Episode 80: Mom Journey: Navigating New Motherhood with Sarah Hollingsworth
Mom Journey August 24, 2022
Jacqueline Kincer 0:03
Welcome back to the Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host Jacqueline Kincer. And today I have Sarah Hollingsworth with us she is going to be telling her mom journey story and she’s the founder and CEO of populist. After a difficult return to the workforce from maternity leave, Sarah decided to step away from her career to focus on family health and to pursue a new entrepreneurial journey. In July of 2020. Sara launch populist, a simplified baby registry platform that helps parents be who they want to be starting with the right products for their growing family. Sarah resides in Austin, Texas with her husband, Scott and two daughters, Amelia and Zoe. So welcome to the show, Sarah.
Sarah Hollingsworth 1:19
Hi, Jacqueline, thank you so much for having me.
Jacqueline Kincer 1:22
Yes, absolutely. I’m really excited for you to be here, we’ve been able to connect with each other over these past several months. I don’t even know if it’s been a year because time just flies by. So I’m really excited to bring you on the show and talk about your experience with breastfeeding. But even just really, as a mom and trying to be a working mom and an entrepreneur, Mom, you’ve just had so many varied experiences. And I think our audience is going to love to hear about it.
Sarah Hollingsworth 1:51
Awesome. Well, I’m happy to share whatever you think is going to be most valuable to everyone. And yeah, I don’t even think it’s been a year since I first messaged you on Instagram. So, you know, it feels like it has been but I know it hasn’t been that long. But yeah, when you’re a working parent of now a newborn and a toddler, sometimes time stands very still, or it goes by very fast. So I basically just feel like I’m in a time machine. So anyway, happy to talk about anything, and so has so so happy to be here. Yeah,
Jacqueline Kincer 2:20
that’s a good way to put it. It does feel like a time machine that works in many different directions. It seems. Yeah, I think that’s really just mom life in general. And what I love is that you’re able to keep it so real. And I just think that that’s a conversation that we really need to be having more often because I feel like moms are you know, maybe it’s part of our wiring to some degree. But then there’s just all of these influences of social media and just the way things work. Now, we’re always seeming to strive towards some sort of optimal or ideal, which is not a bad thing, but can definitely be discouraging in the long run. So I think you’ve got a lot to share on that friend. And I’d love to just hear how your journey started with becoming a mom.
Sarah Hollingsworth 3:08
So when I was pregnant with my first Amelia, I was working for a global IT company headquartered out of San Antonio, Texas, and I was a very annoying pregnant person. I was one of those people. My first pregnancy that loved being pregnant. I was so grateful for health, I experienced some symptoms in the first trimester. But overall, I felt very fortunate and really enjoyed my pregnancy experience. But it was very challenging work wise, because my job required a lot of travel, I managed our global trade show team so I was traveling to every major US city probably, you know, I’d be in New York one month Las Vegas, the next Chicago another. So I was constantly on the road, which, which was really, really hard. And as you know, a lot of people can relate the fatigue sets in, in general when you’re pregnant, but then you add long trips. And these weren’t overnight trips. I mean, I would be gone from my house and it has been for almost a week. So maintaining good nutrition, hydration, sleep traveling for trade shows was really hard. So my pregnancy and experience was great. Working while pregnant was extremely challenging,
Jacqueline Kincer 4:17
huh yeah, that makes sense. Gosh, and I don’t know if this happens to you. I feel like it does when I’m not pregnant, but my legs would get swollen sitting on long, long flights and I can only imagine being pregnant and trying to fly as much as you did.
Sarah Hollingsworth 4:32
Oh yeah, I had to research you know, compression socks. I needed like the world’s best water bottle. You know, you just there’s things that you need to try to help support wherever you’re going and a good water bottle and compression socks were key for flying,
Jacqueline Kincer 4:46
huh? Yeah, that’s a really good tip sexually. So when you type came time to give birth to Amelia, how did that go? Was there anything that you did to prepare and then I just love to hear like maybe you can chat about you know, now that you’re looking back on it and your perspective to
Sarah Hollingsworth 5:05
my birth with Amelia is so funny because I spent so much time researching these lists about what you need for a hospital delivery and I gave birth in a hospital in San Antonio, you know, there was these lists and not to discredit them or you know, I’m sure they work for a lot of people, but it was like pack these essential oils make this playlist, there were so many things about the your physical environment that I read, that somehow I missed the, hey, here’s what you really need to know about giving birth. And here are some questions that you can ask your obg or your healthcare provider, whomever, to make sure that you have a safe delivery or one where you feel empowered, you know, I missed those articles. Somehow I was so concerned about the physical environment of where I was going to deliver that I didn’t know that I could decline in a Pewsey Atomy if offered, you know, I just didn’t understand what was in my control, if you will, around giving birth. In addition to that, I had no idea how to properly care postpartum. So when I think about my birthing experiences, and I know you’re not asking me to compare them yet, but they were wildly different. And I think as first time parents, we just don’t know what we don’t know. And there’s so much information that we can consume on the internet that I think it’s really hard for us to parse what is really important that I need to focus on first, and then what are kind of like, oh, okay, well, once I’m prepared for X, maybe I can think about having a diffuser in my delivery room. You know, I just, there were so many other more important things I wish I would have spent my time on, but I didn’t know any better.
Jacqueline Kincer 6:45
Hmm, that makes sense. And like you said, you don’t know what you don’t know. So even if those were things that you thought you wanted to learn about, now, you have to go figure out well, where do I learn about those things? Which is overwhelming, right? So do you read a book or a blog? Or watch YouTube video? Like, I mean, there’s so many options, and then how do you know who to trust?
