremely important to do your research to make an informed decision that fits your lifestyle, preference, and individual needs.

If you have any questions that you’d like answered I am always available for consultations. If this post has helped you in the least bit, like it, comment, and share it with your friends!

For more detailed information and resources, consult your physician or your local Planned Parenthood!

Exclusively Breastfed? When Do I Introduce the Bottle?

Baby Lei’s First Bottle

I get so many messages from moms asking, “how do I introduce the bottle to my baby after exclusively breastfeeding for ‘X’ amount of time?” It may not be an easy task but, it doesn’t have to be an all-out war either!

Although the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding are numerous, there comes a time, such as returning to work, when moms have to begin bottle feeding. If you’re interested in knowing how and when to introduce the bottle, keep reading!

When & Why You’d Introduce the Bottle?

If you plan to introduce the bottle, I’d suggest doing so when your breastmilk production regulates, which in most cases tends to range anywhere between 6-12 weeks. Breast milk regulation, otherwise known as “an established milk supply,” is when your milk is produced solely on the demand of your baby rather than hormones.

Many moms are returning to work around week six or want to get back into the routine of running errands without their babies. Therefore, the need to bottle feed occasionally presents itself. Delaying bottle feeding also gives your baby time to establish good breastfeeding habits.

Another good reason for introducing the bottle to your baby is to give yourself a break. Moms often get touched out, needing to step away from the kids and daily obligations even if only 20-30 minutes here and there; this can be good for recharging so that you can be your best self for you and your family.

Tips & Tricks

Aside from starting the bottle introduction 2-3 weeks before going back to work, here are more helpful tips & tricks to making bottle feeding work:

  • Gradually replace a nursing session with a bottle, but also pump to keep up with production
  • Use slow-flow nipples to mimic breastfeeding as closely as possible
  • Dip the bottle nipple in breast milk so that your baby gets a taste & begins suckling
  • Allow your baby to hold and play with the bottle during nursing sessions for a positive association

Remember to stay calm and patient through the process. Staying patient will help in keeping your baby calm and cooperative.

Bottle Recommendations

As previously stated, I would start out buying one of a few different brands of bottles to try out before deciding. I started with three bottles, trying a different one every few days. 

Here are the three we started with:

Our favorite is the Nanobebe bottle because it’s shaped like the breast and is easy for our baby to hold while eating. The Nanobebe is dome-shaped, allowing breast milk to warm faster. 

Runner up goes to the Philips AVENT Natural Response — the nipples are made to only release milk when the baby actively drinks. The nipples are also wide breast-shaped and soft to mimic the breasts.

So, in the end, I’d say introducing bottles after exclusively breastfeeding can be beneficial in many ways. Don’t waste money buying tons of one specific bottle — buy one of a few different kinds until you find the right fit. With patience and dedication, you can master this seemingly daunting task!

If you enjoyed this post and it was helpful to you, like & comment below. Don’t forget to share it with your mom friends!

Interested in infant feeding or postpartum support? Contact me here!

*this post contains affiliate links*

Exclusively Breastfed? When Do I Introduce the Bottle?

Affirmations for Kids

“Children are like wet cement: whatever falls on them makes an impression.” – Haim Ginott

Hey mama! Are you looking for ways to better connect with your child? Wanna build their confidence and self-esteem? Here’s a trick that works for me — begin every day with affirmations!

Make it a point every morning to begin with affirmations. While doing your bedtime routine, recite affirmations — in ! It doesn’t matter if your child is 2 or 12; it’s never too early or too late!

“Affirmations are our mental vitamins, providing the supplementary positive thoughts we need to balance the barrage of negative events and thoughts we experience daily.”

Tia Walker

Supporting your child’s emotional growth is more important than ever. Reciting affirmations daily can not only empower your child, but it can boost their self-esteem, and create a healthy habit of positive self-talk!

