Archive for August 2015

These are a few of our favorite things

August 28, 2015

We've got a few new favorites around here to share with all of you.

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First up, we have finally found the most perfect kid blanket. Ever. Saranoni blankets are the softest, most cuddly blankets I have ever seen. Both kiddos are in LOVE and so am I. In fact, I'm tempted to steal Hudson's when he's not looking. Or I could just buy the adult size and call it a day. Seriously, these babies are soft.

 photo IMG_0434.jpgThese blankets would make great baby gifts! Sadie has the swaddle blanket size and Hudson has the toddler to teen size. They are so well made and so plush....we love them!

 photo IMG_0408_1.jpgI love that their names are embroidered on them too...such a sweet keepsake. I know my kids will love these blankets for a long time!

My two loves all snuggled up on the couch ready for a movie and popcorn date!

Up next...bows, bows, and more bows. I LOVE having a girl and I've quickly become obsessed with bows! Sadie doesn't have much hair so she technically needs a bow in her hair at all times....right? Lots of you on Instagram have been let me share a few of our favorites right now..... 

Sadie's gold bow headband and the pink one she is wearing in the top photo are from Sticky Bliss

And we love everything from Sadie Skye Boutique

And Ellia May Designs

And my final new favorite thing are these softest jammies ever. Plus they have a zipper....Sadie needs these in every color. And another cute headband from Little Elle Boutique. Obsessed.

Happy Friday!

Have a great weekend my friends! Linking up with these lovely ladies....

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife.


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The Breastfeeding Diaries: Renata from Leave it to Ren

August 26, 2015

Hi!  My name is Renata and I blog over at Leave it to Ren (Which will be getting a major rehaul soon, bare with me).  I am a full-time, breastfeeding, working, South Florida momma.  My husband and I met when we were nine years old, we started dating in 2004, were married in 2009, and welcomed our sweet Liv in July of 2014.  During my pregnancy I stumbled upon Julie's blog.  It just so happened that the very first post I read was about breastfeeding and I was hooked.  The Breastfeeding Diaries was like a breath of fresh air.  The women were honest, their words were raw, and their journey, unique to them and their child was beautiful.  From that moment on I knew that one day I would want to share my experience; I too wanted to be there to support, comfort, and hopefully provide some guidance to women during what I believe is the most vulnerable time in their lives.  

If I am being completely honest, I had a very naive (Emphasis on the naive) view of what breastfeeding would entail. I mean, how hard could it be?  You give birth, your milk comes in, you put the baby to the breast, and bada bing! bada boom!  Boy, oh boy, was I wrong.  Mastitis?  Clogged milk ducts?  Milk blisters? Clogs?  Sore nipples?  Lanolin cream?WHAT?!?!?  

Our breastfeeding journey began the moment I saw that plus sign appear on my pregnancy test.  My mother was unable to breastfeed me and none of my close friends had breastfed their children.  However, I was determined to breastfeed my unborn child.  I told myself that I would do whatever it took to make it work.  I began immersing myself in all things breastfeeding.  Every article, every blog, every pamphlet that I could get my hands on I would read.  It was like I was preparing for a final exam and I was ready to ace it.  

It is important to note that I like having control over all aspects of my life.  When I discovered I was pregnant I had unrealistic expectations of what the next 40 weeks would look like.  I had a plan.  I was NOT going to deter from that plan.  Then I went a week past my due date and had to be induced (Game changer my friends).  Having to be induced was a defining moment in my pregnancy and in my future role as a mother.  It was then that I realized that I had absolutely no control, none, zero.  So, I just let it go.  

My heart almost exploded when the doctor handed me my daughter.  She was so tiny, so precious, so beautiful, and she was mine.  Liv opened her eyes and in that moment time stood still.  We had skin-to-skin and immediately the nurse helped me to latch and nurse my baby.  It was so easy, so natural, I could do this with my eyes closed.  That Tuesday afternoon met all of my expectations.  I kept thinking to myself, "Wow, this is so easy, why was I so worried?"  Little did I know what was to come.

We left the hospital Thursday morning, which coincided with my milk coming in.  Breastfeeding during our stay at the hospital was easy.  The nurses checked our progress and they were happy, proud even.  They praised how well it was going.  Sure, my nipples were a little sore, but, that was to be expected, right?

