Sun, May 28, 2017
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Frustrations of iMovie

So. I showed the final draft of the Café Mama movie and hit export. The spinning beachball of death shows up. Imovie crashes for the hundredth time. When it opens up, the final draft is gone and the penultimate draft opens. I search and it is really gone. I am looking through hidden files to see if I can find the crashed version and if it is repairable. 

 

We are at T-12 hours to launch time.

Our aim

Café Mama helps mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals and be happy, confident, caring and connected.

Website is live!

The website is live and without too many issues. :-)

I was able to figure out a Mission/Aim statement that includes the word breastfeeding without it being overwhelming.  I'm still not clear on the forum for the membership site.

Kickstarter vs GoFundMe

Michael suggests, after quite a bit of research, that he thinks GoFundMe will be a better choice for crowdfunding. I am stricken with disappointment as a vision of thousands of disasters that have befallen people flank my little Café Mama breastfeeding project. Kickstarter seems so chic, so hip, so... "product oriented." I research GoFundMe and find a number of non-disaster projects, a much better funding probability and give it the go-ahead.

I'll use Kickstarter for my books. :-)

The financial case for Café Mama

The problem at hand

In New York State, 81% of all babies start out breastfeeding, but by age three months 67% of all babies are partially or fully formula fed. By six months, that number rises to 87% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card.

Only 13% of American babies are exclusively breastfed to 6 months. Among African-American babies, the rates are significantly lower, 58% start out breastfeeding, and 28% breastfeed at six months, with 8% exclusively breastfed at six months.

Screen Shot 2017 02 12 at 11.21.03 PM

The baby milk muscle.

For nearly one hundred years corporations have successfully muscled into the business of feeding babies. Ulster County, NY is home to the farm of Gail Borden, and his invention, Eagle Sweetened Condensed Milk, which was first touted as a high nutrition infant formula in the 1860s.

Lovable cash cow Elsie sealed the deal with her wholesome, bashful ways. A fresh market of 130 million new babies born each year worldwide is hard to pass up by multinational pharmaceutical companies who position infant formula as a convenient, safe alternative to breastfeeding. The Nestlé Corporation, didn't invent formula samples, they took it to a new level and earned the moniker "The Baby Killers" and a 4 decades-long consumer boycott for their efforts. 

Today, every mom can count on ample free formula samples "just in case breastfeeding doesn't work out." And most willingly accept and use it without knowing the risks or having access to support and resources that nearly guarantee that breastfeeding will work out. 

Bottle-feeding is the norm and images of bottles and bottle-fed babies are everywhere.

 

 “Why is this a problem? I had formula and I turned out OK.” 

 

Every medical association including: The New York State Health Department, The American Academy of Pediatrics, College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Surgeon General, The Center for Disease Control and The World Health Organization, recommend most babies exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and continue breastfeeding along with complementary foods for a year or more. The United States Healthy People 2020 objectives for breastfeeding are: 82% ever breastfed, 61% at 6 months, and 34% at 1 year.

There are many health benefits:

  • Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma.
  • Children who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese.
  • Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

There are also economic benefits of breastfeeding:

  • Families who follow optimal breastfeeding practices can save between $1,200–$1,500  by not buying infant formula in the first year alone.
  • A study published last year in the Journal of Pediatrics estimated that if 90% of U.S. families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs.
  • For both employers and employees, better infant health means fewer health insurance claims, less employee time off to care for sick children, and higher productivity.
  • Mutual of Omaha found that health care costs for newborns are three times lower for babies whose mothers participate in the MUTUAL OF OMAHA'S employee breastfeeding program.

American culture has at least 10 barriers to breastfeeding. 

We don't live in a breastfeeding culture, therefore, we don't breastfeed our babies.

We give lip service to the mother-baby bond then do many things to come between a mother and her baby. During pregnancy, mothers are encouraged to rely on external monitoring such as weight, measurements, ultrasound and radiology in order to connect with their baby. Yet, many mothers do sense very intuitive, accurate impressions of their baby.

During birth, medical professional routinely apply interventions known to disrupt bonding in animals. Our culture has lost connection with nature's way and most people don't even consider these interventions abnormal anymore. 

In the first weeks, mother's lack skilled breastfeeding helpers to answer their many questions. 

As mother's get out and about in the world with their babies, they face societal pressure to wean.

Mothers are returning to work much too soon after birth because the US has no paid government maternity leave.

It is a testimony to the human spirit and drive for connection that any mothers are successful breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding doesn't happen in a vacuum. Breastfeeding mothers living in communities where bottle feeding is the preferred method of infant feeding still enjoy the same, health benefits, empowerment and  intimacy with their child as mothers in breastfeeding communities. What they miss out on is the love, support and encouragement from other mothers. Statistically, they are more likely to wean earlier.

