Baby Goodies from Alex and Alexa

This post is sponsored by Alex and Alexa. I’ve featured this super cute baby site on Clumps of Mascara before. Elle is quite the fashionista. No thanks to me because my fashion-sense is somewhere between boho and hippie. But dressing ¬†a baby girl is so much easier. Elle Belle is pretty petite for her age and it’s a great thing because she can really get some use out of her clothes before growing out of them. I’m okay with spending just a little bit more on ’em because I know we’ll get our money’s worth.

…that is, if she doesn’t poop ’em up. Parents know what I mean. ūüėČ Check out some of the baby stuff I’m lusting for on Alex and Alexa.

Alex and Alexa

Sophie La Girafe

Let’s talk toys first because Elle, after all, is a baby. She could care less about dressin’ cute. She just wants to play! Sophie the Giraffe is this insanely popular toy for teething babies. I haven’t purchased it because it’s upward $30 but I can totally get down with the bath tub version. Elle Belle loves splashing in the tub so I know she would enjoy this.

Bang Bang Copenhagen Navy & White Stripe Headband

My sweet girl rocks the headbands. They’re her signature. I’ve never seen one so cute and retro. She doesn’t have a lot of black in her wardrobe so I’m thinking around winter, she’ll have some darker shades. This headband will fit beautifully in her already large headband collection.

Tate Publishing Shape by David Goodman and Zoe Miller

I’ve been reading to Elle since she was in my belly. It’s a little hard reading to her these days because she likes to eat the books but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I like how colorful this book is. I mean, it’s beautiful, full of colors and shapes. And it’s the kind of book I’ll be okay with reading a thousand times.

Mirella Pink Dragonfly Tutu

All little girls need tutus. I promised not to be that Mom that would make her daughter dress super girly but I can’t help it. She’ll just look too darling in a tutu. I doubt we’ll go anywhere in it but I am so okay with taking pictures of her in it and calling it a day.

Sneakers

Elle needs kids sneakers but her feet are so so small. She can barely get into a size 2. That’s okay though. I’ll be stashing sneaks until her feet grow a little bigger. Alex and Alexa have such adorable shoes for babies and toddlers.

 

Mamas, Grandmamas, godmamas, Aunties, or friends who have friends with babies…did you see anything cutesy?

 

5 Perks of Cloth Diapering. And my cloth diapering story.

Cloth diapers

When it comes to cloth diapering you’ll come across 2 kinds of people. Those that would never try it or those that swear by it. There are very few people in between.

And then there’s me. Y’all know I like to keep it real. So if you’re a mama, expecting mama or just like reading about cloth diapers (I was into that before I had kids….), carry on.

Rainbow cloth diaper

I always knew I’d give cloth diapering a whirl but soooo many people told me how HARD it was. And of course these were all people who had never tried it themselves. But c’mon…many people label me as this crunchy/hippie mama who had a baby in a birthing center and had her placenta encapsulated so doesn’t cloth diapering kinda follow that label? It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. And there are really so many reasons to love it!

Saves money

Duuuuh. Average diaper costs range from $.14 to $.23 per diaper. A newborn has to be changed at least every 2 hours. So in one day of newborn’s life you’re spending at least $2.00 a day in diapers. Meanwhile, our cheapest cloth diaper is $5 and guess what? It will last until our babe is potty training. AND…we can use it for consecutive children. Hells yeah!

Landfills

Now I never claimed to be the most eco-conscious person in the world but dang, the thought of tossing out over 10 diapers a day just seems…wrong. I feel better knowing I’m freeing up some landfill space by not havin’ my babe’s poopy diapers slung all over the place.

Prettier

Yeah yeah…call me vain but they really are. Plain white diapers with some random cartoon character on them? Boar-riiiiiing. Changing diapers will never be fun but I’m in better spirits when I’m changing a rainbow diaper.

Gentle

Especially if your baby has sensitive skin like my babe’s. Cloth is gentler on her bum .

