Baby Registry Must Haves

I am about to have my third baby! And at this point, I feel like I really know what I need for her and what is just ‘extra fluff’ this time around.

There are SO many options and everyone is trying to sell you the latest and greatest! I have a three point criteria that all need to have a ‘yes’ answer for me to buy.

 Is it useful? Is it convenient? And is it good quality?

All of these are super important.  When you are in the daze of having a newborn you want these products to help you. Not want to make you scream because you can’t figure out how to clip something properly or it falls apart after one wash!

Here is my ultimate list designed to make the life of a new mom a (tiny) bit easier.

{This post contains affiliate links.  But, rest assured I ONLY promote products that I have used and LOVE}

Fitted Bed Sheets

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Get a few of these (you will probably need to make a quick late night change after a blow out or huge spit up).  You don’t want to be left in the dark.  No need for a large bedding set! Just find a design you like and order about four of them!

Circo Burp Cloths

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I have bought this brand for all three of my kids.  They come in so many different patterns and are the perfect size and absorbency.  They have multiple uses in the first few months.  Burp clothes, small blanket for the stroller, snot wiper, using as a changing pad in a clutch….get a few packages. I go through several a day.

Little Giraffe Receiving Blanket

 

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We all know that you cannot let a newborn sleep with this blanket in their crib….but there are times when they will need a little extra warmth (in a stroller on a crisp fall day for example.) The softness of this blanket is amazing and, of course, it is machine washable!

Boppy Nursing Pillow

 

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Regardless if you plan to breastfeed or not, this is such a great pillow for hanging out with your little.  It is great to prop them up a little (of course while being supervised). Or getting some support for nursing. And, of course, the cover is machine washable.

Minilabo Baby Monitor

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I love this product.  The price is right and it works well.  I don’t see the need in buying basically the same monitor from a different brand at twice the price!

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Mat

 

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This is great! I see it as ‘baby’s first toy’.  They can lie on their backs and entertain themselves for a while and it is great for tummy time too.

Swaddle Me  Original Three Pack

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I have a secret.  I CANNOT use a swaddling blanket to save my life.  I just cannot make it snug enough! My kiddos can wriggle out of them in about three seconds.  These Velcro swaddles have really saved me!

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles

reg5If you plan on doing any type of bottle feeding I recommend these ones. They mimic nursing and are super easy to clean (not too many parts).  The cap also makes them leak proof….so it wont leak all over your diaper bag

My Little Snugapuppy Cradle and Swing

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I know that there are more sleek swing models out there….but honestly, this swing is the best! It plugs into the wall so you don’t have to spend a ton of money on batteries.  It has a large swinging motion side to side or even front to back and I love that it also has soothing music my babies loved!

Nose Frieda

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I didn’t buy this until my second child….and I was missing out.  You SUCK the snot out of their nose with a straw-like contraption……Yuck!! But it really works.  Don’t worry….I promise the snot won’t get into your mouth. There is a barrier.

Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat

 

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I am three for three babies with this one! By far the most convenient infant seat I have seen on the market.  It is fairly light, easy to click in and out of the base and holds up to baby ‘stuff’ (meaning spit up and poop).  It can be easily wiped out.

UPPAbaby Cruz 2017 Stroller

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Yes, this is an expensive stroller. In my opinion it is worth it.  This stroller is extremely durable, has great storage options and add-ons.  It will last you through several children.  You can get the attachment for an infant car seat, and piggy back board (so an older child can get a ride). This brand does have a MORE expensive option, the Vista. The big difference is it comes with a bassinet.  I just don’t think it is necessary for the extra few hundred dollars.

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Six-Position Baby and Child Carrier by LILLEbaby

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I might not be huge into baby carrying, but I can see the value and convenience of a good baby carrier.  This one takes you from 7-45 lbs.  And you won’t kill your back.  I also like this one for the summer.  There is no separate infant carrier, so I don’t feel like baby gets too hot. When you need your hands free…..this comes in handy.