Here are 25 affirmations to get you started:

  • I am enough
  • I will have a great day
  • I am kind
  • My mistakes help me to learn & grow
  • I am a leader
  • I am strong & confident
  • I have people who love and respect me
  • I stand up for what I believe in
  • I believe in myself
  • It’s okay to have a bad day
  • Today I choose to think positive
  • I can get through anything
  • I can do anything I put my mind to
  • I am important & my life has value
  • I continually work towards becoming the best version of myself
  • I am unique in so many ways
  • I am powerful
  • I always speak kind to myself and others
  • My family and friends love me deeply and genuinely
  • I am the boss of my mind and body
  • I am a hard worker
  • It’s okay to set boundaries
  • It’s okay to ask for help
  • I believe in myself
  • My feelings are valid

So mama, if you enjoyed these and would like more, check out our affirmation decks for kids here!

Also, don’t forget to like this post, share it with your mom friends and follow me on all social media platforms!

How To: Homeschool For NEARLY Free

composition creativity desk education
Photo Credit: Mecca Madina Homeschool setup

I’ve been a mom for almost 8 years now and I’ve ALWAYS loved teaching my kids in the comfort of our own home; the benefits are endless starting with a quality education tailored to your child. I’m going to teach you how to homeschool for free!

With the pandemic hitting a couple years back and technical difficulties many parents faced with virtual school, many of my friends asked “how do you manage homeschool?” or say something like “how am I supposed to work AND make sure my child is in attendance for virtual school? The schedules just don’t work.” That, coupled with the cost of curriculum and supplies; many curriculum bundles are hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Well, that’s part of my reason for choosing to homeschool. Now, I have more time with my children and can create their schedule to fit our family needs too. Whether I wanna do school 365 days a year or a few days a week for four hours each day, that’s up to me. I also don’t spend too much on curriculum and supplies as I create our curriculum and some of the supplies are sometimes items we may already have at home, recyclables or books and videos from our local library.

In this blog post, I’ll be giving you a list of free or low-cost resources for successful homeschooling!

  1. Education.com: they have thousands of worksheets, online games, projects, and so much more for preschool all the way to 8th grade searchable by category or topic.
  2. Teachers Pay Teachers: you can find so many resources by subject, resource type or grade; while they have tons of things for free, some of it does cost.
  3. Newsela: there’s a free and pro version. It uses news stories to teach literacy so students are up to date on current events.
  4. Khan Academy: students K-12 can study at their own pace to learn math, science, history, and more including SAT and AP courses.
  5. Code.org: your child wants to learn to code? This is the site for them! They’ll learn coding, online privacy, and digital citizenship.

In conclusion, homeschool does NOT have to break the bank and despite popular belief, doesn’t need a traditional school schedule. Stay tuned for my next homeschool blog, ‘The 7 Homeschool Models’, to learn more!

If you like these FREE resources, there’s more where that came from. Just let me know exactly what you’re in search of. If you need worksheets but don’t have time to find the ones you need, send me a message and also check me out at Gumroad.com/MeccaMadina!

Don’t forget to like, comment & subscribe to my email list!

Hospital Bag 101

black pregnant woman writing in notebook on couch
Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

With my oldest daughter, Lyric, I had packed my hospital bag THREE TIMES (which overflowed to being two bags) before my mom decided to help. If she would’ve never seen what I had packed I may have ended up taking ALL of the babies things with me to the hospital; that’s how much I was overthinking it.

With my son, Legend, it was a little easier since I had done it once before, but as always, I was nervous about not having everything I needed while in the hospital after giving birth. It was much easier with my third baby, Lei’Lani, since I had used Google search to skim through various sites before packing for my stay in the hospital.

So, to make things easier for you while packing your hospital bag, I’ve made a list of essentials for your hospital stay.

For Mama:

  • Comfortable pajamas: If you plan to breastfeed (even if you aren’t) (https://amzn.to/3l52rCo)
  • Cozy slippers: keep those feet warm but if you prefer socks over slippers, here are some that are not only cute but comfy as well (https://amzn.to/3a1VsDD)
  • Toiletries:
    • Shower gel, deodorant, lotion
    • Tooth brush & toothpaste
    • Comb, brush, etc.
    • Chapstick
    • Postpartum underwear: I loved Always Discreet
    • Perineal bottle
  • Chargers for your electronics:
  • A good book to read!