Our first day at home was nothing like I had expected.  My milk had come in, my breasts were engorged, and the soreness in my nipples had gone from a 4 to a 9.  What was going on?  It was time to feed Liv and when I tried to get her to latch she just turned her head and cried.  Why wasn't it working?  Wasn't it supposed to be easy?  Where were the nurses to tell me I was doing it right?  I remember becoming anxious, "Was I going to starve my baby?"  So, I tried the left breast, and then the right breast, and then the left breast, and then the right breast once more.  Nothing.  Nothing.  Nothing.  Liv became frustrated and I started to cry.  What was going on?  I was feeling defeated and confused.  How had it all changed in such a short period of time.  My mother and husband assured me that it would be okay, and that whatever I decided to do, they would be there to support me.  All they wanted was a happy momma and a happy baby.

After what felt like hours of crying I gave in and fed Liv a few ounces of formula; she gobbled it up.  Our first night was just as expected, exhausting.  Liv was up almost every hour.  I would try putting her to the breast and after what felt like hours of frustration I would give her a few more ounces of formula.  The next morning was our first appointment with the pediatrician.  She immediately put me at ease.  Her calm nature made me feel relaxed and comfortable; it was as though we were long-time friends.  We discussed how the previous night had gone and how I desperately wanted to breastfeed.  She asked, "Would it be okay if you showed me what you are doing?"  And that made all the difference.  She helped me to latch Liv and assured me that I was doing just fine.  I can't explain it, however, she gave me the motivation to keep going.  Unlike the lactation consultant that I had seen at the hospital, our pediatrician made me feel like I could do this.  "Yes, it would be hard", she said, "But it isn't impossible".  

That Friday morning in the office of my daughter's pediatrician I knew that I could do it.  She went over with me in such detail everything that I could potentially experience and how to deal with it.  She gave me her cell phone number and told me that I could call her whenever I felt the need.  Don't get me wrong, it didn't make it easy, but she gave me the confidence that I could do it and she gave me the support.

The first few weeks were trying.  I was exhausted, my nipples were sore, and every-single-time Olivia would latch I cringed.  My nipples were warriors.  They had gone through unexpected battles.  But, with lanolin and coconut oil they made it through.  During this time I also discovered that I had an oversupply.  Olivia would feed one breast at a time and until my milk was regulated I remember waking up leaking, engorged, and in pain.  

One morning at four weeks postpartum I woke up in horrible pain.  My body ached, my head hurt, and I was burning up.  So, normally, I assumed I was coming down with something.  I mean, I was running on little to no sleep, of course my immune system was down.  Then I took one look at my left breast and knew there was something wrong.  There was a triangle like shaped redness and it was hard to the touch.  I immediately called my gynecologist.  Turns out, I had mastitis.  Yes, my oversupply caused a clogged duct which caused mastitis.  I was on antibiotics for ten days and on the fourth day I thought I had a relapse.  At five months postpartum I discovered another clogged milk duct, this time in my right breast.  After lots of massaging, warm compresses, and dangle feeding I was able to work out the clog myself.  But, I kept on breastfeeding.

When Olivia was 17 weeks I returned to work.  It was by far the hardest thing I had to do. The thought of not being with her left me all sorts of emotional.  Also, I was very overwhelmed by the breast pump.  I had pumped a few times before going back to work, however, the thought of pumping at work gave me anxiety.  A few weeks after I went back to work I discovered a milk blister on my right nipple.  That was completely unexpected.  Without thinking I popped it, man, was that not a good idea.  The next day when I pumped my milk was pink, there was blood.  Would I be able to feed this to Olivia?  What was wrong?  Would I get thrush?  I was able to feed Olivia the milk, there was nothing wrong, and I didn't get thrush.  I settled into a nice routine of pumping in the morning and in the afternoon at work.  And, pretty soon it became second nature.  Yes, it was hard.  Yes, I was tired but in my heart I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do.  I was happy, my daughter was happy, and that was what mattered.

Now at 13 months I nurse Olivia in the morning and before bed.  I dropped the first pump at work and will soon drop my second.  For some reason, dropping the second pumping session has been harder than I thought it would be.  Emotionally I am just not ready to let it go.  I intend on letting Olivia wean from the breast when she is ready.  To me nursing has become much more than just nourishment.  It is a moment when time stands still; a moment between just my daughter and me.  I am amazed at what a woman's body is able to do.  

