Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Breastfeeding Story

I've never really posted about breastfeeding much on my blog, even though it's such a big part of who I am. Before I had Jackson I knew I was going to breastfeed. I come from a long line of women who nursed and I was determined to carry on the tradition. I heard plenty of horror stories about how hard it was, how much it would hurt, how I would never have my body back blah blah blah. Hearing all of that was good in a way because it prepared me for some of the difficulties I would face and made me even more determined to make it work. I asked everyone I knew for advice- my doctor, fellow teachers, the lady with a baby in line next to me (just kidding), but it seemed like most people only nursed for a few months and called it quits. Of course I HAD to make it the full year (that's just how I roll).

I'm going to be honest, at first breastfeeding sucked. Big time. There was lots of pain and lots of tears. But the best advice I received (from my wonderful doctor) was to give it at least 3 weeks. After that the pain should subside and we would be able to fall into a sort of rhythm. And sure enough, she was right. That's not to say that I didn't panic when my nipples bled or grit my teeth from the pain. But I persevered and made it work.

I'm not quite sure why I refused to give up on breastfeeding. Maybe because I know "Breast is best" or because it's such a bonding experience. Either way I'm glad we've made it this far. My original goal was to make it 6 months and when that mark came and went I made the goal 12 months. Now that we're almost there I'm willing to go beyond 12 months as long as Jackson wants to. Which isn't to say I don't get weird looks and little comments. Hello! The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for the first two years! Why is is it so strange that I'm willing to nurse him longer than a year? I feel like it's almost a badge of honor that I've made it this far! (and I do NOT judge women who don't nurse their babies. EVER.)

Here's my advice for making it work. First, give it a minimum of 3 weeks for the pain to go away. Yeah, I know it's not supposed to hurt when your baby latches but I want to know whose boobie wouldn't hurt if they had a baby with the suction power of a Hoover attached to their breast 24/7? Yeah, that's what I thought. Also, you MUST get the number/email of a good lactation consultant and have it available at all times. If you're like me you'll be emailing them ALL the time with "my baby won't latch, my nipples are bleeding, I have thrush." Trust me, if you don't have a good lactation consultant you won't make it long. Usually your hospital has one in-house (which was my case) who is amazing and the hospital may even offer free breastfeeding support groups. GO to these! They are incredibly helpful and you'll meet a whole bunch of amazing women who are going through the same things as you. I formed such tight friendships with the women in my class!

If you plan on returning to work invest in a good (i.e. expensive) breast pump. The cheap ones do NOT work. Also do yourself a favor and buy a hands-free pumping bra. It will keep you pumping longer and leave you free to do things like check emails. You can get one at Buy, Buy Baby for around $30.

I think the most important thing to know is that breastfeeding DOES get easier. It starts out soooo hard and ends up being such a great bonding experience, but it takes time to get there. Be patient, get a good lactation consultant, and don't give up! I feel like breastfeeding was (and still is) one of the most important things I did for Jackson!

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pay it Forward for Preslee

I don't know if you remember my post awhile back on little Preslee Sullenger. She died tragically in a drowning accident at the age of eighteen months. Her parents have done an amazing job coping with the loss of their little angel. Reading Ashley's posts on the grief she's struggled through is truly a testament to her faith and resilience.

Ashley is partnering with another mom named Chelsea who also spent time in the NICU with her son Kayden while he underwent heart surgery. Kayden is now a bouncing baby boy and doing well! The two moms are working together on a project to provide families like them who spend unexpected lengths of time in the NICU with baskets of necessities to get them through the long days and nights. The baskets will be distributed in Preslee and Kayden's name's to families at the hospital where she passed away. I think is truly an amazing way to remember Preslee and her beautiful life.

It would be amazing if we could all join together and help to donate towards the baskets. Below is a list of items Ashley is requesting as well as her mailing address to send them to. Really the only "rule" they are asking is that all things be wrapped/sealed. Keep this in mind with food items. Be sure to get items in a personal size. You don't necessarily have to stick with these food items, but something not too sweet would be best. I bet we could make this huge! Pass this on to as many people as you can- blog it, tweet it, Facebook it! Let's all remember Preslee together!

Items needed for baskets (items below add up to one complete basket):

1 Box of Granola Bar
2 Trail Mix (Personal Size)
2 Goldfish (Personal Size)
6 Fruit Leather (At Costco you can get a box with 48 individual leathers for under $10)
Breath mints/Gum
Small Eye Drops (Visine)
3 Pens & Journal
Fleece Blanket for the parents (47" x 57" OR 42" x 52"- Try and go for the bigger one :) )
2 Pairs of Socks (preferably with grips on the bottom)
2 Toothbrushes
Small lotion (non-scented if possible)
Playing cards
Disposable Camera
If you feel there is something else you could donate that we haven't thought of, feel free to send it.

All donations should be sent to this address:
Chelsea Beckstrand
1198 Pleasant View
Rexburg, ID 83440
If you decide to donate in Preslee's name please leave me a comment letting me know!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Mother-Ease All-in-One Cloth Diaper Review and Giveaway!