 

Skip Hop Portable Changing Mat

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I don’t usually use a traditional diaper bag.  I use a large tote bag.  But with that being said, there are a few essentials that I need to pack so I can change baby on the go.  This changing mat is compact and easy to get out almost anywhere.  It can slip into a purse for quick trips out!

Graco Pack ‘n Play Yard

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This is an extremely versatile product! It can be used as a bassinet, changing table or even a safe, secure place for baby to play.  We use our pack ‘n play when we travel for sleeping and even outdoors sometimes! Again, this is super easy to clean.

So, there you have my list of essentials! There are so many products out there for babies…..did I miss any of your favorites?

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How Mama Got Her Groove Back

I’ll admit it.  I’ve been in a funk.  After all of the excitement of the Christmas and New Years I got a case of the dull drums.  And, here in Michigan January was dark, rainy and unusually dreary.  All I wanted to do was watch TV in my yoga pants.

But my reality was vastly different then what I fantasized about.  I have two little boys and am pregnant with my third. So, as I do attribute my pure exhaustion from ‘momming’ hard everyday while growing a human being. I also realized that I wasn’t acting like myself. I am used to being the mom who loves to take the boys out on play dates and to museums.  We bake banana bread and play hide-and-go-seek in the basement! Not the mom who turns on a TV show and sneaks upstairs so I can lay down on my bed for a few minutes of peace.

And although I sometimes used the ‘thaw and serve’ cooking method instead of simple, healthy meals. I had been turning to that more then I liked recently.

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I’ve also noticed that I was not taking care of myself.  In more ways then one.  I wasn’t eating healthy whole foods, I didn’t see my friends as often as I used to and I noticed that I was not social as I had been in the past with my ‘mom’ circle.  I had become so ‘busy’ with being busy I realized I was just going through the motions through the day instead of looking forward and enjoying my days and time with my kids.

What was wrong with me?? I LOVE staying home with my kids! Usually…..So I decided it was time to stop my pity party and get my groove back.  Yes, usually women say this after they are done having kids and I realize I was 32 weeks pregnant when I had this epiphany, but there is no time like the present.

First, I started each day with a healthy, filling breakfast.  No more Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Scrambled eggs, fruit smoothies and Kodiak cakes seemed to to the job for me.

Next, I decided to get my social life back. Even if it fell under the category of a mommy social life……I didn’t care.   I craved adult interaction during the week with my kids.  I NEEDED play dates so I can sip coffee and chat.  I NEEDED to meet-up for lunch once in a while when I could find an afternoon babysitter. And, I NEEDED to not be with my kids all of the time.

Slowly, but surly I am starting to feel like myself again.  No, the exhaustion has not gone away. And, I know my happy hours with my girlfriends will have to wait for a while.  But I feel like I am smiling from the inside again.

Finding balance is a very hard thing to do.  It doesn’t matter if you stay at home with your kids or work 60 hours a week. It is all hard. But were did we lose ourselves in the process?

In my mind self-care make for being a better mom, wife, co-worker, friend and person.  So, whatever that means to you, go for it.

I know it has made a world of difference to me.

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My Make-Up Bag Essentials

I have mentioned that I love make-up before.  I think I started wearing it when I was 12…..but really remember at about five-years-old sneaking into my moms make-up bag and making myself ‘pretty’ with blue eye shadow (thank you 1980’s)! My look had refined a little since then…..and after wearing it for more then 20 years, I have figured out a few products that are truly timeless and I will probably wear for the next 20 years.

Some of my favorite products are high end, but some of my all-time favorites are from the drug store and under $10! Some might be under $5! It is all about figuring out what works best for you and your lifestyle.

Most days my make-up routine can be done in about four minutes and does not include lipstick. I try to keep it simple. Here is what you can usually find in my make-up bag!

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L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, Carbon Black, 0.26 Fluid Ounce

L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara

Elf Baked Eye shadow Trio

Cover Girl Perfect Point PLUS Eyeliner

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Wear Even Finish Foundation

 

Mac Studio Finish Concealer

Mac Powder Blush

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Easter Basket Stuffers (Non-Candy)!