Throughout all of my worries, my doubts, and my anxieties my husband always assured me that no matter what I chose to do, he would be there to back me up.  I am a believer that no matter how you choose to feed your child, be it breast or formula, all that matters is that you do it with love. I remember reading, "Don't give up on your hardest day", and during those times where I felt like I just couldn't do it anymore (middle of the night feedings, waking up to go to work, pumping at work) that phrase would pop into my head.  If I did decide to stop I didn't want it to be in a moment of despair.  So, I kept on going and going and going and going.

Breastfeeding was not at all like I imagined it to be.  However, with the passing of time it became easier.  Olivia and I worked like a well-oiled machine; completely and utterly in sync.  The one thing I did learn was that I would not have been successful had I tried to go at it alone.  So, here is what I recommend to all the mothers who would like to breastfeed:
  • Find a support group!  Be it an online forum (Dairy Queens, Working Dairy Queens and groups for mothers who exclusively pump are amazing), a group of friends, or an actual support group, seek like-minded women out.  It makes a world of difference to be able to talk to women who are going through the same things as you.
  • EAT!  Life with a newborn can be a blur of spit-up, dirty diapers, and zero sleep.  However, if you want to successfully nourish a little person, you can't forget about yourself.  My lactation consultant made it very clear, "Eat PROTEIN! PROTEIN! PROTEIN!"
  • Drink water!  Seriously, dehydration can cause a major decrease in supply.  I would leave glasses of water every where I went.  And, during those middle of the night sessions I would always make sure to drink at least a full cup of water.  Staying hydrated is especially important if you are going back to work.  I noticed that on the days that I skimped on the water my output was always a few ounces less.
  • Rest!  I know, this one seems ludicrous with a baby.  However, stress can dramatically affect your supply (Dramatically).  Do not be afraid to ask for help.  Those early days of breastfeeding felt like a marathon of "on the breast, off the breast, on the breast, off the breast, and repeat".  If someone offers to make you dinner so you can nap, take it, trust me.
  • Set small goals!  I always hoped that I would make it to a year.  However, I realized that much like my pregnancy, I had very little control of what would happen.  So, I made little goals for Liv and me.  At first I wanted to make it to one month, then three months, then six months, then nine months, and then a year.  It allowed me to take it a day at a time and to truly enjoy my experience.  I knew that at any time should I no longer be able to breastfeed, that I had done the very best I could.
  • Buy extra pump parts!  This is especially important if you plan on pumping once you go back to work.  I cannot even tell you the times I left my membranes at home. One time I even forgot to bring the bottles to pump in (Mommy brain at its finest).  If you have extra parts that you can leave at your desk, well, you don't have to worry about running to Target.
  • Show yourself mercy!  I am still working on this.  However, try to give yourself a break.  Bringing a child into the world is hard work.  It is okay if you complain a little, you aren't alone.  You are not the first nor the last woman to feel this way.  Be good to yourself, you are doing a great job.
  • And remember, no matter how long you breastfeed, a day, a week, a month, you are a great mother and you are doing the best you can.  
My life was drastically changed that Tuesday afternoon in July.  It no longer became just about me.  And, now that I am coming out of the sleepless fog, I know that I have done everything in my power to provide my daughter with what I believed was best for her and me.  Our experience is unique and our own.  I hope that in a small way I have given you hope that even during the darkest of times, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  And whatever you decide, it is  okay, your baby will love you the same.


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The 20 Question Game

August 24, 2015

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It's been a while since I've done a get to know you post so when I saw this 20 question game on Meet the Sullivans I thought it would be a fun! 

1. Favorite food:
Hmmm...this is a tough one! Growing up it was probably Italian...but after having kids my tastes changed...I'm totally a cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake girl now! Thank goodness we don't have In N' Out in Michigan because I would be in major trouble. We do have Five Guys...and it's almost comical how many times I tell my husband that's what I want for dinner. Luckily he's looking out for my better interests and usually tells me no! The list of food I don't like is way longer than the list of things I do like!