Customizable

We prefer to use one size pocket diapers and they are awesome because you adjust the absorption by adding different kinds of inserts. You can also adjust the leg sizes on many diapers and this is a huge perk for smaller or larger babies.

Inserts

But there are downfalls to cloth diapering too…

-Emptying a dirty diaper pail will never be fun.
-Touching poo is bound to happen.
-No one will want to change your baby because cloth diapers confuse some people (i.e. daycares)
-It’s a bit inconvenient on the go.
-Finding a routine can take time.

Cloth diapers for babies

I thought cloth diapering was something you did or didn’t do. That you either WEREN’T going to do it or you had a stash of 30 diapers before your child made their entrance in the world. But naw playa. After we went through all of the disposable diapers that we received from our baby shower, we slowly transitioned to cloth. We clothed at night and on the weekends. Then I found a sweet local mama who was selling a huge stash of diapers for a crazy awesome price.

And then it took forever to find the perfect wash routine.

But do I have any regrets? Noooope. Cloth diapering works for our family and I’m so glad I didn’t listen to the naysayers and gave it a whirl. We only wash diapers every 2-3 days and we’re saving hundreds of dollars on not buying diapers.

Ours

Brands We Own:

Charlie Banana
Blueberry
Sunbaby
Kawaii
City Knickers Diapers

Approximate Number of Diapers:

25-27

Style of Diapers:

One Size Pocket diapers with snaps and aplix

Inserts used:

Microfiber
Charcoal Bamboo
Hemp/Cotton

Where did/do we purchase cloth diapers from?:

Local co-ops
Moms who make customized cloth diapers
Target (Charlie Bananas)
Second hand from local mamas

Cost Spent on Diapers and Accessories

Around $200

Accessories we own

1 small wetbag for diaper bag
1 wet/dry wetbag for when Elle goes to her sitter
1 large wetbag for traveling
1 diaper pail (aka trash can)
1 diaper pail liner
30+ cloth wipes (aka baby washcloths)

Any cloth diapering mamas out there? Or moms who tried it and didn’t like it?

JOHNSON’s Baby Drugstore Beauty Challenge – win a gift card!

Oh darliiiiings, I’ve got a super cool challenge for you. For years I’ve been talking about the awesomeness that is JOHNSON’s Baby products. I’ve featured several ways of how you can use them. And not just in your beauty routine either but throughout the house, your car and office too. I’m a multi-purpose kind of girl and I’ve found a dozen ways to use these babies.

Johnsons Baby

And while I can brag about them alllll day long, I’d love to see how you’d use ’em. That’s right. I’ve got a super cool Drugstore Beauty Challenge. I’m calling all willing participants to spend some money (not your own, of course) on JOHNSON’s Baby products and show me how you’d use JOHNSON’s Baby products to replace beauty products in your stash.

Baby

The unknown reality is that you really don’t have to spend a ton of money on beauty stuffs. You’ll find all kinds of amazing ways to use baby products ¬†and they can really fit very well into your daily life whether you’ve got a babeh or not. So if you are willing to take the challenge, here’s what I need from THREE of you lovely ladies…or gents.

Drugstore Beauty Challenge

Sounds simple enough, huh? This opportunity is only open to my U.S. guys and girls. Good look and I can’t wait to see what awesome ideas you beauty babes come up with.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beauty in Mommyhood: NUK’s Seal n‚Äô 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‚Äô 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 pur√©e 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

6 month old baby girl

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.

Brown baby girl

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.

Folx keep telling me that it’ll change and one day you’ll become this evil toddler but whatever – I’m enjoying the now. And speaking of the now, SCREAMING is your new thing. You love to scream and I’m almost positive that I heard you say¬†“Mama”. The best thing about you? Everyone loves you. Everywhere you go people want to get a closer look at you because you’re just so sweet. You’ve got this kind and wonderful energy about you. It’s captivating and you never disappoint and always crack a smile or laugh.

