Breastfeeding Continued

Nursing Aversion and Self-Weaning

15194530_700964844452_1314285736540861484_oFor me nursing was an amazing experience. If you read my previous posts about nursing, you know how truly special it is for me. Since I started nursing Maddox more than three ears ago, I have had only a few months between Maddox and Marlow when I was not nursing.  Even so, I have experienced something that many others have as well, and I wanted to tell you about it so that you know it doesn’t have to spoil it for you.

While Maddox was still nursing full time, I experienced nursing aversion. This term describes a period or phase when nursing can seem really annoying. For me, it was an overwhelming feeling of not wanting to be touched at all. By anyone! When it was time to nurse I felt instantly annoyed (for absolutely no reason) and had this feeling like my skin was crawling. It was a terrible feeling! For me, it only lasted for a few weeks off and on. It wasn’t ever time I nursed. It was maybe every 3rd or 4th nursing session. It was extremely frustrating for me.

I knew I didn’t want that to be my last experience with nursing because up until then it had been such an amazing bonding experience. I knew this phase would pass and it did. So whenever I felt those feelings coming on, I would do everything I could to distract myself. I would watch TV, play on my phone, read a book, whatever made me feel better. I would constantly tell myself that the feeling would pass, that it had nothing to do with Maddox, and that I had to think about something else. If I was feeling extremely overwhelmed, I would take a minute to myself. I would give Maddox to Josh and take a bath or go for a quick shopping trip because shopping helps everything, right? I don’t know how many other people have gone through this or if this is how their experience was, but this is how it was for me. And happily it did not last long.

I nursed Maddox until he was about 2 1/2. When he was almost 2, he stopped nursing during the day and only nursed to fall asleep at nap or bed time. Then a few months after that it was only at night. Then slowly he stopped completely. I knew I wanted to let him stop when he was ready. I didn’t want it be something that was taken away or that he missed. For many reasons, but mainly because I was pregnant with Marlow and knew he’d soon be seeing me nurse her, I didn’t want there to be any jealously associated with it. I was fully prepared to tandem nurse if he wasn’t ready to stop, but to be completely honest, I didn’t really want to. But I would have.

Maddox ended up basically weening himself.  I made a conscience decision to never say “No” because I think then they want it more. Maddox had always nursed to sleep so changing that habit had to happen slowly. However, I did do a few things to “encourage him.” We started distracting him around bedtime. We tried to tire him out by letting him stay up later, or by being super active, carrying him in his carrier (he often fell asleep baby wearing), or driving in the car so he would fall asleep without nursing. After a few weeks of distracting him at bedtime he stopped asking completely and would just snuggle right up to me to fall asleep. There were a handful of times at the very end he did ask (he called it going “night night”) and I would say “ok, in just a minute.” Or “please snuggle with me first.” And he would fall asleep.

In the end, I’m glad we let him do it himself with encouragement. I never had an issue with him once I started nursing Marlow. And I have not experienced any aversion with Marlow either.  Nursing can be such a great experience! If you are going through similar issues I urge you to work your way through them and know that in the end, it can be well worth it.

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Britax B-Ready Stroller

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When I was pregnant with my first, Maddox, we started asking everyone we knew with kids what brand they recommended for car seats. After dozens of recommendations and tons of research we decided to go with Britax. We originally bought their travel system which came with the B-Safe infant seat and B-Agile stroller. This set was absolutely perfect for us at the time. We continued to use this set when Marlow was born but quickly realized we need a double stroller as well.

I knew I did not want one of those side-by-side double strollers because I felt like they were too big to actually take to the places we often went. And I knew I wanted one that could convert between two seats and one seat, depending on what i needed.

The Britax B-Ready was perfect! Had I known what I know now I probably would have just started with the B-ready stroller. However, at the time we only had one kid so I wasn’t even looking at double stroller options. Why do I love the Britax B-Ready? Here’s my top reasons:

1. Seating options: It has 12 different seating options that includes multiple seats, a bassinet, or infant car seat. I also got the stroller board attachment for even more options! (See 5. below) Below are pictures of the 4 ways we currently use the stroller. And then below that is a diagram of all the 12 different seating options.

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B-Ready 3.13.17

2. Top seat: Not only is it my favorite double stroller but also my new favorite single stroller as well. One of my favorite features is the reversible top seat that allows Marlow ride facing forwards or backwards. The seat has a 4 position recline. Marlow prefers to sit up but often falls asleep in the stroller and once she’s asleep I can easily lay her back for a long nap. The fact that it reclines so smoothly, so she doesn’t wake up, is a huge plus for me!

