Beauty in Mommyhood: Elle is 8 months old

*edit: Many of the pictures from this post have been removed. Mama just doesn’t feel comfortable sharing that many pictures of our beautiful children online.

*Note: I am way behind on Elle’s updates. She’s actually almost 10 months. Eek! I’ll be cranking out another update in the next week.

 

Dear Elle,

You’re Muffin.
Your name is Muffin.
You’re sweet, brown and round – your name is Muffin.
You’re Muffin.
Yeah Muffin.
And everyone loves you ’cause you’re Muffin.

 

I make up the silliest songs for you. But singing them to you always makes you feel better when you’re fussy. I’m seriously going to put together an album of the songs that I’ve made up. Including the “Wipe your face and wipe your butt” jingle and your favorite…”Don’t You Cry, Elle Belle”. Your bring out the sillies in me.

Speaking of sillies, you are hilarious! My favorite game to play with you is getting us both under the covers and then pulling back the sheets and shouting “Weeee!” You have the cutest little laugh. One time Daddy had you giggling for like 10 minutes straight. My heart was bursting.

 

You are well on your way to toddlerhood because now and days, you get really upset when you don’t get what you want. You don’t understand NO yet but I’m trying to find ways to help you understand what you can and can’t do without always saying NO.

 

Food

You still aren’t insanely in love with food but you’re definitely getting more and more interested. This month you had smoked turkey. You loved in. In fact, you really love turkey and I’m amazed at how well you feed yourself. Breast milk is about 80% of your diet. When you’re not gulping that down you’re eating peaches, scrambled eggs, gluten-free noodles, homemade spaghetti sauce, sweet potatoes and pretty much anything that we eat. You also like hummus and applesauce but only sometimes. You also drink water from a cup.

 

 

Sleeping

Mama soooooo wishes you would sleep through the night. I’m thinking one of the reasons why you don’t is because you’re still in our room. This month the plan is to move you into your own room. You never had a formal nursery because we didn’t intend on staying in this house long but things have changed and since we’re going to be here a bit longer, I think you’ll do better in your own space. We’ll see how it goes. 8 months of chronic sleep deprivation is crippling.

Your Firsts:

-You went to Disney!!! Not the parks but we explored the area.
-You stayed at your first Disney World Resort – The Grand Floridian. That makes 5 hotel rooms that you’ve crashed in. Wow!
-You said Mama!!!
-You have perfected the army crawl.
-You signed “milk”
-You went to your first makeup show.

Cool Things You Do:

-You have perfected your wave.
-You wave bye bye too!
-You know how to tap the iPad to make things change.
-You can high five on demand.

You’re getting heavier and that sometimes when I look at you I say that baby face of yours slowly start to disappear. I’m so not ready. But ready or not, huh?

 

Love,

Mama

Beauty in Mommyhood: NUK’s Seal n’ Go Breast Milk Bags

Okay, so now that I’ve got more time on my hands, I am going to be doing more baby-focused reviews. I know. You’re excited, huh? Every time I turn around I’ve got another friend expecting a babeh and asking me something related to breastfeeding. I can never offer any advice because breastfeeding was a total FAIL for Elle and I but what I do know is pumping. I pump my life away yo. Nuk so graciously sent me some of their breast milk bags to review and I couldn’t be happier.

Breastmilk bags

While I was sent some of these to review, I have also purchased and been giving manyyyyyyyy breast milk storage bags from my moms who I donate milk to. In the 7 months that I have been exclusively pumping I have filled up thousands of breast milk storage bags. So I know a few things about ’em.

Nuk breastmilk bags

About NUK’s Seal n’ Go Breast Milk Bags:
-100% leak-proof double zipper seal
-Superior oxygen barrier for freshness
-BPA free
-Leak proof double zipper seal protects against leaking

Nuk

I’ve tried 3 different brands of breast milk storage bags and Nuk’s get the job done, mamas. I do more filling up than I do defrosting them but both tasks require having sturdy breast milk bags. These are nice. They aren’t my absolute favorite because I find that the zipper seal can’t be easily sealed but I use them regularly and haven’t experienced any leaks. I like to fill my bags up to 7 oz  and these bags are completely stuffed at about 7 oz. I find that I can get more milk in other bags.

Breast Milk Storage bags

And like all breast milk bags, the measurements on the bag are all kinds of wrong. I usually measure my milk in a bottle and don’t refer to the bag.