Many people are working to improve breastfeeding rates.

The 2011 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding outlines steps that can be taken to remove some of the obstacles faced by women who want to breastfeed their babies.

1.  Policymakers can support compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, support small non-profit organizations that promote breastfeeding in African-American communities, increase funding of high-quality research on breastfeeding and support better tracking of breastfeeding rates and factors, such as birth practices and maternity leave, that affect breastfeeding.

2.  Hospitals can incorporate the recommendations of UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

3.  The health care community can provide breastfeeding education for all health care workers and provide access to International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.

4.  Employers can start and maintain high-quality breastfeeding programs for employees, provide clean places for mothers to breastfeed and establish paid family leave for their employees.

5.  Community leaders can strengthen programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling, create programs to educate fathers and grandmothers about breastfeeding and create community organizations to promote and support breastfeeding so that families and friends of mothers can give mothers the support and encouragement they need to breastfeed.

Café Mama does just that. Cafe Mama is about promotion, support, education and encouragement of breastfeeding.

Café Mama is a place, a space, and a way of life. It’s where mothers and babies connect. Where mothers make friends and become more confident, satisfied moms who are in tune with their baby's needs. It's a place where babies and children are important. It's a place where mamas consistently meet and exceed their breastfeeding goals.

 

A mother who came to the Mom's group asked if she could bring her friend who was bottle-feeding. 

I said, "Of course! All mothers are welcome." 

She said, " I thought so. but I never see any bottle feeding moms here. Why is that?" 

I said, "Because when you come to a group and see all the moms sitting in a circle breastfeeding, taking care of their babies and nursing naturally and easily when each baby needs to feed, you think that is normal and you keep breastfeeding. If you came and mothers were bottle feeding, you would think that was normal and you would start bottle-feeding to fit into the group."

 

Café Mama is about mothers and babies growing and changing together through shared experiences. What makes humans different from other mammals is our emotions. As humans, we all long for the right connection with others, a safe connection that sustains us emotionally. When we connect with other people, we change and we change each other. 

Newborn babies have an inborn drive to move toward the breast and feed themselves. Mothers have an innate knowing that gently assists their little one to fulfill their journey. Breastfeeding is that first connection. Our very first experience of being in the world.

Connection, change, sharing and growth are qualities that make us humans. It is how we relate with each other, with the world we live in, and with the planet that sustains us. Without these fundamental qualities, our lives and our babies' lives aren't meaningful, let alone possible.  

In 2010 I had a dream.

A visionary dream, that mothers in New Paltz had a place to meet with other mothers for breastfeeding support, encouragement and friendship. Not 30 minutes away, not once a month - a mom might go crazy in a month -  but weekly. That weekly group turned into 4 groups and people dropping in all day long to hang out. That was OK, but my office was so small! I dreamed of a bigger space.

In 2015, I leased a bigger space and planned a space for classes and meetings. I dreamed about food and hot tea and coffee. I dreamed of Café Mama.

It's 2016. I have a full time dedicated space, I need help creating educational programs, organizing promoting and running classes and meetings. I need help cleaning so babies are in a safe and sanitary place. And most importantly, mamas need to know about Café Mama and use the space.

The biggest problem I have faced in the past, is that many mothers never heard about my Mother's Circles. They never heard about the wonderful groups, classes and events we have, and worst of all, women went without help because they don't know about my lactation consultation services, clinics or free services.

Café Mama needs community support.

We are launching a fundraising campaign to help us pay for staffing, a community webspace, rent, heat, and supplies for Café Mama. Crowdfunding raises money, awareness and support for dreams. Crowdfunding brings together people passionate about a project. I've donated to campaigns because I feel a connection and passion for the people who took a risk, put their ideas on the line and asked for help. 

"Changing the world, one mama and one baby at a time is what I do best. Now, I wonder what would happen if Café Mama helped 10,000 or 100,000 mamas and babies have more health and happiness."

What have I learned from the mothers in the group? WHEN ONE NEEDS HELP,  ASK FOR HELP!

If you have a worthy cause, people will want to help you. In fact, people are waiting to help you because we all long to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It feels good because connecting with others is the basis of our human existance.

The three principles of Café Mama

"We are not meant to raise children alone."

Mothers need three things:

1. Safety

Model love, kindness, compassion and sharing.

2. Learning 

Mothers need to tell their stories and need to hear other's stories.

3. Love

- Mothers need permission to connect and bond with their baby.

- Encourage friendships between mamas.