3. Easily converts between a single or double stroller. It’s extremely easy to put on and remove the bottom second seat attachment.

4. Adjustable handle bar: I’m only 5’1″ and Josh is 6″. By pushing the buttons on each side of the handle bar I easily adjust the height depending who is pushing!

5. Stroller board attachment: I got the standing stroller board and the double seat attachment. Depending on where we’re going I knew there were times that Maddox would not want to necessarily sit in a seat and the stroller board attachment is perfect because he can easily hop on and off as he pleases.

6. Size: For a double stroller this stroller is extremely lightweight. I can easily lift it in and out of my car on my own (usually while holding Marlow). I have a Honda CR-V and it fits nicely in the trunk with room to spare. I would a take picture to show you but that would mean I’d have to clean out my trunk 😂. You just pull two levers on the side of the handle and it easily folds in half to compact size.

7. Super Cute: If I’m completely honest I love how sleek it looks.
My only regret is that I didn’t get this stroller sooner to use with the car seat or bassinet attachment.

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I apologize in advance for my terrible video skills! I felt like some of the things I was describing need to seen, rather than read.

Some products provided by Britax but all comments and opinions are my own.

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Baby Shoes

When Maddox was a baby I had no idea how important baby shoes were, more specicifically, good fitting flexible shoes that support them learning to walk. We went out and bought Josh’s favorite shoes, baby versions of adult athletic shoes. We had no idea that the fact that the soles were so clunky and nonflexible was a bad thing. But first kids are the tester babies, right?! Kidding. Anyway, with Marlow I knew from the start I wanted to find shoes that would encourage her learning to walk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed recommendations  to help you find shoes that are helpful and not harmful as your baby learns to walk. The AAP gives three specific tips to follow when shopping for your baby’s first pair of shoes:

  1. Shoes should be lightweight and flexible to support natural foot movement.
  2. Shoes should be made of leather or mesh to allow your baby’s feet to breathe comfortably.
  3. Shoes should have rubber soles for traction to prevent slipping or sliding.

So I did some research and I found a few brands that I liked, but Livie and Luca really stood out. Not only do their shoes fit all the guidelines above, the quality of the shoes is amazing, and I found so many that were super cute.

Livie and Luca’s baby shoes were the prefect “first” shoe! They are incredibly soft and flexible! Since Marlow had never worn shoes up until that time,  I wasn’t sure if she was going to find these uncomfortable or not. The second I put them on her feet, she took off around the living room as though she wasn’t even wearing them. Marlow has very wide, chunky feet and so far these fit perfectly! They have a really wide base with lots of toe room and they are so easy to put on! They are also really light weight (totally unlike the first pair we put on Maddox)!  And most importantly, they are SUPER cute!

Go check out their adorable shoes and use the code: KIRAMARIE to get 15% off your order!

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Baby Led Weaning

IMG_6807 When Maddox was young and it was time to introduce him to solid food, we started him on purées. I made all of his food and we introduced one new food at a time. Maddox loved baby food. I couldn’t shovel it in fast enough for him. However, Marlow was a different story. I started the same way and made her purees. She would take maybe a bite or two and that was it. I quickly realized I was wasting a ton of food. Then Marlow went on an antibiotic that was really hard on her stomach and hard to get her to take so I had to hide it in her food. That’s when her eating habits really changed. She went from eating a bite or two to complete refusal to eat anything I tried to give her. She would eat things that she could feed herself but didn’t trust me at all anymore. She was sure I was hiding medicine and about to force feed her 😂. That’s when I decided to try baby led weaning.

“Baby-led weaning allows babies to control their solid food consumption by ‘self-feeding’ from the very beginning of their experiences with food. The term weaning should not be taken to imply giving up formula or breastmilk, but simply the introduction of foods other than formula or breastmilk.”

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I started to give Marlow small bites of food she could pick up. We started with small pieces of soft fruits and cooked veggies. However, because she is only 9 months old, feeding herself purées did not come easily to her. So I did some research. I needed something that would allow Marlow to feed herself. I tried with the baby spoons I already had from Maddox, but by the time she got the spoon to her mouth the food had all fallen off and then she was mad.

A quick google search for “baby spoon self feeding” helped me to find NumNum! I bought their pre-spoons on Amazon but you can see the link to their website and read more here. I can’t say enough about these pre-spoons! The spoon has a textured, dimpled surface that helps grab the food so it doesn’t fall off while its on the way to the mouth, and it’s completely flat so there’s no “right” way to hold it and no upside down. What I really love is that they are “designed to introduce the concept of utensils to kids eager to learn, reduce frustration and encourage independence.”

