Blossom alum Jenna von Oy has teamed up with Medela to help launch a new breastpump recycle campaign. In response to a petition created on change.org, the Medela Recycles program helps to keep breastpumps out of landfills, encourages mothers to recycle their old Medela pumps, and helps a new mother begin her breastfeeding journey.
The Parkers actress, 37, opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about family life with husband Brad Bratcher and their daughters Gray, 2, and 2-month-old Marlowe, the joys and challenges of breastfeeding, and her former costar and “go-to guru”Mayim Bialik.
CBS: Tell us about teaming up with Medela and their new pump recycle campaign created on change.org . Tell us how this program helps the environment AND new moms.
JVO: “Medela Recycles is a program that allows environmentally conscious moms to donate their breastpumps for a worthy cause. Medela takes our old, used pumps that are collecting dust in our attics, and turns them into new, multi-use, hospital-grade breastpumps for Ronald McDonald House. It keeps them out of the landfills, and it is a beautiful way to assist the mothers of NICU babies, by supporting them on their breastfeeding journey.”
CBS: Tell us about your passion for getting involved with this new campaign. What inspired you to get on board?
JVO: “The Medela Recycles campaign helps to encourage breastfeeding, recycling and charity work… a trifecta of things I strongly believe in. I think it is an incredible opportunity for moms to give back to other moms — we need to make greater efforts to stick together!
The media places a lot of emphasis on the drama of the ”mommy wars.” Meanwhile, I think most of us just want to do right by our children, ourselves, and our fellow parenting peers out there. It’s refreshing to see the spotlight shining on some of the positive work that’s being done. This campaign was born out of one California mom’s petition on change.org. It’s truly inspiring!
On a more sentimental note, I also feel the end of breastfeeding is an incredibly vulnerable time for most women. Disconnecting from that sacred aspect of the bond you share with your child can be devastating. I nursed my first daughter for nearly two years, and it was emotionally draining for both of us to give it up. Talking about it still makes me heartsick, even though I’m in the midst of treasuring the breastfeeding bond with my second daughter as we speak. Many other moms have told me they experienced similar feelings. I think that knowing your trusted pump will be helping someone else makes moving on from it a little easier to bear.”
CBS: Congratulations on the arrival of your second daughter Marlowe! How is she doing? What kind of baby is she? Are you getting any sleep?
JVO: “Thank you! Truthfully, she’s an astoundingly good sleeper (somehow, disclosing that makes me feel like I’m bragging) and a very happy-go-lucky baby, just like her sister was. Not to be cynical, but after Gray was so easygoing, I expected my subsequent child to be a night owl. I was sure Murphy’s Law would have it in for me [laughs].
A friend recently joked, ‘Having a baby that sleeps well is the universe’s way of conspiring to make you have more kids.’ I think there might be some truth to that.”
CBS: How is breastfeeding going the second time around? What are some of the greatest joys of breastfeeding? Do you pump often?
JVO: “I had a lot of challenges while breastfeeding my first daughter, so I was relieved when Marlowe latched on quickly and with ease. In a sense, Gray really paved the way for her by conditioning my body.
I think it’s a common myth that all babies immediately take to breastfeeding, and that everything feels instantly comfortable and instinctive for us moms. Our bodies are definitely designed for feeding, but that doesn’t mean it’s always effortless. With all of that said, I wouldn’t trade breastfeeding my girls for anything. For me, one of the greatest joys is seeing Marlowe’s gorgeous eyes staring up at me while she nurses. Every now and then she’ll flash a brief smile along with it, and my heart melts. It is profoundly fulfilling to know I’m giving my child a very special kind of emotional and nutritional support.
Because I am mostly a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have to pump as often as most of my mommy friends do. I’m blessed that my job allows me the flexibility to be with my daughter throughout the workday. Of course, half of the daily time I’ve allotted for writing my book (Situation Momedy, due out later this year from Medallion Press), is spent simultaneously typing and breastfeeding, but… we moms do what we have to do, right?”
CBS: What is your best advice for moms who are struggling with breastfeeding? Do you have any tips or pieces of advice?
JVO: “As I mentioned earlier, breastfeeding is tough stuff. I refuse to sugarcoat that, because it would do a disservice to the women who are encountering challenges. I want them to know they aren’t alone. It’s an incredible bonding experience between mom and baby, and the health benefits it offers our children are unparalleled, but sometimes it also takes some getting used to.
As with anything else, there is a learning curve. I try to be as open as possible about my struggles with it, because I don’t want first-time moms to have such overwhelmingly high expectations that they give up on it too soon. Stick with it, because it is well worth it. I respect that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, but I can’t imagine my own motherhood experience without it. I was very determined to get beyond the rough patches for the sake of my children, and I’m incredibly thankful I did. I’m not shy about how much I love it.
One piece of advice I can offer is to find someone ‘safe’ to ask questions of, and discuss things with, so you don’t feel isolated. It’s invaluable to have a woman you trust (be it your mom, doctor, best friend, or co-worker), to provide you with encouragement, guidance, and honesty through the breastfeeding process. We all need, and deserve, a strong support system around us.