Sarah Hollingsworth 7:06
Right, and I think that’s, you know, also part of the reason I launched populous, but I was the first of my friends and my sisters to have a baby. So I didn’t, and even a lot of co workers I was working with at the time weren’t moms, so I just didn’t know where to go. So yeah, I spent hours researching the internet and listening to podcasts and just trying to figure out, what do I do? Basically? Gosh, yeah, that’s
Jacqueline Kincer 7:29
wild. So So you gave birth to Amelia did things go? Okay. Or were there some surprises? Because you you said now that there were some things you didn’t know? Yeah, so
Sarah Hollingsworth 7:39
I didn’t have as many surprises as with the millions i do with Zoey. But, you know, I think I was surprised at I mean, this might be TMI, I was so surprised at how hard it was to push. I had a vaginal delivery with both of my daughters. I did not know the type of stamina I would need to somehow show up with when it came time to push, I pushed for 90 minutes straight. And I mean, we did not take a break. Now it was you know, pushing every so seconds during the contraction, taking a two second break, I remember my husband putting the oxygen mask over my face. And then we would start over I mean, it was like this for 90 minutes. I remember my OB saying if we don’t get her out in X amount of time, you know, we’re going to have to go to plan B. And I just remember thinking to myself, like okay, well get her out, you know, it’s just so hard. Like you just have no idea what you’re in for until you’re in it. And I think the same thing is parent can be set for parenting, like my mom’s like, you’re never going to be ready to be a parent until you’re a parent. And I don’t know, I think because everyone’s experience with coming a parent is so so different. Even if I had lots of friends who could have shared their experiences with me. You know, what’s so unique about this is no one person’s experience is the same. So sure, it might have been nice to have a little bit of context about what could possibly happen. You know, everyone’s experience is so unique to them. So yeah, besides being surprised on how hard it was to push out a human which sounds like Well, obviously that’s hard. Like, you know,
Jacqueline Kincer 9:19
geez, Sarah How did you not know that,
Sarah Hollingsworth 9:25
though? I know, I just was like, I think they’re just, you know, like, how big can they be? Well, she was nine and a half pounds and 22 inches long. So he was not coming out easily on her own. Oh, gosh,
Jacqueline Kincer 9:36
so she was big. Yeah. Yes. That’s yeah, that’s funny. You know, it’s like this balance too, especially like for someone in my role where, you know, I’m, I’m trying to educate people, but not scare them. Right. So it’s like, yeah, it’s going to be hard. It’s pretty much going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Not birth, the whole parenting thing. Like yeah, because In total versus over in, you know, for some people a matter of hours others a matter of days. Depends on how your birth went. But right, guaranteeing that’s like forever so, yeah, it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done. And if you don’t like doing hard things, then you’re gonna want a lot of help. Cuz Yeah,
Sarah Hollingsworth 10:16
100% Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I mean, when someone asks me, how’s it going? I usually reply with, well, would you like the truth? Or do you want me to just give you the shortened slash sugar coated version? Because sometimes people aren’t in the place to hear like, how challenging parenting can be. So I usually just basically ask, Well, what do you really want to know? This very loaded question.
Jacqueline Kincer 10:43
Right? You’re like, do you want to know how big the baby is right now? And if she’s, or milestones, or do you want like the thick of it?
Sarah Hollingsworth 10:50
Jacqueline Kincer 10:51
So when you had Amelia, did you do anything to prepare for breastfeeding? Or like, how did you kind of go through that? Was it like a big decision for you like, deciding whether or not you would breastfeed, I always love to learn from moms and kind of what they did going into it,
Sarah Hollingsworth 11:08
going into it with Amelia, I didn’t do or prepare anything other than like, maybe registering for a nipple balm, or obviously, I had I registered for the haka, because I knew that would help me, you know, catch some let down on the other breast that she wasn’t nursing on. So there was like a few, very, like small amount of product, things that I did to prepare, if you will, but in terms of education, I was so ill prepared. But I knew I wanted to breastfeed, Amelia and I knew I wanted to do it exclusively. So we did, she latched almost immediately when she was born, and it was the most wonderful, beautiful experience we’ve ever had. But then as my milk came in, and she started to nurse for longer periods of time, what within the first week, that is when it became extremely challenging. That was sort of like, I knew something was wrong with Amelia as nursing, because when she would latch, I would literally close my eyes for 30 seconds until the pain in my nipple numbed. And then I basically felt like I could breathe again. But I knew that that was not a normal experience, that type of prolonged pain. I knew I needed like to sort of seek some help. So I’ll stop there. But that was like the one moment I knew. Okay, it’s it shouldn’t feel like this,
Jacqueline Kincer 12:24
huh? Yeah, that’s great that you realize that because I hear from a lot of clients that they don’t realize that I’ve actually had them start out the appointment and I’ll you know, kind of ask like, hey, you know, you filled out the form like, why, why are you here? Like, what are your goals? And they’re like, I just want to learn how I can tolerate the pain. And I’m like, wait, what? Like, no, that’s not supposed to. I just
Sarah Hollingsworth 12:50
remember thinking like, there are so many women who have beautiful nursing experiences with their children are saying, like, if this is what everyone’s feeling, nobody would breastfeed. I was like it this. This can be what people experience. Yeah, not their entire breastfeeding journey sounds like this. This cannot be right.