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While I was ordering the spoons, I saw that NumNum also makes a beginner bowl. The inside of the bowl is small and sloped so the spoon can easily find the food. The base is broad with a no-slip grip, making it hard to tip over. Once the bowl and pre-spoons arrived, I was able to give her yogurts and purées that she can feed herself. Just an example of some of the things I give her either in puree form or cooked/cut up into tiny pieces:

Fruits: Bananas, pears, strawberries, blueberries, melons, pineapple. Veggies: avocado, sweet potato, pickles (she LOVES them but doesn’t chew them so I cut them extremely small), butternut squash, asparagus, peas, carrots, zucchini. Others: Yogurt (specific for babies), hummus, cheerios.

Marlow is loving feeding herself. With her NumNum pre-spoon and bowl for the soft foods and her fingers for the small pieces she can pick up, she is willing to try almost anything I give her. Of course, I am introducing foods one at a time to watch for allergies or reactions, but I could not be more pleased with our progress. This weaning process is not just baby-led; it is baby-loved.

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Becoming a Stay at Home Mom

FullSizeRenderI never thought (or if I’m honest, even desired) to be a stay at home mom.

Growing up I always thought of myself as a an independent, take-charge, feminist, ready to stand up to any man and take on any challenge! I wanted to break glass ceilings and shatter stereotypes. All the women in my family worked full-time outside the home, and as far as I knew, they always had. (I didn’t realize at the time they had almost all stayed home when their kids were little.) So I just assumed that I would have a full-time job as well. Even when I got pregnant with my son, Maddox, I fully planned to return to teaching after a short maternity leave.

Josh brought up the idea of me staying home, but I quickly shot it down. I considered us a non-traditional couple who shared roles and split everything. I hung pictures, he did laundry, I built things, and he cleaned WAY better than I did.

To be completely honest, I had a terrible perception of being a stay at home mom. I thought of SAHMs as some 1950’s stereotype woman who’s only aspiration was to be a stay at home wife and mother. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it wasn’t what I had envisioned for myself. I was a “career women.”

Then when Maddox was 4 months old, as I was preparing to return to work, it all hit me at once and I called my mom bawling! I realized I had completely changed my mind about everything! I couldn’t imagine leaving him for an hour, never less a full day! It was then I knew I wanted/needed to be a stay at home mom. It took another year with Maddox in day care before I was able to make it happen, but I am beyond greatful that I have the ability to stay home now!

It took me a while to admit I wanted to stay home and even longer for me to tell others. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I did. I feel extremely lucky that Josh’s job makes it possible for me to stay at home for now.  I plan to return to work when they are older, but for now, being a stay at home mom is exactly the right thing for me and for my family. I know moms who work outside the home, moms who work inside the home, and moms who stay home with their kids. I feel so lucky to be able to stay home and there’s no place I’d rather be. I never thought I would be a stay at home mom, but now that I am, I can’t imagine doing anything else!

Did anyone else have weird feelings about staying home? Like it wasn’t “good enough” in some way? I’d love to hear how other SAHM felt about their decision to stay home.

 

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Whiter Teeth: Smile Brilliant

Beauty products are not usually on my list of things to share, and to be honest this is a little embarrassing. But before I get started I wanted to say be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post to win a FREE  whitening kit!

I have terrible teeth! Fillings, root canals, stains, sensitivity, you name it! I am also a huge coffee drinker. I love my coffee, but I don’t love what it does to my teeth. For years I’ve been really unhappy with the way that my teeth looked. They were stained and yellow! I’ve tried whitening toothpaste as well as white strips, but I didn’t see a difference at all, and the pain I experienced was not worth it. So when I started seeing all these reviews from people loving Smile Brilliant, I was very skeptical. But after reading so many great things, I decided to give it a try!

I chose their T-9 Sensitive system that came with custom fitted trays, teeth whitening gel and desensitizing gel. One of the things I really loved was that they create custom trays for your teeth. You create your dental kit impressions at home, mail it to their lab, and they send you back your custom trays. Super easy! My other favorite thing was that my kit came with desensitizing gel. My teeth are very sensitive (just drinking cold drinks sometimes hurts) so the desensitizing gel was a huge bonus for me.

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I started out very slowly, only whitening for 30 minutes at a time. I wanted to be sure that my teeth would not be in pain like they had been with previous whitening products. After I realized I wasn’t in any pain, I started increasing each treatment to 45 minutes to an hour. I could absolutely tell a difference after three whitening treatments! So far, I have used the system ten times, and I see a significant difference. My teeth are normally very sensitive, but so far I’ve only needed the desensitizing gel once, and it worked great. It immediately eliminated the sensitivity I was having, which was still very mild compared to my past experience whitening.