Easter is the time of new beginnings for me.  The birth of a fresh season.  I love all holidays, but this one is probably in my top three.  Springtime is upon us and everything is new and fresh!

With most holidays, usually means lots of sugar and treats.  At least my kids think so.  And, I am the first person to say I also love the treats especially Easter basket treats.  Cadbury Eggs are my all time favorite! But, I try my best to keep the treats to a realistic amount for the kiddos.  I don’t see anything wrong with a few jelly beans and chocolate bunnies….but I draw the line when they have a seemingly endless supply of chocolate!

I want my kids to have a wonderful Easter morning with their egg hunt, so I try to mix it up a bit.  Here are some non-candy ideas that I will be putting in their basket this year!

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Easter Egg Decorating Kit

 

Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk

Geo Central Tortoise Hatch ‘Em Egg

Slinky

Easter Stamps

Play-Doh Spring Eggs Easter Eggs 4 Pack

Happy Easter Mouse Book

Dinosaur Bubble Shooter

Lip Smackers Gift Pack

Green Toys Indoor Gardening Kit

Skip Hop Umbrella

Melissa and Doug Plush Bunny

Hape Counter Toddler Stacker Counting Blocks

Dragons Love Tacos Book

Ducky Terry Bath Hooded

Ramona Series Book Set

Kids Garden Tool Set

Shopkins Easter Egg Set of Three Eggs

Click here to starting bluuming today!

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Bumpdate: 33 Weeks!

I cannot believe how fast this pregnancy is going! Seven weeks from yesterday I will be having a c-section and get to meet our little girl!

FEELING: Still feeling pretty good for the most part! I have been having hip pain when I stay in the same position for too long.  Sleep is hit or miss.  I wake up several times a night. But, since I have had kids I don’t think I have ever slept ALL night long. I usually am up at least once for either the bathroom or making sure the kiddos are tucked in.

Other then my intense need for a nap almost EVERY day (one perk of staying home), I’m attributing feeling pretty good compared to this time in my last pregnancies to my working out 4-6 days a week.  Now…..this has REALLY slowed down.  I am more like 2-3 times a week.  And, honestly if I can get moving a few times a week I am happy with that. Most importantly I still feel strong and healthy.  Cardio is basically a thing of the past.  My lungs are so crowded by baby girl.  I will be happy when she drops a bit so I can take a deep breath!

WARDROBE: I have my ‘dress’ leggings and my ‘casual’ leggings…..I hope I’m not the only one! I mostly wear leggings, a cami and open cardigan or sweater. It has been super warm (ish) here in Michigan and I have been enjoying not having to squeeze myself into a winter jacket!

CRAVING: Junk food.  Sadly that is all I want.  I still love my smoothies, but I am really trying to reign myself in with everything I want to eat! I also don’t have much room (thanks to her squeezing my insides) so I have to eat small portions or I feel sick.

OVERALL: I am so excited and also a little nervous.  With so many things going on in our household: baby, getting ready to sell our house, and getting ready to move! I don’t have much time to worry. Charlie (4.5) is so excited to meet ‘sissy’.  I hope he still feels the same way if she wakes him up with her crying at night.  Henry (20) months has no idea what is going on.  He will kiss my belly and say baby….but I am not sure it is actually connecting.

Less then two months! Let the countdown begin!!

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I Don’t Ask Permission

I read something that really bothered me the other day.  It was from a blog about motherhood (I don’t remember which one).  That this particular mom said that she has to asks her husband for permission to buy a dress for herself.  Not discusses it with him, or checks in if it is within budget, but actually asks him if it is okay.

He had the power to say yes or no.

She also asks her husband permission if she can go out for a girls night and if it is okay for her to invest in her blog. And she said that he also asks too……but then went on to say that since she is a stay at home mom and doesn’t earn any money that she feels it is respectful to do.

