June 08, 2022 6 min read
Hi friends! It’s been a little while but we are back! On the blog this week, we are so excited to introduce to you Vivian. Vivian is a mama of two and also the founder of the brand, Naetal Skincare, which produces skin products to help target itchy skin and eczema using natural and safe ingredients that are gentle enough for babies and the whole family. We spent some time talking to Vivian about some of the challenges of being a momtreupeur, mom guilt, and more.
Photo Credit: Mothermusemag
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your little one(s).
I’m Vivian, a mom of two incredible boys who keep me on my toes. I’m a coffee addict and a carb lover, especially poutines. Both my children are hard-of-hearing and my younger one was a micro preemie born at 26 weeks. Having my kids with special needs help me as a parent to learn more about myself and also gives me the opportunity to learn from professionals like SLP, OT and PT on helping my children's overall development.
2. What inspired you to create your brand, Naetal Skincare?
I created Naetal Skincare after developing a severely itchy pregnancy rash called PUPPPs (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). I was 36 weeks pregnant and was quarantined at the hospital as my rash flared up head to toe on every pore of my skin. I tried more than a dozen products including steroids and nothing was effective in calming my rash and had ingredients safe for the baby inside of me.
Knowing this pregnancy rash would reappear for any future pregnancies, I knew I had to find a solution, so I did a lot of research and created a formula that could effectively calm itchy skin while being safe for my baby. That’s when our Original Serum was born. A serum that is safe for use on babies as well.
My boys are my motivation to start my own skincare brand. They both have severe eczema and there wasn’t a product with clean and natural ingredients at that time that could help with easing their skin irritation. The Baby Butter was created to help with their itchy and irritated skin.
I wanted to create a skincare line that could help moms simplify their decision in choosing effective and clean skincare for their whole family— for the partner, husband, baby, toddler, teenager and most of all for all the deserving moms.
Photo Credit: Mothermusemag
3. As a mama and an entrepreneur, juggling home and work life can be difficult. How has it been parenting in a pandemic? How do you balance between the two?
To be honest, I’ve been struggling this whole time with balancing between being a mom and an entrepreneur. I always feel if I’m completely present as a mom, my business is being neglected, and vice versa (when I’m doing well with my nursing ss, I’m neglecting my kids).
I’m blessed to have help from various family members, especially my mom who’s always so patient and gives up so much to help take care of her grandchildren. Without her, my business would not be growing.
Every day I try to do one thing for my self-care — whether it be grabbing a coffee, doing my 3-step skincare in peace, soaking a bath, going out for a short walk, getting a manicure or a foot massage— just something small that brings me joy. I also have a fun skincare ritual with my boys every night that includes a facial and foot massage with our serum and butter! They now have learnt to take care of their own skin by buttering up any time of the day when their skin is dry or itchy.
4. Do you experience ‘mom guilt’? What do you like to do to take care of yourself?
Always always always:/ but I always remind myself that the feeling of mom guilt means that I’m a good mom, a mom who cares and wants the best for my children.
(Also answered this question above!)
5. Would you please share with us your (breast)feeding journey.
My first baby loved to breastfeed from day one. As a first-time mom, I got my Medela double pump all ready to go (in case breastfeeding didn’t work out). And luckily, he latched well and I had an oversupply of milk to a point I had clogged ducts and mastitis. It was the most painful experience and my baby would be choking on the fast flow. I had to always use a milk saver and do lots of warm compress and warm baths to relieve clogged ducts. In hindsight, it was a blessing to have more than enough milk. We ended up storing a lot in the freezer until he stopped breastfeeding at 1 year and we slowly went through the stash of frozen breast milk.
For my second time around, it was a lot different. I had to always pump at the NICU as my baby couldn’t latch and was in a ventilator. We could only give him 0.5ml of breastmilk at a time through a syringe for him to taste and get used to it. I also had mastitis and had to use cabbage to help relieve my painful rock hard breasts. When my baby was closer to term, I started putting him on the breast and he did great latching. It was truly the sweetest moment. I just wanted to snuggle and feed him all the time since it’s so rare to have him in my arms when most of the time he’s in his NICU crib. And of course, by the time he was 40 weeks, my milk supply wasn’t keeping up with his demand and I didn’t flow fast enough for him. Eventually at 3 months (corrected age), he didn’t want breast and opt for the bottle so we fed him with formula.
6. If you could go back in time before you had kids and offer yourself advice about motherhood, what would you say?
Go with the flow. Nothing will go as planned- not the birth, labour or delivery. All experiences are unique so just relax and give yourself grace.
Embrace your new body. There’s so much pressure to “bounce back” in our society and instead of worrying about our loose skin and hanging belly, focus on resting and your diet during the fourth trimester. After going through the PUPPPs which felt like your whole body is burnt with so much heat from the rash, stretchmarks, scarring and loose skin to me weren’t something I was worried about.
Snuggle as much as you can with your baby. The skin-to-skin moments go by so very quickly and those special bonding with your child are the most precious and memorable moments.
7. What is your one mom must-have?
During pregnancy - a clean and natural moisturizer for my skin especially my growing belly.
Postpartum - a good nursing bra. Till this day (no more breastfeeding) I still use my bravado!
8. And finally, what is your favourite part of being a mama?
My favourite part of being a mom is seeing my boys experience and discover the world for the first time - their first time seeing an airplane, first time tasting an ice cream, first time dipping their feet in beach water. They notice the little things in life that we as adults take for granted. Living life through their eyes is one of the best parts of being a mom.
We want to thank Vivian for talking to us and taking the time to answer our questions on work life and motherhood. As a fellow NICU mama, I can relate to Vivian on so many levels. Her story on her breastfeeding just made me teary. Being a mom, we do our best to figure out what works for our children, and it's never easy. We all have a different story to tell, which is why we at Boons do what we do: highlight different stories from moms in our community. Motherhood is challenging but we do not have to do it alone. It is amazing what we can do when we all support one another. We loved hearing Vivian’s story and the inspiration behind Naetal Skincare, and look forward to seeing the brand grow!
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