We have some great mom tips for you today from darling brand ambassador Cristina Toff from @cristinatoff and @themilksource + a FUN GIVEAWAY with @themilksource on our instagram page, WIN their online breastfeeding class + their new mom box full of breastfeeding must-haves (value of $150).
Meet Cristina beautiful mama of 1…
Hi, I’m Cristina! I’m originally from Pennsylvania but now live in Hoboken, NJ (just on the other side of the Hudson River from NYC) with my husband, Jason, our amazing 2.5 year-old son named Noam, and our 2 fluffy pups. We moved to Hoboken 3 years ago from the East Village in Manhattan when I was pregnant with Noam. During this time, I started my blog (which I’ve woefully neglected but still hold dear to me), The Home and The Heart. On my blog, I share all things motherhood – my challenges, my accomplishments, my favorite clothing and toys – and have used it as a creative outlet since leaving my full-time job (I used to work at a tech startup in San Francisco).
After having Noam, I became deeply interested in helping other moms navigate new motherhood and, specifically, breastfeeding. I attended my first La Leche League meeting when Noam was just 2 months old (I’m now a leader for our local Hoboken / Jersey City chapter). About a year after Noam was born, I realized this was what I needed to do with my life – help other moms. Through my own experiences with breastfeeding and new motherhood, I realized that, despite how many books I read or classes I took, my expectations were completely misaligned with what turned out to be my reality. Motherhood was tough. Breastfeeding was tough. And I had no idea how tough either actually was.
To help other mothers, I became a lactation counselor and educator and co-founded milksource, a breastfeeding education service, with my friend and fellow toddler boy mom, Evian. Through milksource, we offer online and in-person breastfeeding classes, support and resources. I also became a birth doula, to help women prenatally prepare for childbirth, breastfeeding and the postpartum period. As someone who spent her childhood babysitting, playing with dolls and ‘house,’ it came as no surprise to me that this is what I believe is my role in life. To be the best mother possible – not only to my children, but to other mothers.
Q: In Motherhood, share with us a few things that have helped you?
A: Seeing a therapist. I’m very open about my experiences with depression and anxiety – they don’t define me, but they are a part of who I am. I seek a therapist regularly and I’ve gained so much from that that’s extended into all aspects of my life – motherhood, my relationship, my family, my self-confidence. I truly believe that you’re unable take care of others if you’re not fully able to take care of yourself. So, when I really, truly began taking care of myself, I found I was able to take better care of my son, my relationship, my friendships, and every other part of my life improved dramatically.
Asking for help. For the longest time, I thought I could do it all myself and that I was supposed to do it all myself. The ‘it takes a village’ axiom didn’t really dawn on me as a reality. When I came to terms with the fact that motherhood is a joint effort and that it truly does take a community or village of individuals committed to it, I allowed myself to ask for help and to actually be okay with receiving help. This, in turn, has made me a better, more present mom, a happier woman, and a more content human.
Q: Share 2 things you think moms would want to know?
A: I believe a key to motherhood – and life – is staying flexible. Things change quickly in motherhood. There are phases and challenges and one day can seem vastly different from the next. If we’re able to remind ourselves of this and we’re able to stay flexible and adaptable, I think we can do a better job at adjusting to the rapid changes and not letting them sidetrack us from our ultimate goal of being the best parent possible.
The days may seem long, but the years are short. You may have heard this one before, but it’s so unbelievably true. As a mom to a newborn, there were days that felt like weeks and weeks that felt like months. And those were challenging times – there’s no discounting that. But, when I look back, I can see clearly that those challenges – while very real – were also fleeting. My mom has always loved the phrase ‘this too shall pass,’ and I think now, as a mom myself, I understand more than ever how honest of a phrase it is. Life happens quickly. Babies become toddlers and then children seemingly overnight sometimes. Allow yourself to feel the stresses and pains of motherhood, but do your best not to get bogged down by them – they too shall pass.
Q: What are 2 of your MUST HAVE products you can’t live without right now for you or your little?
A: My Leader Bag. I’m obsessed with my Julien diaper bag back pack. It’s so gorgeous, super well-made, thoughtfully designed and fits everything I need for a few hours out or a full day away. I love that it’s practical yet doesn’t scream ‘diaper bag!’ And I absolutely love the women behind the company – I feel proud to support other mom-run companies.
Earth Tiles from Rose and Rex. These are my son’s absolute favorite toys at the moment. I love that they’re simple and beautiful and provide open-ended play for him. They keep him engaged and encourage him to build, explore and imagine.