 

However you started breastfeeding

However you started BF and whatever your goal, I help you to:

- Overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed - 

- Work through difficulties

- Enjoy breastfeeding

And along the way, you'll discover how breastfeeding works for you and your baby. Breastfeeding is intuitive and natural, but often it's not easy. If you are nursing and it hurts, or you think you don't have enough milk, or your baby is having difficulty breastfeeding, 

I can help you. I've helped thousands of women over nearly two decades

There are literally hundreds of things that can contribute to painful, problematic or ineffective nursing. It can be hard to discern exactly what needs attention first.

Also, If your baby is sleepy, confused and/or clearly hungry, you will be scared and worried. And, when you are feeling frightened and uncertain, you may decide breastfeeding is just not worth it. In addition, most medical professionals don't understand how breasts work. They tend to think of medicalized solutions and not in ways that support breastfeeding. 

First, let me tell you that your baby already knows how to breastfeed.

What I do is help you learn how to let your baby breastfeed, have an abundant milk supply and enjoy breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is not just about feeding your baby. It is a way to mother that nourishes you, too. While some mothers find it amazing, intuitive, easy, natural and satisfying from day 1, many women struggle a little (or a lot) in the beginning.

You may already be successfully breastfeeding and just have questions. 

  • You are going back to work or thinking about pumping.
  • You want to know about starting solids or weaning.
  • or maybe You are wondering if something, you or your baby does, is normal.
  • It is OK if you are emotional, crying all the time or you feel too embarrassed to call.  Mothering is hard!

If you want to breastfeed, you probably can.

I will do my best to listen and help you find a way to feel better.

It is OK if you think your problem is silly, too small or not important. If you are worried, it is appropriate to ask for reassurance and guidance.

It is OK if YOU think it's a hopeless cause. I have seen hundreds of so-called hopeless cases turn completely around, sometimes within hours or days, and have happy endings.

The couch

orange sofa1When my kids were tweens, we needed a new couch.

I wanted leather and one that was big enough for us all to sprawl on. I also wanted instant gratification. I drive a full size van and it makes my life convenient. 

My mom is always game for shopping so we loaded the kids into the van and went on the hunt for "The One." As we got further and further away from New Paltz. By further, I mean Route 17 in New Jersey, it was a no-brainer to keep going to IKEA. 

I was certain that at IKEA I would find a couch at a low price, ready to load into the back of the van and we'd be sprawling on it TONIGHT.

IKEA did not disappoint, at first.

We did sprawl on our perfect couch that day. My kids picked it out and I agreed. It was perfect!

Except it was crazy expensive! it would take 8 weeks to get and it had to be delivered! I rationalized the cost in my mind, we ate swedish meatballs and drove home to sit on our old couch and dream of the new one.

It arrived on time at 7:30 am 8 weeks later. For 5 or 6 years, it was everything I wanted in a couch.

Enter the love interest with excellent taste and a better sofa.

I agree with Michael. His couch is nicer. In the resonant ways of a good partnership, his couch is very much like the couch I replaced. Wet swimsuits and muddy pants have drifted into fond memories and the cotton brocade upholstery and feather pillows of his sofa suits me just fine.

We moved the the IKEA Airport Davenport into Café Mama and I think many generations of kids will enjoy it here.

Ditching the Ballast

The New Baby New Paltz Grand Re-Opening is fast approaching and we are up to our eyeballs in work, and out of money. 

I wanted so much for this to be the kickoff of Café Mama too, but it's not going to happen. I don't much mind because I have so much to do that realism has set in. I can adjust to a different plan if it means that I'm not so stressed.

Video Day

I'm tired. 

And, happy. Today went so well. I looked at my interview and I'm tired. Why did I wait until the end to talk?

Everyone came and recorded really well- One mama from each year of NBNP came and talked. I really couldn't have hand-picked a more diverse crowd and I am filled with pride at what they've accomplished as moms and also with what they said about me.

Their gratitude boosted me!

Here's who came: Tracy from the Sanctuary, Kelly 1st year at Plattekill Ave, Amy, Jess and Heather one each of the following years at Plattekill Ave and Seraph from this summer at my house. 

Naira is editing it.

Samantha took some portaits of me being relaxed. Here's my favorite.

Relaxed 640

Claiming the URL

I bought my URLs today. 

cafemama.org

cafemama.net

I decided against cafemama.cafe.

The Interviews

We have Samantha Zbikowski of Focus on Us Photography coming to video our interviews. She is quite clear that she is only going to video.

Not Edit.

Circle of peers

When a new mother sits in a circle of peers and everyone is breastfeeding, she thinks that is what she is supposed to be doing and she continues.

 

When a new mother sits in a circle of mothers and sees everyone bottle feeding, she starts to find ways to bottle-fed her baby.

Chairs!