Jacqueline Kincer 13:11
Yeah, once you realize that, like what happens next? Because you said you felt like you realize you needed help. So did you ever
Sarah Hollingsworth 13:20
get that help? Yeah, so that was a couple of weeks after a million was born. I mean, I say a couple of weeks. You know, I think as first time parents you like, it’s like, Wait, was that one week? Was that a month? Like, I can’t really remember the exact timeline, but I know it was the first couple of weeks that she was nursing. So sure. I remember calling my OB asking her like, Hey, do you have like a lactation consultant in your office? Of course, we had one come visit us in the hospital familia. But you’re in such a state of euphoria and like adrenaline that yes, I was listening to her. And she gave us so many great tips and suggestions. But once I got home, and I didn’t have the lactation consultant there with me, it was almost like I couldn’t remember what she had told me. Obviously, I felt so much more confident to nurse with an expert right in front of me. So when you get home, you’re kind of like, oh my gosh, wait, did she say do this? I just couldn’t remember all of the tips that she had provided. So a couple of weeks go by I call my OB she recommends a lactation consultant at the hospital and I delivered. So my husband I make an appointment, we go to the hospital. They were actually like on the postpartum floor where we delivered. I sat with a lactation consultant. She watched me put a million on my boobs she sort of watched how she latched we did a weigh in so after we did one very painful feeding with a lactation consultant, she put her on a scale to see how much milk she was, you know consuming and then we went through okay, here are some of the the issues I’m seeing her latch was super shallow, which explained why my nipple was so sore and it burned because she was basically You know, she had a very shallow short latch, she wasn’t able to get as much milk as she possibly could with a such a short, you know, small latch. So we sort of corrected it right there on site. And it was so helpful. And I actually went back to see the same person four times. Because every time I got home, I remembered some, but not all of her feedback. But I also didn’t know how else to make sure Amelia was gaining weight. Because after her her first pediatrician appointment, she actually had lost a lot of weight, and it took her a long time to get back up to her birth weight. It wasn’t until I went to more than one lactation consultant appointment that she started to gain weight. And then I finally got the hang of it. So I went and saw the same person four times after Amelia was born.
Jacqueline Kincer 15:40
Wow. Well, that’s awesome. By the way, we love when you do that, because we want to make sure that you understand and that you’re able to implement the things that we’re teaching you on your own. That’s the whole goal. So Right. I love that. Yeah. And I don’t know if it’s not really Mom Brain. But there is absolutely, like you said this time of after giving birth, where you just cannot take in information, like it’s just so as much as I love that a lot of hospitals will have lactation consultants there. And some of them do have very good ones, you’re not going to remember most of what was said to you when you get home. And I find that really evident, like when I unpack people’s birth stories with them. And there’s elements of it that they really can’t remember, you know, and it’s not because you blacked out. It’s just because that’s how it is.
Sarah Hollingsworth 16:27
Right? You’re experiencing sort of like sleep deprivation on top of this feeling of pure joy and bliss. And yeah, it was just so hard to retain that information. I mean, you’re so concerned about getting acquainted with someone you’ve never met, you know, also trying to recover from giving birth. Yeah, it. It seems like a good idea at the time, right to have someone come visit you about latching and in supporting your breastfeeding journey. But man, when you go home, you’re like, Wait, what did they say? Should I have recorded that
Jacqueline Kincer 17:00
session? Yeah, maybe we should be doing that. So you saw this lactation consultant for time. Sounds like she helped you a ton. So that’s amazing. So then how did breastfeeding go after that?
Sarah Hollingsworth 17:14
So breastfeeding was so wonderful familia. I was home with her for three months on maternity leave, and we nursed exclusively. I didn’t even start pumping until like, the week or two before I had to go back to work. I actually forgot like, I really forgot. Oh, oh my gosh, Emily is going to daycare. She only drinks milk. I guess I should have a stash in my freezer. Because otherwise what’s she going to go to school with. So it was great once we got the hang of it. And I felt confident. I mean, once she started gaining weight and breastfeeding was comfortable for the both of us. That’s when I started to feel more confident to take her places because I knew like okay, we can go out to lunch, we can go to a coffee shop, we can go on a walk because if she starts fussing, it’s hungry. This isn’t going to be a 25 minute ordeal that I’m where I’m trying to get her a lot and she’s in a cube crying after she feeds because she’s going to be hungry. Like I knew she was going to be well fed and calm. So that was really nice to feel confident. Breastfeeding Amelia, enough to get out of the house. Because, you know, I think we all need that for our mental health. Like it’s hard to be cooped up in one place for so long. So it was a really beautiful experience with the Millea. breastfeeding. So I did like I said, I breastfed Emily exclusively for three months and then I had to start pumping when I went back to work which was an entirely different experience.
Jacqueline Kincer 18:40
Yeah, certainly get into No What was that like? I want to hear
Sarah Hollingsworth 18:44
in total with familia my, you know, breastfeeding and pumping experience lasted six months, I went to an office. So the nice thing about that was I had a schedule in my pumping sessions, which is very different than my experience with Zoey which, for the record, I nursed Zoey about three months less than I do with Amelia. But here’s one thing I will share going into an office as challenging as that was as a new mom when I think about pumping specifically aside from every other thing I have to say about working in a corporate environment as a new mom. At least my pumping sessions were scheduled four times throughout the day and I had to block those out on my calendar otherwise I wouldn’t be able to pump. However being at home this time around my second working from home, you can get a lot lazier. So I wish I would have been way more disciplined and diligent with my pumping schedule when I went back to work like I was with Amelia because it allowed me to maintain a supply but pumping at work. The only thing I was annoying was obviously like going back and forth with all the pump parts and the things you need to be able to store breast milk but I was very fortunate that my company provided a nursing room a pumping room there was a frigerator that was exclusive just for women’s breast milk. So that was really, really nice. I had a travel for a week when Amelia was six months old. And after that trip is when my milk it literally just never recouped, and it never came back. And that was kind of the end of my journey with breastfeeding and pumping Amelia, which I was devastated because here I was on the road away from my daughter, it was very hard, you know, she’s six months old, and to travel. To not know, you know, that the fridges at the hotel provides you to store your breast milk, I don’t think was actually cold enough. And then to have a really hard and challenging experience with TSA coming home. It was such a stressful week that I honestly think my body just went into complete shock. And like that was it. It was like devastating because I didn’t even wean her. I didn’t even put I had no time to prepare like this was going to be the end. It was just, it was almost like a switch. One day I left for a work trip. And when I came back like that was it. So that was like really hard because there was no preparation. And it wasn’t something I wanted
Jacqueline Kincer 21:12
to end. Right. Wow. Yeah, I think that happens more often than people talk about. And here you are supposed to be on a trip for work. And this is happening in the background, and how much are you really, you know, that’s hard, right? You’re trying to focus on your job. And then obviously, you’re probably missing your family, or you’re enjoying time away, but right either way, but you’re trying to pump in the midst of all of that, and then, you know, store this milk, and it’s all just not working out how devastating Of course, like you said, you didn’t get to prepare. So that’s, that’s really rough, for sure. And I will say to you, like just, I wouldn’t say you did anything wrong. You know, I had to travel for about a week I presented at a conference, I had to leave my daughter who was nursing at the time now she was older than Amelia was I forget how old she was at the time. But that constant having a run back up to my hotel room to go POM was awful. It was just awful because I was missing all of the networking periods or I would have to miss sessions. The times when everybody wanted to eat lunch together, I would basically shovel food in my face and then go and pump and because it was like a busy conference venue the elevator took forever. So it’s like all the things you know, and then everybody wants to go to dinner after and you’re like, well let me pump really quick and let me pump when I get back. And the hotel fridges No, they’re not the right temperature. So there were all these things that we have to consider. And yeah, it’s it’s a lot it honestly can be way too much. Like if it’s one or two days, I feel like you can kind of manage but it any longer than that. It’s just, I don’t know how moms do it. I really don’t like if you’re exclusively pumping. And you travel. I don’t know how you do it. You’re incredible. And just like now down to you.