2. Flip flops or high heels:
Flip flops all the way. I'm kind of a klutz, so heels are not my friend. Although I can rock a cute wedge. 

3. Favorite places to shop for yourself:
Pretty much all of my clothes come from Nordstrom, Gap, Old Navy, and of course everybody's favorite: Target.

4. Standard Coffee order:
I don't drink coffee! I think it's kind of gross. I know what you're thinking...a mom blogger who doesn't like coffee??? Shocker. If you make me go to Starbucks I will buy some kind of yummy iced tea. Or hot chocolate. 

5. Road trip must have snack:
Gummy bears, string cheese, pretzels, and a huge water bottle. I drink water like it's my JOB, so water is a must-have!

6. DIY or hire it out?
Kind of 50/50 on this one. My mom is the best DIYer ever and is always up for a we do a lot of stuff with her. But major things we hire out for sure. 

7. Top 5 TV shows:
Right now I'm basically only watching Big Brother, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Fixer Upper, Bachelor in Paradise/The Bachelor (only because of Pinterest Told Me To's recaps...I look forward to reading them more than I do actually watching the show!). And I'm embarrassed to admit this, but my mom got me hooked on Don't Be Tardy. Once it's fall my favorites are: Nashville, How to Get Away with Murder, The Middle, Pretty Little Liars, and I just can't quit Grey's Anatomy. 

8. Favorite Book: 
I'm stealing Colleen's answer....The Help.

9. Favorite Form of Exercising:
What exercising? I need to get back in to a groove...but my favorite thing is walking. I could walk all day. 

10. How tall are you?

11. Do you try something new at restaurants or stick to your favorites?
I'm a creature of habit and stick to my favorites. 

12. One make up item you can't live without:

13. What's on your nightstand?
A framed picture from our wedding, alarm clock, chap stick, journal, water bottle, and baby monitor.

14. What's one thing motherhood has taught you?
Only one thing? That's tough. I guess if I could just pick one thing it would be that time is precious. Babies grow so blink and they are a toddler demanding popcorn for breakfast. I say this all the time but it's true that the days are long but the years are short.

15. Music that reminds you of high school:
Anything Backstreet Boys or N'Sync. Or Celine Dion! And the theme song to Dawson's Creek.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world besides your current city where would you live?
I think I would love living in Vail Colorado....or Seattle Washington. Obviously, I'm not a beach girl, ha!

17. Tell us something about you we might not know:
I'm terrified of E.T. My husband knows this and likes to use it to torture me. I will quickly hide my face if I see him on TV.  Another thing that scares me is the old school version of Planet of the Apes. I'll probably have a nightmare tonight just thinking about it!

18. Websites you read/browse (besides blogs):
Besides blogs? I basically only have time for blogs these days! Oh, and Facebook. I don't even bother with Pinterest anymore because it's too overwhelming.

19. Morning person or Night owl?
Morning person for sure! My husband and I are opposites on this. I am way more productive in the morning...and I've never been one to stay up late. 

20. Favorite Breakfast meal:
I used to hate breakfast food...and now it's my favorite! In fact, maybe I should change my answer to question #1. A local join makes this amazing egg scramble with potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onion, mushroom, and bacon. It's the best. 

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Sadie Mae: 2 Months

August 20, 2015

How is my baby already two months old? It's going even faster this time around. And technically she's already 2 and a half months....oops. #secondchild

Sadie is such a joy. She only cries if she is overly tired or hungry...or is DONE with being in her carseat. Girlfriend is on the go with me pretty much every day either running errands or keeping big brother entertained....and she handles it like a champ. But when she's done, she's DONE. 

She's also a great sleeper. I didn't want to tell anyone about it but for about two weeks now she's been sleeping in 10 hour stretches. Proving that some kids are just better sleepers than others. I remember praying that Hudson would sleep a three hour girlfriend is rocking it in the sleep department! But no matter what I do, I can't get her down before 9pm. She just will not have anything to do with an early bedtime. And she's not really in to napping either. You win some, you loose some. (of course, since I'm writing this 2 weeks late, Sadie's sleep habits have changed....jinxed myself for sure.)

I haven't weighed her, but my guess is that she is at least 12 pounds. Sadie loves milk! Still 100% breastmilk for this girl. At two months old she wears size 1 diapers and size 0-3 month pjs and clothes...but those pjs won't last much longer!