Mother-ease Cloth Diapers
Cloth Diapers

Mother-ease Cloth Diapers is an incredible company who has been making cloth diapers for almost 20 years now. Their diapers are made with 100% green power (!) with side venting and adjustable snap closures. They generously sent me an All-in-One for me to try out and I was super impressed! I loved the ease of use (bo stuffing or folding to complicate the diaper changing), leak proof design, and soft cotton terry interior. These diapers are perfect for on-the-go travel and are easier to store in a diaper bag then prefolds.

Pros: Mother-ease cloth diapers are as convenient as a disposable, perfect for traveling, and easy to use.
Cons: Slightly bulky (as most cloth diapers are), some babies may need an extra soaker liner to maintain leak proof protection.
Overall: A great buy and perfect for a cloth diapering newbie like me!

Buy It!!
A Mother-Ease Cloth Diaper All-in-One retails for $16.95 (size large). The Mother-ease Cloth Diapers website (including the shopping cart) is the best online resource for accurate product names and stats. Go to Mother-Ease now to buy your own!

Win It!!
Mother-Ease Cloth Diapers has generously offered one of my readers an All-in-One in the size of their choice!

You must be a public follower of my blog in order to enter.
The mandatory entry must be completed before any extra entries count!
Please leave me an email address in at least one of your entries so I know who to contact.

Mandatory Entry
Go to Mother-Ease and check out all the products they have to offer. Leave me a comment letting me know which one if your favorite! (1 entry)

Extra Entries
Become a fan of Mother-Ease on Facebook (3 entries)
Follow Mother-Ease on Twitter (3 entries)
Vote for us on Top Baby Blogs- to vote click the box below! (3 entries per day)
Sign up for the Mother-Ease forum (5 entries)
Place my button on your blog and leave me a link where I can check it out! (8 entries)
Blog about this giveaway and link back to it in your post (10 entries)

Giveaway ends Monday, 11/1 at 8:00pm MST
Disclaimer: I was provided a diaper upon which to base my review. All opinions expressed are honestly my own.

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The Many Faces of Jackson

I love sitting in the backyard with Jackson while he explores. Everything he touches and see is so new to him and he marvels at it all. He especially loves watching the chickens scratch and peck in their little yard and he calls out to them so that they come over to the fence. When he pets him he's so gentle (usually) and giggles so hard! I love capturing all of the different faces he makes. His expressions are classic!

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Last Day to Enter the Awesome Happy Baby Giveaway- Super Low Entries!

Go here to win the complete line of Happy Baby food (2 of each product)!

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Fix-It Friday

Original (SOOC)


Check out more great edits here!

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Don't Forget to Enter the Huge Happy Baby Giveaway!

Go here to enter now!

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Picking

Last weekend we took Jackson to pick out his very first Halloween pumpkin! He had so much fun decorating his little pumpkin with stickers and momma had so much fun taking pictures! Jackson is dressing up as a garden gnome for his first Halloween- can't wait to take him trick-or-treating!!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And the Winner of the Thirsties Duo Wrap and Hemp Prefold is. . . .

#91 bukaeyes said...

I voted on Top Baby Blogs 10/11
OCTOBER 11, 2010 6:17 AM

Congratulations! I'll be emailing you for your contact info shortly! Want to win some more great stuff? Enter the Happy Baby giveaway here and the Simple Green Naturals giveaway here!

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Review/Giveaway- Simple Green Natural Cleaning Products!

Is it weird that I like to clean? Sometimes when I'm super stressed out cleaning is the best therapy. A clean house is a happy house! Cleaning with Simple Green's new line of all-natural products makes me even happier! I LOVE these products! Not only do they smell great, but they clean even better. It's rare to find a chemical-free cleaning product that will get dog pee out of the carpet, toothpaste off of the bathroom counter, and cemented-on baby food puree off of the high chair, but this stuff does and it does it well! Check out the products they generously sent me to base this review on:

Simple Green Naturals are 100% naturally derived, with ingredients originating from nature: chicory, coconut, corn, palm, naturally occurring minerals, salt and sugar, and water. Nothing else.
Naturals are safer, effective products that offer:
• 100% natural ingredient sources • Non-toxic formulations
• Biodegradable formulations • No animal testing
• Full ingredient disclosure
• International scientifically-accepted ingredient names
• Naturals scents are IFRA compliant and made of 100% natural essential oils & plant extracts.
• 100% recyclable PETE plastic bottles with 25%+ post-consumer content, printed with soy inks.

Here are the products from their new Naturals line:
Dish Washing Liquid
Simple Green Naturals Dish Washing Liquid is water based. It contains coconut derived surfactants that penetrate greasy soil and cut through fats. The natural scent is a combination of extracts and essential oils of grapefruit and eucalyptus with no phthalates.