That is where I wanted to punch my computer screen.

Now, I am all for discussions with my husband about expenditures.  I actually think it is an important to have that kind of communication.  Money can create all kinds of problems if not dealt with properly. But we treat each other with respect and consideration. She made it seem as though he has the ultimate power in the relationship and they are not equals. That bothers me.  If she was working outside the home would she have to ask? I’m not sure.

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We are a team!

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My husband and I made the decision together for me to stay at home.  I feel that even though I don’t actually make a paycheck, I am a total equal in every aspect of our relationship. As is he.

We don’t ask each other permission for anything.  I am not a child.  He is not in charge of me.  If I had to ask him for money or if it was okay if I get coffee with my friend I don’t think our marriage would have worked out.

I’m not saying I go around buying diamonds and cars everyday (but that sounds fun)! I am capable of looking at our bank account and knowing if it’s in our budget to buy a pair of jeans or a new dress.

Honestly in life when I hear a mom friend or acquaintance say….’sure, just let me ask my hubby’ it makes me cringe.  Again, I all for discussions and very open communication but asking permission from your equal drives me nuts.

Why do some women do it? Do they really do believe the man is the head of the household and has ultimate control? Do they believe it is not really their money? Or is it the simple fact they lack confidence in their own decision making skills?

I am not making these points to make anyone feel bad or angry.  This is just not my normal and I don’t understand it.

I have been told that it is a sign of respect to their husband.  I don’t buy it.  Respect is a two way street.

Is permission just another word for discussion? Or, is it actually giving all of the decision making about your life to another person?

What do you think? Do you ask permission from your husband?

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Here’s Our Home!! So Far…..

Back when I started this blog, I mentioned we are finally building our dream house!!! Yes….it started in September and we have been waiting….waiting…..waiting for construction to start.  I am not a very patient person.  And let me tell you this has been a lesson in patience! I have only so much control over the situation (bad weather and building a house in January in Michigan don’t exactly go hand-in-hand).

Slowly but surely we are making progress.  I thought I would share a little bit of our progress and excitement!

I have been casually looking at houses for probably about a year.  I LOVE our current house, but we were quickly growing out of it. And at that point I didn’t even know I was pregnant.

Matt and I looked at this model home in Royal Oak and fell in love.  We signed the papers and within 24 hours of doing that we  found out we were expecting! Talk about a world wind of events.

As of now our home is expected to be ready near the end of June.  But, of course that is subject to change.

My mantra right now is: Patience is a virtue. Wish me luck!

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The first sign of construction!
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Foundation.  Slowly coming along.
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The start of framing our home.
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Starting to look like a house.
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This is what our house is supposed to look like……one day.

I can’t wait to make this house our home. This is where we will plant our roots and grow together .  Just in the meantime I need to: have a baby, sell a house, pack up a house and move.  Simple, right?

Finding Your Confidence at the Gym

{This post contains affiliate links.  I only post products that I honestly love and use.  I hope that you love them too!}

I have been every basically every size you can buy since college.  I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with health, fitness and working out.

Finally at 35 years old I  cannot believe I am saying this, but I love to work out!!! I feel physically my best I have in years. Although I still have a ways to go, I love to see the progress I’ve made.  I feel amazing after a good sweat fest.   I love pushing myself when I don’t think I can, but then realizing that I can do it! And, major bonus points if I have soar muscles the next day! I have finally learned what it means to make good use of time in the gym.  And it’s not how fast and far you can run on the treadmill. I’ve talked in the past of why I work out (see that post here), and now here I am talking about how I do it with confidence.

In the past I was so self-conscious of trying out the weight machines, or asking a trainer for help on how to use something properly.  I thought that people were staring at me…..like:  who’s that girl who that girl? She better work a lot harder if she wants to see any results! Or: She looks ridiculous! She doesn’t even know how to use the TRX properly (more on that in another post).

I have realized something…..no one cares what you look like at the gym.