I can't help but love holding my sweet girl. If I didn't have a toddler + a house to run + a job to do I would be holding her pretty much all day...and often do just that! She is the perfect addition to our family and she makes me want to have more just like her!

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The Breastfeeding Diaries: Jamie from Life with Lily

August 19, 2015

I want to thank Julie so much for having me guest posting today. I just recently stumbled upon her blog and dove right in! I just love her sweet family and reading all the breastfeeding diaries so much. It's so wonderful to have REAL moms write about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Here is my story-

Hi Everybody! My name is Jamie! My husband, Ty,  and I were married in 2012 after dating for 9 years. On September 27, 2014  our sweet baby girl, Lily Harper, was born 6 lbs 4ounces and our lives were forever changed.  We live in a small town right outside Memphis, TN, where we call home. I am a new stay at home mama and I started this blog as a way to document our "Life With Lily". If you would like to read about her first year start here. I've really fallen in love with this mommy blogger community. Hopefully my story can help new moms maybe avoid some mistakes I made. I truly believe that every mom and baby are unique, and so is their breastfeeding journey. If breastfeeding is something you want to try, know that most problems in the beginning can be fixed with help, patience, and hard work. Breastfeeding is not easy for everyone and, in the beginning, it definitely wasn't for me. I'm going to try and make a long story short so if anyone would like to know more details or have questions please feel free to email me. I am an open book :)

I always knew breastfeeding was something I had pictured doing for at least the first year,  if I were able to. I went to the breastfeeding class thinking the whole time I've totally got this, put baby on the boob and lets go! I mean how hard could it possibly be?? Sure your nipples get sore the first week, but I had registered for all these amazing creams, nipple pads and soothies other moms talked about, so I was prepared for the pain. I had pictured this beautiful, easy, amazing bonding time with my baby and blah blah blah. When in reality it was more like the opening scene from Jaws….

Ohhhhhhh If I knew then what I know now…..

 When I delivered Lily we did skin to skin, and I immediately started trying to nurse her. She was so tiny and I had some big jugs, so I was needing help and reassurance to make sure she was latched properly. I had NO idea what this looked or felt like. My hubby was paying attention so he could help us too. She would latch on beautifully at the hospital and all the nurses reassured me things were fine. We were able to go home after just 24hrs. My milk came in on the 3rd day and around that time is when it went from sore to unbearably painful. Now looking back I know how it happened. She would latch on great then slide down my nipple (picture slurping up a spaghetti noodle for 45mins 8-9 times a day). It wasn't either of our faults, I just didn't know I needed to support her head and make sure her mouth was open wide enough to prevent that from happening. I was in so much pain and literally cringed at the thought of nursing her. I knew we needed help. I had to wait 5 days to see a lactation consultant because she was only in the office on Fridays. She told me I had trauma  to my nipples (open wounds and bleeding) and to stop nursing immediately. (FYI lanolin cream is not for open wounds she prescribed all purpose nipple ointment)  Instead, I needed to give her a bottle of my pumped milk and continue pumping every 2 hours to keep my supply up. Part of me was so relieved I didn't have to go through the pain, and the other part was afraid I might not be able to nurse her again since I had read so much about nipple confusion.

After a few weeks I decided I had healed enough to try and work with her at the breast. Honestly, I was so afraid to nurse her, I just didn't trust myself to know what looked right. Yeah that's right I was scared of a 6 lb 4 oz baby coming at me. Ahhhhh,  so I would call for my husband to help get her latched properly. Well, I started having this terrible burning sensation this time and it felt like my boob was on fire! Yeah FIRE!! Even after she nursed it was STILL burning. It was a different feeling than the painful bad latch. So back to the LC we went. I was in total shock when she told me I had thrush/yeast infection in both breasts. Wait. What?? I didn't even know that was possible. It just felt like I couldn't catch a break. How did this even happen?? So I kept on pumping. By this point she had been on the bottle so long I thought there was no way she would be able to nurse, or even want to.