Sarah Hollingsworth 23:05
Yeah, same here because I’m working this trade show floor at a tech conference. And we’re in Las Vegas. So if you’ve ever been to a trade show in Las Vegas, the space like the expo and conferences is so far from my hotel room. So just like going back and forth. And you know, even if I had pumped and found a safe place to do that near the expo or the actual conference, then what am I supposed to do with my breast milk? Like keep it in it all day? Like I had no clue like I was not prepared to like, I didn’t know I had to think through all these scenarios. And I think before this trip, I was like, Oh yeah, it’ll be great. You know, I’ve already called the hotel, I have the fridge, I’ve got all my pump parts, etc. Well, I get there and I’m like, oh my god, I forgot. You know, I remember forgetting this one piece to my breast pump. I think it was like the phalanges or something that like go in the spectra. It was something or maybe like one of the anyway, there was like a piece I forgot. Yeah. And you’re when you don’t have all your pieces, it doesn’t work and you’re just like this, no way is this happening. So I remember having like Amazon Prime Time into my hotel, and that was just sort of like the start of how stressful that week was
Jacqueline Kincer 24:13
a man. So that ended there. Was there anything else you wanted to say about the end of your breastfeeding journey with Amelia? Was it hard coming back to her and not having as much milk? Yeah, going through that.
Sarah Hollingsworth 24:25
I think it was really hard because also I will say we didn’t have like a ton of breast milk stored in the freezer. So I knew that my husband’s probably going to have to supplement for the first time ever with formula while I was gone, which he did end up doing. So I’m so thankful he had this experience of the Millea but for a week he was bottle feeding her in the morning and at night. And he loved that time with her because he felt like he got to bond with her in a different way because that was really like the first time he’s ever fed her. Besides like, you know, some purees that we were making at that time. And then I come home. And I’m like devastated because I can’t nurse her to sleep. Like I literally just didn’t have any milk left. And I didn’t know what steps to take. If I wanted to try to get my milk supply back, I just didn’t even know that that was an option. So here, my husband is so stoked and happy and thrilled to have this experience in the Millea. And on the other hand, I’m like, devastated because that was my job. But that was the job I wanted, you know, and that wasn’t just me anymore. So I think just as a family, everyone was experiencing, like, very different emotions. And that was hard to manage. Because he was happy, but I was really sad. So I don’t really have anything else or ideas to add other than yes, of course, she’s healthy. And it all worked out. And it’s great, but it doesn’t minimize you know how really devastating that can be when it’s not up to you.
Jacqueline Kincer 25:52
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And yeah, that’s the juxtaposition of you and Scott’s emotions over this. Yeah. Doesn’t doesn’t help how you feel for sure. No. So yeah, well, so then you in this timeframe, you obviously after that, you left your job, you started Poppy list, and then you’re getting pregnant again. So let’s talk about that.
Sarah Hollingsworth 26:19
Yes. So I left my job six months after maternity leave, because after that work trip, I was just like, you know, this just isn’t a feasible career for for me. And then what almost two and a half years later, I got pregnant with Zoey in between that time I’m working on starting, you know, populist and onboarding, my co founder, and we are, you know, working to build this baby registry software. So I was pregnant with Zoey, about two and a half years after Amelia will really be closer to two. She was born this year on April 12. So she’s almost four months old. So time is going by very, very fast. She and I had a very similar experience in the beginning, not necessarily with the challenges of nursing and latching. But in the same way that Amelia laughs right away. So did Zoey, Zoe’s kind of my miracle baby, if you will. So I the only surprises the two surprises I had when she was born was the umbilical cord was wrapped around Zoe’s neck. And she also had a knot in her umbilical cord. And we are just like, incredibly fortunate and blessed that she is with us. Because if you look up statistics, which I don’t recommend, they are not positive for babies who have knots in their umbilical cord. So we are just very, very, very fortunate for her. So I’ll pause there, but she loves hideaway. And our nursing experience lasted three months, and I’m happy to share parts of that too.
Jacqueline Kincer 27:52
Yeah, I want to hear because you went into the pregnancy with so we and your parenting journey and and postpartum with her, obviously more well informed, and yes, you know, clearly an expert in baby products at this point, or at least so many exist. And so you know, you had just done more on that front end to prepare. So I’d love to hear some of those things that you decided to do because it’s a big contrast from how things went with Amelia.