Everyone is so into what they are doing there is no time to look and judge others.  That, of course, is a general statement….there is always going to be a jerk or two.  But I chalk it up to them just having a bad day.

While I adore the cute, backless Lululemon tops that I see some women wear at the gym….that is just not me.  I think I would worry that everything was flopping out of place, rather then worrying about how fast I’m running.

The key to having confidence at the gym is feeling good about yourself.  Good or bad, that has a lot to do with what I am wearing.  If it fits well I’m not going to be constantly worried if my muffing top is showing.Support and proper coverage is what it’s all about.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces that me feel cute and comfortable.

ASICS GEL-CUMULUS 17 RUNNING SHOE

I wear this brand of running shoes all the time. They are light, flexible and give me great support.  I cannot get my head wrapped around spending $200 on a pair….especially when I get a new pair every 8 months or so….(see the picture at the top ….I literally ran a hole in these).  And, score! They are on sale right now.  I’ll be ordering them this afternoon.

ATHLETA FREEDOM SUPERCHARGED TANK

Athleta is one of my favorite brands.  It is super soft, there are a huge variety of sizes and washes really well.  I like this tank, because it has a built in bra. It is super supportive and really cute!

 OLD NAVY GO-DRY MID-RISE COMPRESSION LEGGING FOR WOMEN

I can live in these leggings. And sometimes I think I do! I have several pairs and styles.  They don’t fade in the dryer and keep everything ‘tucked’ in.

ATHLETA POSE LAYERED TOP

I wear this top with leggings, jeans, when pregnant and not pregnant! It is my go-to for wearing after the gym and looking cute.  And, at 31 weeks pregant I can still wear it and rock my bump!

So, this seems to be my unofficial uniform for the gym (and life in general).  What are you’re favorite pics?

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Being Positive in a Negative (Online) World

Once upon a time Facebook was filled with images of weddings, babies and drunk people. It was fun and silly.  Now it is filled with angry rants and negative energy.  Name calling, and worst of all friends degrading friends. I’ve seen it, I have been the victim of it and honestly, I’ve probably been sucked into a Facebook fight or two.  It is horrible, no one EVER wins these ‘fights’ and friends are lost, egos are bruised and feelings are hurt.

It doesn’t  matter if it’s mommy wars, political rants or even the best way to raise your puppy! The second it becomes negative and condescending people are bound to get fired up.

And, I get it! I am passionate about my beliefs (anyone who knows me well can vouch for this).  I want to disagree and agree with people too! I get angry when I see something that I don’t think is right or fair and want to enter into a Facebook exchange with them to ‘right their wrongs’.  But lately something has stopped me……I finally took a step back and thought: has telling them how wrong they are EVER changed their minds and made them see the ‘light’?

THAT WOULD BE A BIG FAT NO.

Most of the time it becomes a heated exchange where both parties and sometimes even third parties go at it.  No one wins.  And, I don’t know about you, but I often feel agitated and annoyed. Sometimes it can even ruin my day!! And for what? Nothing has changed at all.

computer

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Don’t get me wrong. I fully support that people have the right to express whatever they want…we do live in America. But behind the veil of Facebook we seem to have lost any sense of humility.  Being kind has been thrown out the window. Just because you might see someone else being a jerk online, does that mean we all have to be?

I have discovered a few wonderful ways that has changed the way I peruse Facebook.  This is not to say that I am not open to reading about other peoples thoughtful opinions that I don’t agree with….just the opposite.  I like leaning about other viewpoints, but when it gets to negative, angry and personal I am OVER it.

Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!

I am choosing to only see the positive online and here is how I do it:

  • Follow only those feeds who make you happy and add something to your life.  If you are constantly annoyed or disagreeing with someone, maybe it is time to move on.
  • Re-evaluate your ‘friends’ list.  I have noticed that people I have not seen in over a decade keep popping up in my feed! Why do I even care what they think!! Sometimes saying ‘goodbye’ is the easiest thing to do!
  • If there is a certain post that is bothering you click on the top right corner of the post where the arrow is and ‘hide’ the post! It really is as easy as that! You won’t see it popping back up time after time.
  • If you really feel the need to engage….give yourself a five minute ‘timeout’ before posting.  Keep your comments positive and DO NOT under any circumstance personally insult your ‘friend’.
  • TAKE A BREAK FROM FACEBOOK.  Just stop looking at it for a while.  Remove the app from your phone.  If someone really needs to get a hold of you, they can call you!