Liquid Hand Soap
Simple Green Naturals Liquid Hand Soap is water based. It contains a plant-derived surfactant to penetrate greasy soils. Basil, sage, clary sage, rosemary and orange oils provide a fresh scent without phthalates. I love the scent and how the soap doesn't dry my hands out with harsh ingredients!

Multi-Surface Care
Simple Green Naturals Multi-Surface Care is water based. It contains plant based surfactants that penetrate oily soils. An alkaline mineral “builder” increases the alkalinity of the formula so that it works better at removing organic soils such as food and oils. The scent comes from extracts and essential oils of lemongrass, citrus, tonka resin, armoise essence, bois de rose, citral, litsea cubeba, geraniol palmrose, lavender, rosemary, thyme and soybean oils that provide a fresh scent without phthalates. The cleaning power and scent of this product are amazing and it is amazing at cleaning off Jackson's highchair!

Bathroom Cleaner
Simple Green Naturals Bathroom Cleaner is water based. It contains a sugar-based acid that works to remove alkaline soils typically found in bathrooms. It also contains plant based surfactants, which penetrate oily soils such as body oils, lotion and other bath oils that mix with soaps and minerals to produce soap scum. The scent is derived from pure extract and essential oils of rosemary, spearmint, grapefruit and orange which provide a fresh scent with no phthalates. I love that this cleaner contains no harmful ingredients, which means it's safe to use around Jackson and our pet, yet still cleans effectively.

Glass and Surface Care
Simple Green Naturals Glass & Surface Care is water based. It contains plant-based surfactants that penetrate oily soils such as air pollutants, tobacco tars, auto smog, fireplace & candle soot. The scent is a combination of rosemary, spearmint, grapefruit and orange oils, providing a fresh scent with no phthalates. Great scent and streak free mirrors= happiness!

Floor Care
Simple Green Naturals Floor Care is water based. It contains a sugar-based acid which bonds with alkaline soils to remove them from the surfaces upon which they were previously bonded. This creates a floor cleaning product that handles a wider variety of soils. This is appropriate for floors where both alkaline and acidic soils commonly occur. It also contains a plant based surfactant that penetrates oily soils. The scent is derived from extracts and essential oils of fir, Valencia orange, patchouli, rosemary, and amyris oils and oakmoss, providing a fresh scent without synthetic chemicals or carcinogenic phthalates. This is an awesome cleaner for our tile and is so easy to use! I just spray and then mop with our dry microfiber mop.

Carpet Care
Simple Green Natural Carpet Care is water based. It contains a non-chlorine oxidizer that breaks down and oxidizes proteins such as food soils, vomit and pet stains. My absolute favorite product and used almost daily on pet stains and baby spit-up! This stuff works miracles! It is SO hard to find a carpet cleaner that is nontoxic and this fits the bill, plus it takes out every stain in minutes!

Buy It!!
You can find Simple Green Naturals products at your local Ace Hardware, Aubuchon Hardware, Benny’s, Lowe’s, Meijer, or The Simple Green Store.

Win It!!
Simple Green has generously offered one of my readers the complete line of Simple Green Naturals products (excluding the Dilutable Concentrated Cleanser)! You will one of each of the products featured above- what an amazing deal!

You must be one of my followers (through Google Friend Connect) to enter.
Contest open to residents of the US ONLY and you must be 18 or older to enter.
The winner must provide a "real" street address (no P.O. boxes)- the prize will be shipped via FedEx.
Please include an email address in each entry so that I can contact you if you win!

Mandatory Entry
(must be completed before any extra entries count)
Go to Simple Green's website and tell me one thing you learned about this amazing company that I didn't mention here. (1 entry)

Extra Entries
Follow Simple Green on Twitter (3 entries)
Click the box below to vote for us on Top Baby Blogs (3 entries per day)
Follow Simple Green on Facebook (3 entries)
Blog about this giveaway and link back to it. Make sure to leave me a link where I can check out your post in your comment! (10 entries)
Put our button on your blog and leave me a link where I can check it out! (8 entries)

Giveaway ends November 2nd at 8:00pm PST!

Disclaimer: I was provided with products on which to base my review. All opinions expressed are honestly my own.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Nine Months Already?

I can't believe it! My baby is NINE MONTHS OLD! Seriously, where has the time gone?! He's gone from a tiny, squalling newborn to a little chunky monkey who flirts, gets into everything, and has his own BIG personality!

Took his first steps last week!!
Climbs on the furniture to get into stuff
Loves to splash in the dog's water dish

Favorite place to be is outside
Loves all animals
Adores his big brother

Sleeps from 6:30pm to 7:00am each night
Eating everything we put in front of him and love veggies!
Loves going to new places and has no stranger anxiety- he's the complete opposite! He smiles and "talks" to everyone he meets!

Knows how to climb up and down the stairs
Loves clapping for himself
Says "mama, dada, baba, and kee (kitty)"

Knows that the word "no" means and does NOT like when we say it!
Loves when we sing to him
Will entertain himself for a good hour by destroying the living room!

Is the love of my life!

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