I was on an emotional roller coaster from hell. When my husband was home from work, Lily's favorite place to sleep was on his chest. I was so happy that he was getting to feed her and all the skin to skin time afterwards. At the same time I found myself so jealous of them.  I was crying over the fact it was so painful to even have a shirt on or even move certain ways. This made it very difficult to have that same time with Lily. What was I gonna do put her on my leg?!  Skin to skin leg time?? Weird. I just felt broken. How did I let this happen in the beginning? I was a slave to the pump, yet that was the only reason Lily was getting my milk. I couldn't hate it, right? I wouldn't say it was the "Baby Blues" more like the "Boobie Blues". I couldn't leave the house for very long because it was such a process. What if Lily got hungry while we were out? If someone was keeping her I had to be back in 2 hours to pump or my boobs would explode. I had all these anxieties about how much milk I was making. I was always wanting to get ahead of her feedings. I kept telling myself to get it together, at least I was making milk. Lily was gaining weight, thriving and happy. I was just being selfish wanting everything to be how I had imagined. I mean, can we say HORMONES!

Motherhood will make you do crazy things. I was bound and determined to make this whole thing work. So we saw the LC about once a week to do a weight check for Lily, check on my healing process, and work on her latch. She would latch on perfect and nurse like a champ with her help! I knew she could do it and it was just my insecurities. So she told me to take it one day at a time and work with her latching maybe once a day, then as we got better at it drop the pumping sessions. When we got home and would try, I was scared to death. I wanted to do it correctly, or we would be right back where we started.  At first I would only try when my husband was home. He would help get her latched and give me reassurance on how it looked.

Eventually, around three months it finally got easier, there was no pain, no need for a special pillow, or my husband watching over me. I feel like each stage has its challenges. At times we battled a fast let down where I literally felt like I was water boarding her. I think this was created by all the pumping I was doing, but my milk was eventually regulated to her needs. I also had my fair share of clogged milk ducts, milk blisters and a little supply issue when she started solid foods at 6 months.

All that said, I would do it all over again in a heart beat. To me my baby was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. Breastfeeding is one of the hardest, but most rewarding things I've ever done. I'm so proud of us for sticking it out when it could have been so easy to quit. She has been worth every sacrifice I've made. I couldn't have gotten this far without my dreaded pump and the amazing support system from my husband and family, especially my mom. Currently, Lily is almost 11 months, no longer takes a bottle (her choice), drinks water from a straw cup, eats finger foods, and we still nurse about 5 times a day. It is crazy to me now how easy and convenient it is.

 I cherish our sweet time together and know that it won't last forever. I love the special bond with Lily, but I now believe we would have had this bond no matter what. From the perspective of bottle feeding early on and then breastfeeding, there is no comparison to me. When nursing, breast milk is always ready, always the right temp, and there is no prep or cleaning up. Did I mention free? We both truly enjoy it now. Also, the health benefits that we have both gained are priceless. I do plan on weaning her after she turns one. I will slowly drop feedings one at a time. I can't imagine chasing after her trying to shove my boob in her mouth. She is such a busy body now a days I don't think it will be an issue.

Tips for new moms

Get help EARLY! Most problems can be fixed.

Just breathe you're learning. Your baby is learning. Think of the first few weeks as nursing vacation and enjoy each other.

Remember you are the mom, the boss! Don't let baby slide down the nipples. Ekkkk

I was so sick of hearing it gets easier! But I promise it does.

When we were practicing her latching on I would watch this video over and over and it was very helpful.

Go ahead and ask your OB if you can get all purpose nipple ointment to have in your arsenal

Drink water!! Water, Water, WATER! Breast milk is made up of mostly water! So drink up! Even if you hate water just flavor it and suck it up. As a bonus it will help flush out toxins and lose that after baby water weight.

Eat! You can't make milk with out fueling your body. If you don't have an amazing husband and mother to cook for you in the beginning, then use your 3rd trimester to freeze meals to warm up at 3am. (wish I had done this, Lord knows I pinned enough recipes)

Nursing pillow"My Brest Friend" was life changing for us

Seek out support groups in your town, most are free. Visiting while you're pregnant is a great idea.

Don't worry about what other people think. At the end of the day, the important thing is that your baby is FED, healthy, and thriving. Doesn't matter if its breast milk from a bottle, formula, or breastfeeding straight from the source. It's ALSO nice for mom to be happy too :)

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar. 

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