Having an opinion and passion in our world is so important….and my guess is that we all have the best intentions too. Sometimes it’s not what we say but how we say it.

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I Hate Breast is Best

** I am not giving medical advice! I am just a mom and sharing my experience!**

I hate breast is best.  I hate nursing. There. I said it.  Those words have been simmering in my mind and soul for months, maybe years.  I have two boys (4.5 & 19 months).  And both of them are formula fed.  They are healthy, active, smart and sweet…….and might have had about ten ounces of breast milk in their whole life. I am passionate in my belief that Fed is Best, but still….as I am pregnant with my third child, I still feel that pressure from society, mom blogs and social media that if I don’t do it, I am a bad, lazy mom.

And let me tell you…..it really pisses me off.

I am not a medical professional.  I’m just a mom.  But, I can talk about my experiences and experiences that I have heard from other moms.  Yes, there are studies that show (or in their words, prove….) that breastfed babies are smarter and healthier then formula fed babies.

I say they are full of S***.

I have been told that I can outspoken and sometimes come across as brash when it comes to this subject.  And, I’m okay with that.  So many moms feel so much guilt about this, but don’t feel they have a voice to speak out.  I will be their voice. I have yet to hear an explanation to why it is better for me to keep trying to breastfeed my newborn that is continually losing weight and screaming because he is HUNGRY.  I want my child and the rest of my family to be happy and HEALTHY.

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Tummy full and sleeping.

I refuse to live in a state of fear that other moms will judge me anymore.

Picture this……me, a new mom leaving the hospital with a big, chubby, sweet baby boy. My husband and I had NO IDEA of what we were doing or getting ourselves into, other then the baby 101 class we had taken and the mom blogs that I had religiously read throughout my pregnancy.  We were winging it.

  • Breast is best!
  • Don’t give up!
  • Use this mysterious recipe for cookies that will for sure increase your supply.
  •  Here is the number to the BEST lactation consultant….she is amazing.  Only $100 per consultation.
  • Formula is disgusting! Do you know what is in it? Even if your newborn is screaming…..don’t you dare give him that poison!! He will be fat and dumb when he grows up.

I’m not kidding.  I heard it all.  And, the crazy thing is NONE of this advice came from my pediatrician!

About a week after being home in the middle of the night, I was doing my best to nurse a screaming baby for an hour and my husband came in the nursery.  The baby and I were both in tears. He gingerly took the baby and mentioned that we had some formula samples in the pantry.  Let’s just try it.  How can it get any worse then this? I agreed.  I was exhausted. He made the bottle and the baby sucked down the whole bottle and promptly fell asleep. We all did.  It was glorious.

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These two are formula fed and so happy!

The next morning the sun seemed to shine a little brighter, the baby smiled a little more and I was finally able to appreciate and embrace the moments of having a newborn instead of feeling the pressure and helplessness of not being able to nourish and sooth my baby.

And, I never looked back.

We love formula for my family.  And it has been wonderful that my husband is able to take part of the newborn bonding (and midnight feedings).  But, I will say this is just the experience for my family.  I truly believe that every family is different and they should do exactly what they feel is right for their own.  Is that breastfeeding until two years old? Yes? Then go for it! Is it formula feeding from the moment the baby is born? Then do it!

We all need to join together and stop the madness.  Let’s change the narrative that breast is best to fed is best.  Education and options give moms the ability to make decisions for what is best for their family.

So, instead of rolling your eyes at the mom with a bottle feeding her tiny baby, or the mom who is nursing without a cover….give them a smile…..that can go a LONG way.

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