And these bags aren’t just great for breast milk. We like storing Elle’s homemade baby food in them too.

Baby food

Esposo and I like to steam and purée fresh vegetables for Elle, put them in ice cube trays, freeze them, pop ’em in breast milk bags and then take them out when we need them. These bags are fantastic for storing food! The food stays fresh and tasty.

Bottom line: If you’re a lactating mama or a mama who likes to freeze homemade breast milk, you’ll like these bags. Plus, they’re pretty affordable too at only $6.99 for 25 bags.

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 6 months old

*edit: We removed Elle’s pictures. I didn’t feel comfortable having so many online. Technically Elle is almost 7 months old but I’m mad late with getting this up. My bad!

Dear Elle,

You’ve been around for half of a year. Wow! I value each minute and each day with you because I know that I’ll blink and you’ll be a teenager trying to get your sticky fingers on my beauty stuffs. Please slow down. I love you just like this. You’re so perfect. You really are. How did we get such a cool and calm, baby? Everywhere we go people are amazed at how cool you are. You have never had a fit in public (not really at home either) and as long as you have access to your thumb and can snuggle against my chest, you’re good to go. I love this about you. You are far from a high maintenance baby.

Your bottle can be either hot or cold and you’ll drink it. You don’t have to be held 24/7. You enjoy playing by yourself. When you wake up, you sing and babble versus screaming your head off. On days when I’m just exhausted, you seem to notice and make things a little easier on me. You’re a dream baby.

[Read more…]

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 5 Months Old!

*edit: We removed Elle’s pictures. I didn’t feel comfortable having so many online.

Dear Elle Belle,

Yaaaaaaay!!! You crack up every time I say that. I mean, EVERY TIME. If if weren’t for your pictures, I would hardly remember you being a 5 lb little peanut. You are 13 lbs of chunk and I love it. I have gotten over feeling bad for your small weight. Mommy guilt is something else. I blamed myself for your being born early. I blamed myself for you being so little. And I blamed myself for you not breasteeding. I’ve let it all go. I am more focused on the now and making sure that you are happy and healthy.

And you’re both. You have the best personality, Muffin. I mean, seriously…I look forward to you waking up in the morning. You pop your head up and give me the biggest smile. And you laugh. A lot. You laugh, you talk, you babble, you sing…it is all so beautiful to me. You tend to be quieter around different surroundings and people but when you are at home and in your element, you can talk nonstop. You’ve started screaming too. Long gone is your sweet whimper. Now when there’s something you want, you SCREAM. And you growl too. Daddy and I think it’s hilarious. How can you be so cute by growling?

[Read more…]

Got breast milk? Use Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump!

It’s about time I get started doing some reviews on baby products, uh? I get a lot of questions about what I use with Elle and I am finally going to start cranking out some reviews. First things first! Since pumping is my life I figured I’d start with a breast pump. I received this one for review and it has been such a great asset to my exclusively pumping life.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump

I typically use an electric breast pump to express milk and I highly recommend that mamas who do more pumping than nursing do the same thing. However, a manual breast pump fits in my life well because I don’t always have time to connect myself to the electric breast pump. Sometimes I get caught up with working or I’m traveling or I just don’t feel like going through the whole “finding time to pump” routine. And that’s when the manual breast pump comes in handy.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump box

I’ve been amazed at how much this baby can express in a good 5 minutes. I find it works best when I am slightly engorged. It does enough to relieve the pressure and cleanup is a breeze.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump top

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump open

I actually have another manual breast pump that I’ve purchased and I prefer this one over the one I bought because this one seems to be 10x more comfortable. I attribute that to the silicone flange.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump silicone cover

The pump is also effective without the flange and I find that my output is MORE when I don’t use it. However, if I’m going for comfort and to take the “edge off”, I use the silicone flange. Clean up is easy because there aren’t that many parts that I had to tinker with. The pump comes with a nice booklet of instructions. It looked easy to dissemble but I actually had to refer to the manual to find out how to do it.

PROs

-It’s affordable. It is only $30.
-Larger Nuk bottles can fit into the pump. Perfect for pumping and then feeding baby right away.
-Easy to find. You can get it Target, Walmart, etc..
-Parts are easy to clean.
-Comfortable and has a nice suction.
-A bottle nipple comes with the pump.