So...I am walking along downtown and I see a yard sale happening. Not just any yard sale, but a nice one with a couple dozen leather chairs. I score a bunch of stuff including 6 leather chairs and a desk. 

brown leather barrel back club chair ships in 1 2 days 1.gif copy

 

 

Michael and I stuff them into the garage.

Slow Motion

With lease negotiations, obtaining building permits, and scheduling the contractor, the construction isn't going to start until October 1.

I am disheartened and eager to start! Perhaps we will be done by Thanksgiving or December 1?

Condensing

This week I made the decision to condense my businesses. We are moving New Baby New World into New Baby New Paltz. 

These past 3 months, I have worked at Water Street Market, listening to the water fountain and loving my beautiful little store. I will miss it a little but it has turned stressful between staffing and stocking. In hindsight, I probably should have done this last spring but lured by the masses of New Yorkers in their stylish clothing and expensive, almost carelessly so, tastes, I stayed.

The thing that kicked me over the edge was having people go to the other store to buy something. The 'must-have' booties were always in the other store!

People asked me if I didn't feel spread thin, and I couldn't feel it before. Now, I am starting to feel the places where I am spread thin. It's going to feel so good to have Café Mama open, too! Like gathering all my children in the same room!

I found a space

photo 1 2

I decided on a space.

It's at ShopRite Plaza and not great looking but the size is right and the landlord is working with me.

Of course, the clock is ticking. I have to be moved out of 15 Plattekill Ave in two weeks and I am going to Paris on for 3 weeks on July 6. Hopefully, I can get this sorted out before I go.

The cool thing about this space is that they are building it out for me. I can have a private office and space for Café Mama!

And, generous retail space.

The Kickstarter

It's started. I feel optimistic that it's going to move smoothly and quickly.

Café Mama: Another Dream

I've been thinking about how to organize the hypothetical meeting/play space into something that is financially solvent and turns into it's own community.

Michael suggests doing a Kickstarter campaign and I can see how that might work not only as a fundraiser but as a community builder. 

Maybe? 

What would a Café have? 

Coffee!

Of course, hot beverages and cold beverages. I don't have the inclination for a full-blown restaurant. Maybe we can do packaged foods? Start with granola bars and a free coffee bar. Like the unlicensed clubs that will serve your bottle of alcohol to you. Get some menus and offer a carry-in option or stock up on a daily assortment of fruit, muffins and bagels.

I think of a Keurig and shudder at the plastic, but it seems like the most efficient and freshest solution.

A mothering lab

What if you didn't have to be blonde or thin or have a lot of money?

What if you didn't have to eat paleo, organic or be vegan?

What if you kept pausing your workout video so you could gaze at your baby?

What if you didn't have to be the perfect breastfeeder or use cloth diapers?

What if you could just be your perfectly imperfect self , show up when you and your baby finally got through the rough night, last minute diaper blowout, projectile vomit down your shirt morning?

What if it didn't matter that you were still fat from being pregnant?

Or couldn't keep your weight on because you feel anxious all the time?

What if you could just ask whatever questions you wanted to? Even if they were "dumb."

What if you didn't love your baby some times or days?

What if you could confess that you were scared - scared that you weren't cut out for mothering - that you aren't OK - that there must be something wrong with your baby, or you?

What if that was OK?

Café Mama is a lab for mothering. Women come in with their set of ideas and habits. Through the process of breastfeeding and loving their baby, self reflection, purposeful questions and support from other moms, mothers subtly change.

They become happy and confident, confident in themselves, as mothers, in their choices, in their lifestyle. They come out of their shells and begin contributing to their community.

They give back, listen to others and offer ideas, share their experiences and insights.

Café Mama is a no judgement zone.

The only person judging you is yourself and we hope to help you change that. You are in a safe space with people who really get what you are going thru. 

It's an unconditional circle of love.

Sound too good to be true?

It does sound good and it is true.

Read these true stories:

A prominent mother in our community felt just that way. She came wanting to wean her 3 month old baby off the breast. We gave her the information and told her to come back. She came back and she was still weaning. After a few months of weaning, she decided just to keep breastfeeding and continued for several years.

A mother was suffering from Postpartum Depression. She connected with other mothers, found a therapist, and started finding ways to grow through mothering. She found her joy again.

A mother had terrible problems breastfeeding. She was in so much pain and while everything we did improved it, it was still terrible! Each week we listened to her. Even though she was suffering, she wanted to keep breastfeeding. We gave her love and support for her pain and encouraged her to do what she felt was right.

A mom quit breastfeeding because she thought something was wrong. Her breastfeeding problems made her really unhappy. Over time she started to see how the support of the group could have helped her continue. All the things she thought were wrong with her were temporary and actually most mothers experienced them, too.

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