For Baby

  • Outfit for first pictures (some hospitals, not all, do this)
  • 2 onesies
  • 2 hats w/ mittens (don’t want baby scratching that beautiful face)
  • Socks
  • 1 burp cloth
  • Diapers & wipes (if you prefer a brand other than what the hospital provides)
  • Car Seat: save time and money with a grow & go car seat that transitions from newborn to toddler use (https://amzn.to/2Yj70jK).

There’s really no need to pack much because a lot of things, like diapers, wipes & burp cloths, will be in your hospital room already, provided by the hospital. You also won’t be there for longer than two days, unless there were complications during or after labor that requires longer care.

If you are in the beginning of your pregnancy and looking for a pregnancy journal, you can purchase my ‘Bump to Baby’ Pregnancy Journal (https://amzn.to/3zhGXXk) that has a birth plan for you to complete, hospital bag checklist & more. If you want to enhance your pregnancy and labor experience, check out my ‘Bump to Baby’ Affirmation Cards!

I hope this post has helped you in preparing to bring a new, beautiful life into the world! Congratulations to you & your growing family!

Best Blogs for Black Moms

Hey mamas,
Am I addicted to lists? Or do I just love sharing the things I have come to love as a mom? Maybe a little of both! (lol) Well, here I am with another list for you guys. Here’s SIX of the blogs that I enjoy following as a mother; and if you couldn’t tell by the title, these are MY suggestions for my mamas with melanin because representation is everything!

  • The Traveling Child: created by mother of two, Monet to inspire parents to explore the world with their kids. She gives tips on traveling with kids, insight on great destinations, and much more!
  • Adanna Dill/Rattles and Heels: created by mom of 3, Adanna. She has awesome tips for motherhood, style, and even has homeschool resources! Very much worth a follow. Two Chocolate faces: created by mom of twin boys, Kayla, sharing not only the joys of parenting but also those parts nobody likes to discuss. Kayla is also a personal instructor.
  • Product Review Mom: Louida started her blog as a hobby to share her reviews on products that she tests. A good follow for moms looking to get into affiliate marketing.
  • Mater Mea– created to help moms navigate motherhood, life, and careers REALISTICALLY!
  • ToCANAD: created by a good friend, Mysess, with so much valuable content on parenting, wellness, and travel. She also shares links to find the best products!

Granted that I am fairly new to all things blog, these have been some of my favorites as they have so much content that I can relate to, as well as things that are chock full of new information for me!

If you don’t mind, leave some of your favorite mom blogs in the comments, share this post with your friends, and if you aren’t already, follow me on social media too!

Who Is Madina the Doula?

Is there a doula in the house?!

Hey everyone! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mecca Madina; these days I either go by Mama Mec or Madina the Doula. Sometimes, I have these tiny people who follow me around calling me mommy; that’s by far my favorite name and those little people are my ‘WHY’ for starting this blog and starting on the career path that I’ve chosen!

I am a postpartum doula and breastfeeding educator in Central Illinois. While my services are mostly virtual due to COVID-19, I do offer occasional in-person support in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and soon enough I’ll be adding more areas to the list.

I hope you’re still reading, lol

My chosen career paths:

  • CPR & First Aid Instructor: I had taken the course so many times for jobs that I previously held in childcare and working with the elderly community so why not start teaching it?! I’d like to spread that knowledge in my community, especially with new moms!
  • Postpartum Doula: I’m a mom of three of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever known and while I love & adore them more than anything in the world, the postpartum period was, for lack of better words, TRASH! I want to be an aid in new moms’ experience of amazing postpartum periods and promote healthy healing & mom/baby bonding!
  • Breastfeeding Educator: While I’m still working on this certification, I’m speaking completion into fruition. I am obsessed with ALL things breastfeeding. I breastfed my first two children for a bit over three months, and recently hit the 6-month mark with my third, I plan to breastfeed for at least a full year this time around. Using my experience, coupled with tons of research, I plan to help new moms reach their breastfeeding goals!