Sarah Hollingsworth 28:23
Completely different contrast. I mean, I knew what products I needed to help support my breastfeeding journey, which ones I didn’t, I had pre arranged a lactation appointment. So it’s really I don’t know how unique this is. But our kids pediatricians office actually has lactation consultants that meet you during your newborn appointment. So I had called ahead of time to make sure we were going to be seen by one. So I already had pre scheduled appointments with the lactation consultant before so it was even born. So that was something different that I did this time around. And it was great. It was so funny because she latched great. We had a great experience at the pediatricians appointment with our lactation consultant. She was gaining weight right away. She put her birth weight back on in a matter of days. I had such a great supply. I also think I was so much more confident breastfeeding her this time around that I think overall I was less stressed. And I just knew she was putting weight on like with Amelia. I never knew that she was getting what she needed, but was Zoey. I think as a second time mom, I just was like, You know what my body. If I maintain my hydration and nutrition and my vitamins and minerals, like I know, I was telling myself I know my body is going to give her what she needs. And that was really the mantra I kept telling myself and it made my experience breastfeeding Zoey. So much better. And I felt so much more confident in what my body was producing for her that I don’t know. Like I think by just saying that 100 times over it really became true Oh, I don’t I don’t know if that sounds silly, but not just not at all my body in a different way this time than I did with Amelia.
Jacqueline Kincer 30:07
Yeah, I mean, what I’m hearing you say is that you made sure to take really good care of yourself so that you could feel confident in your ability to care for Zoey? Exactly. Yeah. Which is what we want all moms to do. So yes.
Sarah Hollingsworth 30:25
Yes. And, you know, I think it’s, it’s hard to put that into practice as a first time mom. But my second time around, I was so grateful because I was like, Okay, I kind of feel like I was getting a redo in a way, in certain areas of being a mom. But then, you know, like I had mentioned earlier, I did go back to work a little earlier than I did with Amelia mainly because I had the opportunity to work from home, I didn’t have to go into an office, and it’s my own company. So if I’m not working, you know, of course, I had my incredible co founder to me is but if there aren’t two of us working on populace, the needle doesn’t move as quicker. But I wanted to get back to work to write it was on my own volition and my own schedule. Sure. But I didn’t have a pumping schedule built in which looking back, I definitely should have. So there was two things. One, I wasn’t as diligent about making sure my body was producing enough breast milk when I started pumping. And two, I actually started to have like a little bit of depression. It’s super hot here right now in Austin. And so my family of four has been not has been but the first two and a half months of Zoe’s life. My husband was always with my toddler doing something fun outside, and I was inside recovering and nursing Zoey. But it was the first time despite having, you know, this new type of education and confidence and taking care of myself and, you know, being able to adequately feed Zoey, I started to feel just like very depressed about no time with my toddler, no time with my husband, it was very rare that the four of us were together at the same time, I just started have like, more intrusive thoughts than I’ve ever experienced. You know, I needed to have a few more frequent calls with my therapist, I don’t know, it was so weird, because I feel like my mental health was struggling this time around in a very different way than it did my first. And so when I think about being alone, nursing Zoey, and I can hear my toddler and my husband laughing at the pool. I just was like, I don’t know how to articulate it in a way that makes sense. But I’m sure people listening if they are a second time mom with a newborn. And they also have an older child that you guys be able to relate in some way about, like, really feeling lonely, and like missing out. I didn’t like feeling that way. I wanted a little bit more freedom with my family. But also, I think, on top of sleep deprivation with a toddler, I think that was making my anxiety and like postpartum depression that much more difficult. And so I started to ask my husband, hey, I need to sleep through the night, I need at least like six or seven hours solid, can you please take a feeding for Zoey. And so because of, you know, my mental health sort of struggling, I didn’t have a diligent pumping schedule designed. And I just felt like I desperately needed to sleep through the night nursing and pumping became a little less important to me. And I just felt like this summer, I needed to focus differently on my mental health. So that’s very long winded. Jacqueline, I’ll pause there. I hope that made sense. I kid did clear anything up that you might think your listeners would appreciate?
Jacqueline Kincer 33:39
No, I think that makes perfect sense. And I really appreciate you sharing that. Because these are real feelings that I think come up for a lot of moms, and you’re one of them. And it can be really hard to feel tied down especially to it’s like putting the brakes on, right. You’re used to being a mom of a toddler, and being able to be more active and all of that. And then now all of a sudden, you can’t and yes, sure you do need to heal from the birth and all of that. But then you’re kind of like, well, hang on. I’m wanting to jump in. And I’m ready to do some more things. But yeah, you’re feeling tied down. And I think what you said about I forget exactly the word you used about just that breastfeeding and pumping became less important to you. And I think that that is really valid. And I would love for that to be more of the focus of the conversation when moms talk about how breastfeeding maybe didn’t work out or why they gave up earlier than they had wanted to. It’s not a giving up. I don’t think it’s that and I don’t think it’s saying that breastfeeding was absolutely killing your mental health and you needed to stop for your mental health. It’s just kind of looking at your life priorities and ranking things in order of importance and That’s all it is. It’s not a judgment. It’s just like you’re like, you know what, some things are more important than this right now. That’s okay. Right.
Sarah Hollingsworth 35:07
Yeah. And I think, you know, I, I’m so thankful you said that because that’s truly how I feel. And I was concerned about, there was a moment where I was like, Okay, I need to tell my husband that I don’t want to do this anymore for X y&z reasons. And I think they can appear very selfish. But when you’re a parent, and there’s another child that also needs you. And I don’t know, I don’t think I need to explain or justify any further or defend. But no, you don’t. It’s absolutely what made the most sense for me. And it’s, it’s so funny and different, right? Because this time around, it was so much better. And it doesn’t minimize either how much I loved breastfeeding Zoey, like, you cannot replace that experience with your kid. However, given my life and my circumstances, in my situation, it wasn’t something I could continue to prioritize. Just for her, I needed to be a mom to Amelia and Zoey. And I also needed to take care of myself so that I could not take care of two kids. And so for me, that meant that meant, okay, I think I need to stop breastfeeding at this time. So, you know, of course, like she got sick a couple of weeks ago, and I’m like, Oh, my God, if I was nursing, she probably would have never gotten sick, you know. So you have like these tapes that still sort of come up and you start to feel guilty. But then I have to remind myself, Sarah, no, she might have still gotten sick. Yes, your breast milk is her greatest defense against XY and Z. But she’s going to be healthy. And she’s okay. And she’s fine. And she’s better now, you know, but there’s tapes that I think might come up periodically throughout the next couple of months. And I’m sort of anticipating those and already working through those scenarios with my therapist. But like I said, it just wasn’t right for me at that time.