I was blessed to have several women to consult and confide in. People are often surprised to hear that my go-to guru has actually been Mayim Bialik, my former Blossom costar. She is a certified lactation consultant, and she has been my saving grace on many a long (and stressful, and sleepless) night. In fact, we collaborated by interviewing one another about it on our respective blogs. If you want to check it out, the link is here.
The most important suggestion I have pertains to motherhood as a whole: at the end of the day, have faith in yourself and your instincts. There’s a lot of information to sift through out there, so it’s important to give credit to your own intuition. It’s empowering to know we already possess the strength and courage it takes to raise our children within us.”
CBS: How is your elder daughter Gray adjusting to big sisterhood? How have you adjusted to having two babies?
JVO: “Gray amazes me a little bit more every day. Not that I ever had doubts about her ability to love her new sister, but I realize it’s totally normal for changes in the family dynamic to be met with a certain amount of frustration, confusion, and jealousy. She’s only two, so my husband and I anticipated a sensitive adjustment period. But Gray proved that we had nothing to worry about. She is my little sidekick, helper, and honorary babysitter.
If Marlowe is crying, Gray is often the first one to rush in and console her. She serenades her with made up songs about diaper changing (I’ll spare you the lyrics), and requests to hold her every morning when she wakes up. She was also the first person to elicit a smile from Marlowe. They have an unbelievably solid bond already. My husband and I have agreed that we won’t be surprised when “Gray” is Marlowe’s first word.
Admittedly, having two kids is exponentially harder than having one. Of course, I say that with a huge smile on my face, because I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s twice the work, but twice the love and fun too. There’s entertainment value in figuring out how to do some of the activities that seemed fairly simple with one child. For example, grocery shopping with both girls is a production and a half, and trying to make dinner while taking care of two kids and five dogs is just shy of a three-ring circus. But you find a system that works, and you hold onto it for dear life. I’m enjoying every moment of it—chaotic or not.”
CBS: How’s life in Nashville? Do you love living away from the limelight in Hollywood?
JVO: “I’ve been enamored with Nashville since my first visit twenty years ago, so it was a very natural transition for me to move here once my last show, The Parkers, ended. I was ready to get a little grass back under my feet, and embrace a subtler way of life than Hollywood has to offer.
I definitely don’t miss the smog, L.A. ‘scene,’ and eternal traffic. That isn’t to say, however, that I don’t miss being in the nerve center of the entertainment industry. Work isn’t nearly as accessible here in Nashville, so I’ve had to get a little creative about keeping my foot in the door. Still, my husband and I are very comfortable raising our kids here. It is equal parts charming and progressive, and the hospitality is beyond compare.”
After months of rumors, the all-female cast of the Ghostbusters reboot has been confirmed. With Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig andSaturday Night Live‘s Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon,this movie will actually be the best thing that’s ever happened.
Director Paul Feig made a special announcement of his own with the tweet below.
Single mom Hilary Duff was spotted with son Luca, nearly 3, and a gal pal leaving Lemonade Cafe in West Hollywood, Calif. on Monday (January 26). While swinging from mom’s arms, the adorable tot was all smiles during the afternoon outing.
The Younger actress, 27, recently shared some sweet family photos via social media.
As well, the Disney darling recently opened up about her struggle to maintain a healthy body image.
“I mean I’m in the same struggle you’re in every day,” she said.
“It’s a tough question, too, but however it comes across, it comes across,” Duff added. “I just tell myself, ‘I’m 5’2″, I’m really fit, killing it in the gym, and doing crazy things.’ I love to work out, but I’m just not that concerned with being the skinniest person. I’m not a model; I’m an actress. I always feel like I’m in the five to ten pound struggle, but my life is so busy. I’m just not that concerned, really. I’m normal and I’m perfectly happy being that way. Some weeks I’m like, ‘Man, my clothes are fitting so good’ and then some weeks I’m like, ‘I need to cut back on a few things,’ but that’s it. I don’t fall into the trap of having to be 110 pounds.”
Kim Kardashian broke her silence on stepdad Bruce Jenner‘s alleged sex change. Sort of. Kim told Entertainment Tonight that Bruce is the “happiest [she’s] ever seen him,” and emphasized his “journey” and the family’s “support” without giving any substantial information or answering any specific questions. Which means, this could be exactly what you think it is.
We know Bruce will address all of the rumors on the upcoming season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, in a special scene he shot with ex-wife Kris Jenner. “I think everyone goes through things in life, and I think that story and what Bruce is going through, I think he’ll share whenever the time is right,” Kim told ET. “I feel like that’s his journey to talk about.” She doesn’t deny any of the rumors, and all the vague “support” talk makes it seem like if Bruce doesn’t get a sex change in the future, he may have entertained the idea at one point. Once the big episode airs, we’ll (maybe) find out. Unless this whole thing is just an enormously involved play to get the ratings up this season (which seems aggressive, even for the Kardashians).
Will the new season of KUWTK explain Bruce’s penchant for pink nail polish, too?