So here’s where I share my before and after photos…. If it weren’t for how happy I was with the results, I wouldn’t be sharing this because it’s pretty embarrassing. My teeth looked TERRIBLE! Now not only are my teeth whiter, but I am amazed with how well it worked on removing the stains. I can honestly say this was the gentlist teeth whitening product I’ve used. The one time that they did feel sensitive, the desensitizing gel took care of it right away. I would HIGHLY recommend Smile Brilliant to others who are struggling with sensitive, stained teeth.

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Real, unedited photos

Amazing results, right?CLICK HERE to enter to win a FREE whitening kit! Just submit your name and email a winner will be chosen in two weeks! Good luck!


At Home Teeth Whitening Kit

 

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One Big Happy Wonderland!

My family has always loved Christmas! A time to give, love and celebrate family. One of my favorite Christmas memories, although it drove me crazy at the time, was from Christmas morning when my mom would make the entire family wait on the stairs while she took a family photo before we could go down and start opening presents. As a kid, I swore it took her 3 1/2 hours to take the picture! It was like she was torturing us! Haha! But the waiting and anticipation somehow made the present opening even more exciting!
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A few years ago my mom started a new tradition of matching family pajamas! At the time, once again, I thought she was crazy. Then, when I had my own kids, I totally understood and I’ve carried on the tradition with my own family. Every year we pick a new set of fun holiday pajamas. Even though Josh whines every year, I KNOW he secretly loves his pajamas! This year I let Maddox help me pick our matching pajamas and he chose these adorable holiday bear pjs from Gymboree! For 10 days, from December 1 – December 10, across stores nationwide, Gymboree is helping customers add wonder to the season by gifting them with a holiday memory in the making. When customers visit the store, they’ll give them a scratcher at checkout. The scratcher might inspire family game night with a Mattel Prize Pack of Uno, Apples to Apples and Pictionary plus $50 to for Gymmies to outfit the evening! Or perhaps, a gift basket of Mrs. Fields Cookies – sweet treats for Santa! Or, a mid-holiday shopping trip treat with a Free Auntie Anne’s Classic Pretzel. Two lucky customers will be treated to their next holiday vacation, with a Club Med all-inclusive family vacation. Every scratcher will reveal a special surprise, One Big Happy Wonderland!
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What are some of your favorite or most memorable family traditions? Every year we add new ones. Be sure to visit a Gymboree store near you (between 12/1/16 – 12/10/16) to outfit your favorite holiday moments and pick up a scratcher for a chance to add more wonder to the season!
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Nursing in Public

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If you are nursing your baby, what do you do when you are out and about?  Do you try to find somewhere private? Do you use a cover? Or do you just nurse and not worry about it?  I do a mix of all three.

With Maddox, more often than not, I went somewhere private to nurse him. I completely support a woman’s right to nurse her baby anywhere! However, as a first time mom, I wasn’t as comfortable nursing in public all the time. There were many times I nursed Maddox in the bathroom. And I have to admit I hated it. I felt so isolated, left out, and dirty (public bathrooms are so gross)! Trying to nurse a new baby while not touching anything is incredibly hard! When Marlow was born I was tired of going to the bathroom to nurse. While I have done it on rare occasions, I decided I was tired of leaving dinner, missing conversations and searching for nursing room while shopping.

I have a love hate relationship with nursing covers. Maddox absolutely hated having his head covered, so nursing covers were rarely an option. I spent more time fighting to keep the cover on him and I usually ended up exposing my boobs a lot more than if I’d left the cover off completely. Marlow doesn’t mind the cover as much but since it’s summer I get so hot I rarely want to use it myself!

With Marlow, I have mastered the art of nursing in public. Feeding your baby is the most important thing. You shouldn’t have to worry about how much of your boob is exposed. Let’s face it, the baby’s head covers most of it and you are really showing less boob than most low cut shirts. It really shouldn’t matter at all, but I do prefer (for myself) to nurse discreetly. I find I’m completely able to do this if I wear a nursing tank top and another shirt layered over. The tank top provides access and the shirt provides enough cover to keep me discreet. With this method I’m able to easily nurse anywhere and have virtually nothing exposed.

I also seek locations that make it easier.  For example, in a restaurant I find I can sit in a booth, turn slightly toward the wall, and be totally comfortable. One more consideration for me is who else is present. Depending who I am with can sometimes dictate how I nurse (covered, uncovered, or in a different location).  I’m not trying to make a statement. I’m not “looking for attention” while nursing. And I’m not trying to tell other mothers how to nurse in public. I’m just feeding my baby. I do what feels most comfortable for me at the time, and I encourage  other mothers to do what feels most comfortable for you and your baby!