Jacqueline Kincer 36:58
Yeah, that makes sense. And also, I know, you know, this, like, you know, knowledge wise in your head. But the benefits of breastfeeding don’t stop when you stop breastfeeding. So I like to always remind that to moms who lean early or like low supply moms, like the benefits of breastfeeding, don’t align with how much breast milk your child has. And, you know, they serve them for years to come potentially their entire lives. So I hate to hear that one moms will say, you know, I just leaned and then she got sick. And that’s why and I’m like, No, that’s not why they were gonna get sick anyways. And if you were still nursing, they just would have said, well, thank goodness, I’m nursing so that I can give her the antibodies, and you would convince yourself that they got over it faster.
Sarah Hollingsworth 37:46
Totally. I know. Right. It’s so true. Well, thank you for that reminder. Yeah, totally.
Jacqueline Kincer 37:50
I think it’s like a really important reminder. Because, you know, it’s easy to think because you’re actively doing something in the moment, and you can’t see what’s going on, and your child cells and DNA and all of that. But, you know, there’s still miracles happening there. Which is really cool. So it’s hard to it’s hard to conceive of like until you like really dive into studies and you see how for, you know, across a massive population that we see these differences, and you’re like, oh, no, it actually does do something. It’s not just a nice to have like, there is something to it. So it’s really cool, right? Yeah. So you just weaned Zoey, basically, right? Like it’s been
Sarah Hollingsworth 38:29
like a couple of days. Yeah, like two and a half. It’ll be three weeks at the end of this week.
Jacqueline Kincer 38:35
So how have you been feeling? And how did you go about making that transition, like ultimately, you made a decision to, you know, stop, or go about weaning. And so you got to prepare, which you didn’t get to do with Amelia. So I’d love to hear you walk us through
Sarah Hollingsworth 38:49
that, you know, she has been bottle feeding with the breast milk that I was pumping while I was working. So I’m really fortunate that she was comfortable with a bottle and she didn’t have any, she didn’t appear to have any issues, you know, going between like bottle and boob, which was really great and super helpful for everyone in our family. So what I started to do was I just sort of started to eliminate pumping sessions throughout my day. And then I would let myself sleep a little longer and longer. And then I eventually stopped doing middle of the night breastfeeding sessions, which were my favorite because they were so convenient. You know, but I needed to start taking out those sorts of sessions throughout my days. And I think she did okay, I could tell for several days she would like bury her head like near my chest and I think she could, I knew she was looking for my boob. And that was really hard, like not giving her what she was looking for. I definitely felt sad in those moments and sometimes, like pretty emotional, I’d actually have to hand over to my husband, so I could kind of just like, get myself together. So he did several bottle feedings in the beginning just to help? Yeah. So those were kind of steps that we took. And then you know, it’s crazy because in three months going from pregnant for nine months and then delivering and then your milk coming in and and then maybe considering you’re stopping producing breast milk like my body has just gone through so many hormonal changes like highs and lows in a very short amount of time that even though I haven’t been breastfeeding or producing breast milk for a couple of weeks, I’d still feel very hormonal. So it’s like, it’s motherhood is crazy. And I don’t know when things will level out, but I can, my body is still adjusting like I just, I feel it sometimes when she’s crying for like, 20 or 30 minutes, I have that letdown sensation, even though I don’t know what’s actually happening in my breasts, like, am I producing breast milk? I don’t know what’s happening. But it’s crazy. It’s crazy, Jacqueline, you know, yes,
Jacqueline Kincer 40:52
yes. And yeah, you probably still are, like, if you wanted to get some out, you could eke out some drops, right? And yeah, and there is a hormonal shift. Absolutely. That happens when you wean. And it doesn’t matter if it’s two days postpartum, or where you are or two years postpartum. And so that’s why we usually recommend doing it gently, like you did, right. There’s no, very unlikely that there’s a true medical reason to do sudden leading. And so you know, usually we have a little bit of time, or at least, you know, sudden drying up of the milk, like we can take some time with that most of the times, so. Yeah. And it’s, yeah, I’m sure you have mixed feelings, right. So there’s kind of like some sadness there. Of course, especially if she’s reaching for the boob. And then right, there’s probably a sense of relief, it sounds like because you’re getting to balance your time better between both children. And I imagine just work and being a family and being a wife and all of that,
Sarah Hollingsworth 41:49
you know, I think because it was my decision. Unlike with Amelia, it’s been better, but also harder in some ways. Because I know that this is my last pregnancy. And so having to sort of reconcile stopping nursing earlier, I did not put a deadline, like I did, like I wanted to nurse Amelia for a year. Like for some reason, I gave myself this very ambiguous deadline or goal. So I sort of was like doubly sad when I when my body stopped producing milk with Amelia. But with Zoey, it was different, because it was my decision. But I was still sad in a different way. Because I knew this was going to be my last kid. And this is that was my last pregnancy. So I was like, I definitely went back and forth. Like, is this the right thing? For me? Yes, it is. But this is my last. So should I do it longer?
