San Diego Judoka Breastfeeds Toddler at California State Games

If you are following my personal profile on Facebook you know that I have been training Judo at the Heisei Judo Dojo in Chula Vista twice a week for more than a year! I have been making an effort recently to be more consistent with training since I am often out of town for the #NBFtour. Around this time last year, I bumped into this mama who came to class with her son pictured below. She mentioned that she was still nursing him. At the time her son was about 17 months old, only one month (to the date) younger than my son who was also still nursing. We chatted briefly about documenting breastfeeding in her gi at the dojo sometime, but “life happened” for both of us many times since then and we were unable to make it happen. We were, however, connected on social media. When my sensei mentioned to me that her son was starting to wean, I knew it was time to contact her to book a session. Last weekend she competed in the California State Games: “a multi-sport festival of Olympic-style competition for California’s amateur athletes of all ages and abilities.” This year the Judo Event took place at Southwestern College, in memory of Judoka Jesse Jones.


When I arrived to the event she had already competed! I was heart-broken, but I thought it would be best to keep a positive attitude and take advantage of the opportunity to capture a few Judo images while I was there. It was a great learning experience. I actually took some pretty great shots just because training in the sport myself helped me to be more precise when choosing to press the shutter. All of a sudden, they called her name to compete AGAIN! She was unprepared as she had already put her gi and belts into her car. I quickly (and happily) offered to hold her little guy and suggested that she run to the car to grab her competition uniform. And she did! It was so exciting to have been given another opportunity to document her story in this way.



Post-match talk with coach.


This is her breastfeeding story:

“I started Judo at Southwestern College where I studied for 3 semesters from Spring 2009 – Spring 2011. I joined Heisei Judo dojo the summer 2010 till current and San Shi judo dojo May 2016 – current. First, I gave birth to my daughter, Sydney, in August 2003. I chose to breastfeed to explore the natural way for my own experience of becoming a mother. It was unlike what I was used to seeing from my family of bottle-feeders. ? I also supplemented because I was doing this as a single parent, it was my first time, and it was overwhelming at times. So after 3 months of nursing I just stopped trying and Sydney didn’t mind. She took to a bottle with everyone who wanted to hold and feed her. Plus, the breast pumped looked like farm equipment to me! ? Then in 2014, I welcomed my son, Alexander into the world. He took to breastfeeding right away. He was like a pro! I suffered from a gunshot wound to my left breast in August 2012. I was very curious to see how well I recovered. Unfortunately, I could not pump milk out from the left breast and I was not sure if he was getting any milk from it either. I just relied on the right breast after months of pumping nothing from the left. Luckily, I had no problems with just nursing on the right side. He is 2.5 years old now and he is starting to self-wean. It’s mostly for comfort, an emergency snack, at night falling asleep, or when I am out and come home. We decided swimming lessons and attending Judo would be a good distraction to encourage him to get by without nursing. Things are working out well. It was so much easier not having to wash and make bottles. AJ is healthy and happy and we have a wonderful bond. It’s good to have experienced such a success.” -Jennifer Orey, Mom of 2


AJ, drinking water, as Jennifer is encouraging him to wean.



Jennifer Orey Awarded 2nd Place Silver Medal



11 minutes after drinking water, AJ asks to nurse.



Son still latched on, smiling and holding up Jennifer’s medal.



Jennifer with daughter, Sydney and son, AJ.


As a mom it is so important to stay active and keep our own health in mind. I have grown to love Judo with passion and look forward to competing in the near future. Hopefully, another photographer will be available to document my experience as well!

::  OSS  ::



Tour Dates/Locations 2016:

2/27 – Las Vegas, NV
4/10 – Washington, DC
6/4 – Oklahoma City, OK
7/23 – Chicago, IL
7/30 – New Orleans, LA
8/7 – Los Angeles, CA
8/20 – Philadelphia, PA
8/27 – Harlem, NY
9/10 – Evansville, IN
9/24 – Boise, ID
10/1 – Denver, CO 
10/22 – Charlotte, NC

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  1. My condolences to the family stay strong from my family to yours! Breastfeeding is BEAUTIFUL!

  2. Tears, hugs and prayers from Alabama!

  3. Shantal says:

    Everyday I am reminded just how small and close knit our online community is that when I see the headline I know who this is about without even getting to her name. My thoughts and condolences from up here in Canada.

  4. Erica Walton says:

    None of the links are working… I’d like to get in touch to help out…

    1. Erica, you can join the to contact Kristina Pulistar

  5. Kelsie says:

    My dearest Lizzy.
    I miss you so much my darling soul sister.
    I can see your beautiful smile shining down on all of us daily. In disbelief of what everyone is doing for baby brix.
    You my Liz, you gave so much to each relationship you had here on earth. It’s now our time to give to you. I love you babygirl. Rock In Peace ✌

  6. Rihanna says:

    Sweet story to see in my feedline but how did she donate her heart if she died from cardiac arrest?
    Does that make sense?
    Irregardless, breast feeding mommies rock!

    1. Jamie says:

      Cardiac arrest just means your heart stops. Didn’t mean there was anything wrong with it. Technically everyone dies of cardiac arrest, dying of cardiac arrest is a medical term for “I don’t know”. Probably neurological.

      1. loving lfe says:

        What does that matter Jamie….. she passed away. You truly missed the big picture here…… maybe you should read the story again.

        1. Rachel says:

          Jamie was simply responding to someone else. Maybe you should read the comments again :/

    2. Gaye says:

      Cardiac arrest is electrical and can happen without damaging the heart.

Any thoughts?