*Photo above features my go-to Bravado nursing cami.*

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Post Baby Body

Marlow is almost 4 months old! I can’t believe how fast it has gone by! I’ve had a few new moms ask about weight loss after baby and I wanted to do a quick post. To be honest I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost. When I came home from the hospital I jumped on the scale and discovered the batteries had died. So I decided I wouldn’t replace them and I would just go by how my clothes fit.

The main reason I don’t stress about weight loss is because I’m nursing. I know the weight will eventually come off and I don’t want to restrict any food and risk my supply going down. So instead I buy a comfy pair of jeans, a few nursing tank tops (usually black, white and nude), and tops to layer over my tank top. Side note- I find wearing a nursing tank top with a shirt over it is the easiest way to nurse when we are out and about. I can discreetly and easily nurse whenever I need. I like nursing tanks that are soft but supportive (so I don’t need to wear a bra). After Maddox, it took me almost a year to fit back into my pre baby clothes. Full disclosure- If I don’t leave the house I stay in yoga pants and a nursing tank top ALL DAY! 😉 When I’m feeling fancy I throw on a little make-up… Nope… That was a lie… I throw on big sunglasses so no one can tell.

So I basically bought a few set staples:
– Dark blue jeans
– Black jeans
– Black yoga pants (these high waist ones from Target are awesome)
– Nursing tank tops (From Bravado)
– A lose fitting, soft t-shirt
– A long cardigan (to hide fun new post baby belly and long enough to cover my thighs because they got HUGE.
Here’s an example of what I normally wear day to day.

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Attachment Parenting

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I’ve had many people ask me about my parenting style, mainly my attachment parenting. I’ve tried to write a post about it many times and each time I’ve stopped and started over. There are so many different parenting styles, and we each have to do what works best for us, for each baby, and for our family. Keep in mind that I am currently able to be a stay-at-home mom, and your circumstance may be very different. I’m hoping to convey my feelings without sounding prejudiced against those who parent differently.

What works best for my family falls in line with attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is defined as: a parenting philosophy that proposes methods which aim to promote the attachment of mother and infant not only by maximal maternal empathy and responsiveness but also by continuous bodily closeness and touch.

To me this means skin-to-skin contact as much as possible (especially in the early days), baby wearing, breastfeeding, responding to all my babies cries, co-sleeping, and gentle parenting. Some of these are self explanatory but I wanted to talk about how I respond to their cries. I’ve always thought of crying as the only way babies can communicate their needs and wants. I believe whole heartedly that babies cry for a reason. I’ve never thought of their crying as manipulative or deceptive. It’s their only way to tell you what they need, whether it be hunger, dirty diaper, pain or just needing comfort. I also felt that by ignoring their cries, I would be telling them their voice doesn’t matter. That their one way of telling me what they need doesn’t work.

For this reason, we’ve never considered using the Cry it Out method or sleep training. It’s important to add that neither of my babies have had any medical concerns such as colic that would cause excessive crying.

So when Maddox or Marlow cry, Josh and I comfort them. Sometimes that means picking them up, talking to them, singing, moving to a new environment, distracting with toys, but mainly just keeping them close so we can respond quickly. For example, here’s what we would do when Maddox or Marlow would wake up crying. When they were tiny babies, we always picked them up immediately and softly talked to them to comfort them (i.e. “It’s ok. Shh. I’m here”). As they got older (maybe 4-6months), we didn’t pick them immediately. We cuddle next to them, pat their backs, and talk to them using the same language we did before to reassure them and comfort them. Our goal was for them to open their eyes and realize we were right there and they were ok.

We want to provide constant, consistent nurturing and comforting, and the way we do that changes as they mature. With Maddox, we have gone from immediate comfort when he was an infant, to verbal comfort as a pre-toddler, to encouraging him to “use his words” to express his distress, as he became verbal. Now I see an independent almost-three-year-old who seldom needs the sort of comfort I now offer Marlow, but who still gets our full attention when he does need it. And one of the most amazing things, since Marlow was born, I’ve also noticed Maddox offering comfort to Marlow in the same way that we did to him!

My thought behind always comforting them is that they know we are always there and they are safe, comforted, and reassured. This is what has worked best for my children and my family so far. I would love to hear what has worked for you. We do not all parent the same, but we all want the same thing — happy, healthy, well adjusted children.

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