Sarah Hollingsworth 42:36
I went back and forth for several days just sort of like wrestling with these two very different voices and thoughts. I was telling myself. So the experiences were very different, but still both sad and a little complicated. And I don’t know. Well, absolutely. And I love that you’ve kind of said throughout this that you’ve had a therapist that you work with, which is wonderful. And you know, how are you feeling like your mental health is doing now that you’ve weaned,
Sarah Hollingsworth 43:02
you know, my mental health is is pretty good. I have a lot of work to do on my anxiety, which I feel like has increased two times now being a mom times two, I have like some severe intrusive thoughts. And so it’s hard. I mean, being a mom of one is hard. Being a mom of two is hard. Parenting is challenging. feeling like you need to be a multiplexes multiple places at once is hard. You know, I definitely have moments where I feel like I’m failing across the board. Even though my some of my time has freed up and I’m not breastfeeding. It’s really hard. I mean, I think it’s it’s definitely improved, and it’s better, but I have a lot of work to do. And I think I always will, in some capacity just because that’s life. And then you know, on top of work and being a parent and my job, you have other things like family stuff and what have you. So you know, I don’t know if they’ll ever be a moment in my life where I don’t need a therapist, but my mental health is definitely better. But I know I still have some work to do.
Jacqueline Kincer 44:06
Ah, I love your transparency, because I don’t know I relate to you and I feel like who doesn’t? But maybe that’s because we’re full of our own challenges. I don’t know Is there anyone listening out there who cannot relate to what they’re saying? Truly, like DM me, I want to I want to understand please do tell me your secrets. Come on the podcast and share all of your secrets so that we can all be healthier and
Sarah Hollingsworth 44:34
lightning moments. Yeah,
Jacqueline Kincer 44:37
yeah. And you’ll have your great days and you’ll have your great streaks I like to call them streaks you know where I absolutely have some weeks where I’m like, Pope was all of that anxiety about these last two weeks. I’m so productive. I’m thinking so clearly I’m happy. And then like you just wake up one day and you’re like, Ah, it’s it’s back. Okay, all right, so hard.
Sarah Hollingsworth 44:57
And I feel I think, you know, I don’t want to generalize and say that, you know, dads or whomever don’t have the same sort of like mental the stream of consciousness and anxiety sort of inducing thoughts as the mom. But I know that my mental load is different than my husband’s and not because he isn’t an equal parenting, our house is absolutely 5050. But there are just things that go through my brain, that when I sort of share out loud what I’m thinking, he’s like, How on earth does your brain even, like, operate like that? And I’m like, I don’t know, but I can’t, I can’t get it to stop. Like, for example, we just put in like the co2 monitor and Zoe’s room. I’m laying in bed the night we put it in the outlet, and I’m like, Oh, my God, that co2 monitor is too close to the curtain. What if because it’s plugged in, it gets too hot, and the curtain catches on fire? And the curtain is near her crib, like go in through the front door? I mean, why going through her bedroom door? Well, I have to break the window. I mean, Jacqueline, my thoughts go from like, A to Z, like, in seconds. And my husband’s like, I don’t think normal people think that way. I’m like, but I don’t know, I kind of think all moms think he’s like, that does not sound normal. I’m like, it’s not for you. But I think it is for us. And I don’t know if it’s normal, but I can’t help it.
Jacqueline Kincer 46:18
Oh, totally. I and you know, this is not to be like mental health advice to anybody out there. But because I obviously, you know, partner with a lot of mental health professionals, tend to various therapists and psychiatrist myself. And just, you know, it’s part of like my education and continuing education. So there is this degree of, like, when we talk about anxiety, or generalized anxiety disorder, and intrusive thoughts, that’s not always the same as what is normal for a postpartum mom. Like, I think sometimes moms, and I’m not saying you don’t have anxiety, I’m not saying that clearly, you would know. But like, a lot of moms will start to freak out when these things happen, and immediately make an assumption that they have anxiety disorder, or they have postpartum depression or something, and something is wrong, they need to get therapy and medicine and all that. And like, I think therapy would be useful, because it’ll truly tell you whether or not something deeper is going on. But what moms don’t realize is that there are changes to the gray matter in your brain, the moment you become pregnant, and especially once you give birth, and this has been studied and our brains, the wiring, everything changes. And we are more vigilant to the point that we might be hyper vigilant and worry about where that co2 monitor is plugged in. And we think through safety scenarios, because our brains need or have been wired, this is all evolutionary, right? You cannot continue the species if you let your child die on your watch. Right? Right. So our brain is literally looking for occasions for our child to die. And we are going to work through scenarios of how can we prevent that that is normal, that is not unhealthy. What is unhealthy is when there are thoughts of you harming your child, or when you cannot stop that. And it’s consuming everything and you’re not able to function normally. So I just want to assure moms, if you’ve had those occasional thoughts, that is normal, that’s just your brain trying to be very protective of this spawn that you’ve brought into the human race. So yes, yeah, there’s, you know, I don’t think your thoughts are crazy, but it is funny, like you said, you know, your husband, Scott, he doesn’t think that same way as you and I don’t think that men are and or spouses or partners. They’re protective. But it’s in a different way. Right? He might be more big picture thinking where you’re sitting there looking at this thing going, Is this okay, as a safe? Like, did I buy the right monitor? Or is it near the current? Like, you’re just doing all the things and so you guys kind of you do protection in your own different way? Right, he might think of something that you would never have thought of.
Sarah Hollingsworth 48:53
Yeah, very true. Glad to know, we’re all in it together.
Jacqueline Kincer 48:57
We are. And I think that the more that, you know, people like you, Sarah, that can share your story and just other moms can listen and go wow. Yeah, like, you know, and I just, I think your story is great, because like you said, you you really didn’t have the same preparation and knowledge going into breastfeeding your first but you ended up breastfeeding her longer. But you got to make a an empowered, informed and supported choice. And that’s, I think, really what’s special about your breastfeeding journey with Zoey? Well, thank
Sarah Hollingsworth 49:28
you. And I really believe that and I know that to be true. So thank you so much for for validating that.