I started this blog in order to share my ever growing knowledge with new moms and also, to connect with others in the same profession in hopes for future collaboration!

Now that you know a little about me, leave a comment introducing yourself to grow & join a friendly mom community! And if you or a loved one are in need of postpartum or breastfeeding support in the Midwest or in Central Illinois, give me a call!

Anything else you wanna know? Feel free to ask away, follow me on social media and check out the range of products I have been creating from journals & coloring books on Amazon to digital downloads!

Circumcision: Yay or Nay?

Are you wondering if you should get your newborn circumcised or not? Read on for evidence-based information that can help you with your decision.

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin (aka prepuce), the tissue covering the head (glans) of the penis. This procedure has ancient origins but is still practiced for religious or cultural reasons.

Some religions such as Judaism, Islam, and SOME Christian denominations practice circumcision “as a token of the covenant”.

Culturally, circumcision is done shortly after birth as a rite of passage into manhood, a test of bravery & self-control, or a sacrificial ritual. It can, and is, sometimes done in older children and adult men for medical reasons.

Pros of circumcision:

  • Less risk of UTI’s & some STI’s
  • Protection against penile cancer & lower risk of cervical cancer in female partners
  • Easier to keep the penis clean

Cons of circumcision:

  • Risk of reoperation if not enough skin was removed
  • Too much skin is removed
  • Pain or infection of the incision
  • Hemorrhaging post-op

Circumcision usually takes 1-2 weeks to heal if cared for properly. Clean the area with mild soap and water (do NOT use baby wipes), apply petroleum jelly & gauze, and loosely apply a clean diaper. This should be done until COMPLETELY healed. Also, administer pain medication as directed by your child’s physician.

If you notice any of the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Blistering
  • Fever
  • Unusual smell

Contact your child’s physician immediately!

Parents should talk with their doctor about the benefits and risks of the procedure before deciding whether to circumcise a male child.

If this blog has helped you in making your decision or was generally educational, share it with your friends!
Don’t forget to follow me on social media and subscribe to stay up-to-date on future blog posts!

Noggin Free for a Year 🙃

Hey parents and caregivers of early learners,

Does your little one love shows like Paw Patrol, Shimmer & Shine, Peppa Pig, or Blaze & The Monster Machine?

Noggin has a one year free subscription that ends today. Don’t miss it! Just click the link below (this is not a paid post), sign up & download the app for your little one!

http://www.noggin.com/noggincares

Share this post with your parent friends & don’t forget to follow me on social media!!

3 Fun Activities to Encourage Motor Development

In the early days, your baby will develop motor skills that are important in learning things like crawling, reaching and so many more milestones. Motor skills are defined by two categories:

  • Fine Motor- controls the ability to use your hands to eat, write/draw, pick up small items, etc.
  • Gross Motor- works with the larger muscles in the body that are used to crawl, walk, stand, roll over, etc.

With lots of practice, your babies movements will go from random and jerky to self-led and controlled. Read on to learn exercises to help strengthen your babies motor development in a fun, healthy & interactive way!

Here are 3 activities I love to do with my baby for motor skills development:

  • Bicycle Kicks- lay your baby on his/her back and gently rotate each leg back & forth as if they’re peddling on a bicycle; sing a song or talk to engage your baby. This exercise is not only good for range of motion but is also known to relieve trapped gas.
  • Rock & Roll- Start with baby on their tummy. Rock your baby gently from side to side, starting at the shoulders then do the same starting at their legs. They will eventually become familiar with these movements and will learn to roll over on their own.
  • Follow The Leader- Perform small actions like clapping, opening & closing your hands or waving for baby to learn how to imitate; as baby catches on, add more complex actions. This is great for bonding as well as fine motor development.

Let me and other readers know what your favorite activities with your little one are in the comments. Don’t forget to follow my social accounts for more content and share with your mom friends!