Nuk Expressive Manual Breast Pump additional nipple

 

CONs

-Dissembling the parts is tricky the first go round.
-Can be messy. But so are all manual hand pumps.
-There are several parts to clean.

I’m a fan and I’m actually going to purchase another one to keep in the car for an emergency expression situation. You laugh but there is nothing funny about engorgement and not being able to express it quickly. Remind me to tell you about that time I had to hand express milk for Elle when I accidentally left one of her bottles at home and she had gulped down the one I brought. 😉 Yah. The exclusively pumping life is somethin’ else, I tell ya…

Breastfeeding mamas, do you ever use manual breast pumps?

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 4 Months Old!

*edit: We removed Elle’s pictures. I didn’t feel comfortable having so many online.

Dear Elle,

Hey there, big girl! Technically you’re 20 weeks old which means you are almost 5 months old. I was all late with getting your doctor’s appointment squared away so you won’t be getting your 4 month checkup until like uh…this week. I am SO excited (and nervous) to see how much you weigh. I’m hoping that you’re at least 14 lbs or so. I see you getting bigger and you are officially in 6-9 months clothing but I always wonder if my breastmilk is enough for you. People keep telling me how small you are and it bugs me.

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A Message On Mother’s Day 2013

Mom and daughter

People think that Mother’s Day is a day just for women who are are Mothers in the traditional sense of the word. I’ve never felt that way. I’ve grown up in a culture that truly believes in the “It takes a village” philosophy. Mamas can’t be everywhere all the time so that’s when other mama-figures step in. Who said you have to physically give birth to a child to help mother them? No. Motherhood is far more than conception and birth. Motherhood is being that safe place, having that nurturing spirit, the tear and boo boo wiper, the comic relief, the support system, the stickler, the teacher and the friend when needed. Motherhood is truly a verb.

It’a commercial holiday, yes, but this is one that I’ve always felt was okay. Why shouldn’t we shower our Mothers with love and affection? Shouldn’t we do so everyday? Absolutely. But we don’t. So if it takes one day to truly pamper, love on Moms and let them know how invaluable they are, well then…I’m all for it.

Mother’s Day is also a day for mourning. Some mourn the loss of their mothers, either in the physical sense or because a relationship wasn’t or isn’t in place. Some mourn the loss of their children on Mother’s Day. Or they feel inadequate because they aren’t Mothers in the traditional sense. Take solace in knowing that motherhood does not determine womanhood or a woman’s value. And if a mother touched our lives for even a short second or a short lifetime, she should be celebrated, even if she has gone on to glory.

So yes, I have always celebrated Mother’s Day by gifting my mothers and friends who are mothers with cards and treats. Being a mother is hard. The constant worrying, the wondering if you’re doing everything right, the sleepless nights, the critics who question your parenting choices but ooooh, motherhood is also a blessing. One of the biggest one’s in my life.

Baby Clumps

I thank God everyday for Elle. Yes, Alex and I did the work to bring her in this world (too much info? Ha!) but I truly believe she chose me. I could have never crafted such an amazing being on my own. I’ve babysat and been a nanny to dozens of children so I’ve always had an adoration for children but it skyrocketed when I gave birth to Elle in that small room at the birthing center 4 months ago. Elle is special. I’m sure all parents say that about their children but there is truly something dynamic about this 4-month old who has mastered smiling and stealing hearts. She has been a joy to our family during some tough times. She has given me more purpose and more of a reason to work hard each day. On my first Mother’s Day, I thank my daughter Elle. I thank her for choosing me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms. To all mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, mother-in-laws, stepmothers, older sisters, aunts, friends, teachers, caretakers and pet mommies.  Bless you all!

Beauty in Mommyhood – EB is 3 Months Old!

*edit: We removed EB’s pictures. I didn’t feel comfortable having so many online.

Dear EB,

You are 3 months old. I type that with tears in my eyes because I remember being 3 months pregnant with you. Technically you have existed for well over a year and I’m just amazed at how perfectly you fit in my life and in this world. It’s true what they say. It does get easier. The first few months of newborn-ing is hard. Sleep deprivation is painful. It’s a physical and emotional kind of pain that I can’t begin to explain. But we are slowly getting past that. I mean, yeah….I am still sleep deprived but I think my body can handle it a lot better. I spend so many days wondering if I am doing everything right. Are these the right bottles? Should I really allow you to sleep on your tummy? Is going back to work the best decision?

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