Jacqueline Kincer 49:35
Yeah, absolutely. And also, just you guys know, Sarah was like, um, so I recently learned I don’t know if I’m still like a good fit for the podcast. And I’m like, I think you are and I think baby, we should totally talk about that. But I was like, I just want to make sure you’re okay talking about it. And she was so here we are doing this episode and I just I think it’s great because I think what you’re talking about is just something really real Oh, you know, we can I get stuck in that I will totally take responsibility where I want to talk about all the ways we can overcome breastfeeding problems. But sometimes it’s more about the kind of stuff that you shared.
Sarah Hollingsworth 50:11
Yeah, well, thank you. And obviously, I love everything that you produce. And I’m so thankful for the community that you’ve created. And it’s one of the very few lactation accounts that I follow and trust. And you know, just to really appreciate everything that you do for mother. So thank you. And I’m just so honored that you thought of me and asked me to come on your podcast.
Jacqueline Kincer 50:31
Ah, well, thank you. Yeah. And honestly, the feeling is mutual. You guys, this is not like a plug for populace. But honestly, like, if you are pregnant, if you know someone who’s pregnant, seriously, go check it out. Sara and her co founder have created this just it really feels more like a community than a baby registry, which is really cool. Because it’s just it’s like your opportunity to be really intentional in terms of picking out some things you might want for your baby. It’s also not necessarily just like a physical product. And yeah, I just what you’ve created is really unique. And it stems I think, from just your own experience as a parent. So I don’t know if you want to share a little bit about that before we go.
Sarah Hollingsworth 51:12
Yeah, no, I think you you said it beautifully. And in like Jacqueline mentioned populist is a baby registry platform. And I think a few things that make us really special is one, every recommendation that we make in our catalog has been sourced from a mom and dad directly. So brands cannot pay to play. We vigorously that every product that we recommend. So unless we know for sure it’s helped a parent, we will never recommend it to someone building their registry with us. And the other unique thing is we’re the only registry that allows parents to exchange their gift for a gift card before it’s been shipped. So as parents, we know, circumstances change constantly. For example, we had someone who registered with populist and she ended up having NICU baby and hadn’t redeemed some of the gifts that were purchased. So she asked us if she could get you know the same value of those gifts and a gift card, because she needed other things. And that was sort of the idea behind this gift card option on populace. So if your circumstances change, and you haven’t redeemed one of the gifts that’s been purchased for you, and it hasn’t shipped yet, we will give you that value and a gift card instead. So I’m proud that we’ve created an experience and a registry that gives parents pretty much complete control and flexibility, because that’s something we don’t really have as parents. So if we can give that to you in the form of a registry, then I think we’re doing something special. And I’m really proud of what we’ve built.
Jacqueline Kincer 52:38
Oh, yes. I love that. I love that. And I think in today’s world of influencers and things like that, it sometimes becomes very unclear in terms of what are actual valid recommendations from follow parents and what are not. And so having that, you know, that people can’t pay to play is very cool, because you’re like, oh, no, really, parents have said, This is great for them. And that’s awesome.
Sarah Hollingsworth 53:06
Yes, so that’s a little bit of populace. But yeah, go check us out. And we would be absolutely honored and privileged if you trusted us to help set you up for parenthood. So that is my my little populist plug.
Jacqueline Kincer 53:19
I love it. Well, thank you so so much, Sarah, for joining us. I just feel like this is such a special episode. It’s been awesome to talk to a friend and get to hear more about your story. And being able to share that with others is something I think that will serve everyone who’s listening really well. So I appreciate you. You’re welcome, Jacqueline, thank you so much.
Jacqueline Kincer 53:46
Did you know Most moms stop breastfeeding in the first month postpartum? I believe succeeding at breastfeeding means having the right mindset. In fact, studies show that the number one factor that determines breastfeeding success is commitment. Which is why I’ve created my incredible audio download of breastfeeding affirmations where I give you actionable mantras so you can breastfeed your baby with confidence and peace of mind. And best of all, it’s free. To get access to this audio and PDF. Simply visit holistic lactation.com/mantras And you can get started right now.
In today’s episode, Jacqueline is joined by Sarah Hollingsworth, Founder & CEO of Poppylist. After a difficult return to the workforce from maternity leave, Sarah decided to step away from her career to focus on family, health, and to pursue a new entrepreneurial journey. In July of 2019, Sarah launched Poppylist, a simplified baby registry platform that helps parents be who they want to be, starting with the right products for their growing family. Sarah resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Scott, and two daughters, Amelia and Zoey.
Sarah has a very relatable story about becoming a new mom, dealing with breastfeeding and mental health issues. She says what we know a lot of moms are feeling on a daily basis, and Jacqueline validates all of these feelings and thoughts. Being a mom is hard work, but listening to Sarah’s story just may leave you feeling like you’re not really alone.
In this show, you’ll hear:
- Sarah’s birth journeys with both of her births
- How Sarah handled pumping and working
- What Sarah wishes she knew before giving birth
A Glance at This Episode:
- [3:02] Sarah’s journey to motherhood
- [4:51] Ameila’s birth story
- [7:33] Sarah looks back on what she wishes she would have known during her first labor
- [10:52] Sarah’s breastfeeding journey with Amelia
- [18:30] How Sarah handled pumping for Amelia when it was time to go back to work
- [26:10] What Sarah did differenty in her breastfeeding journey with Zoey
- [38:28] Weaning Zoey and how Sarah dealt with the emotions
- [51:13] What Populist is and how it’s beneficial to moms
- Poppylist Homepage
- Start Your Poppylist Baby Registry
- Poppylist Instagram
- Poppylist Twitter
- Holistic Lactation Website
- Follow on Instagram
- ? If you are truly struggling with breastmilk production, check out our Advanced Lactation Formula supplement or consider booking a Low Milk Supply Consultation or Pumping Consultation with us
- ? Looking for more trusted knowledge and a deep dive on how to know what’s what with breastfeeding and how to overcome problems? Check out our support community The Nurture Collective®