Baby photography

You started you on solid foods this month. Your first food was sweet potatoes and even though you make these hilarious faces, you actually do a great job at putting the spoon to your mouth and eating your food. We only give you a good tablespoon a day but you seem to enjoy it. Daddy and I enjoy making fresh batches of food for you. We both think it’s great to provide you with fresh veggies over the canned baby food. We really want to give you a good start when it comes to nutrition. Mama is still pumping to give you breast milk and I won’t stop until you’re at least a year old.

Baby touches toes

And guess what? We are still using cloth diapers! People told me that I would give up on them by now but nope I love diapering you in your cute patterned cloth. And you’ve never had a diaper rash so hey…maybe this cloth stuff is right on!

Mama guilt struck me again and I was starting to think that you were still small but your pediatrician keeps telling me how perfect you are. You’re just petite. Just when I ¬†started to doubt things, you began sitting up. And then getting on all fours with the attempts to crawl. Seriously? I’ve got a baby that is about to crawl? Ohmigoodness…please stop growing so quickly, baby.

Baby at 6 month old

Elle Bits:
-You’re a little under 14 lbs.
-You’ve tasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots.
-We sold your swing. You don’t use it anymore and it was taking up space.
-Your feet finally touch the bottom of your bouncer!
-You love your new highchair.
-Your skin has been super itchy so mama has gone gluten-free to see if that is the issue.
-If you see someone put it in their mouth, you want it too.
-Your appetite is through the roof…you’re eating a lot more.
-You can hold your bottle.
-You like putting your foot in your mouth. Literally.

Thank you so much for being the light of our lives. Love you, sweet girl.

XOXO,

Your Mama

Beauty in Mommyhood ‚Äď Elle is 5 Months Old!

Brown Baby

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.

My entire life is being blogged

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?

Easycare rainbow 1

And you want to touch everything. If it is anywhere near your reach, you’re grabbing it.

Baby hand

That includes Daddy’s beard and Mommy’s earrings. You know how to grab for your bottle to bring it to your mouth. You grab at any and everything. And the minute you get whatever it is you want, it’s going straight into your mouth. How your little mouth emits so much drool is beyond me. You go through at least 2-3 bibs a day.

Pretty baby

Eating

You are still eating nothing but breast milk. Mama’s milk supply has decreased significantly but I still have enough to feed you and to donate. I am going to start stashing away milk so that by the time you turn 1, you’ll have enough milk until you’re at least 14-16 months old. No solids yet. We’ll wait until you’re 6 months. You are definitely interested though. You stare at Daddy and I when we eat and you love grabbing at our plates.

Sleeping

You’ve got one wonky sleep schedule but I stopped complained about it. You HAVE to be in bed by 7pm. If we don’t get you there, you are beyond fussy. You’ll get up for a bottle around 10pm and then you get up again at 3am. Each time you wake up, you go back to sleep after having your bottle. You take nice long naps throughout the day (at least 2) and on the weekends when you don’t nap, you’re still in good spirits. When it’s time for night-night, you pop your thumb in your mouth and go right to sleep. It is usually that easy.

Clumps of Mascara baby

You got your ears pierced and I adore them! You look even sweeter and you handled the piercing like a champ. Your eczema is clearing up beautifully. You wear cloth diapers every night and if I can come across more affordably, I want to start clothing you when you go to your sitter. Cloth diapering is surprisingly easy and it feels great not having to buy diapers every week. Oh…and that stroller? We don’t touch it. Mama wears you everywhere!

Baby wearing

I never got why women were so passionate about baby wearing but I’ve seen the light. One day it was pouring down raining. I had to get you, groceries, my breast pump, your bottle bag and my purse out of the car. We waited for the rain to stop for 20 minutes. It didn’t stop. I popped you in a ring sling and grabbed the bags and an umbrella and made it to the door. I had never felt so powerful before. You? You just babbled the whole time mama dodged rain puddles.

Girasol Double Rainbow

Basically, you’re perfect. I know no one is perfect but you are, Muffin. You really are. You light up our lives and you give me purpose each and everyday. I work harder for you. I hate having to go to work and leave you but at the same time, I take pride in knowing that I am actively working hard to provide for our family. It’s not easy but I work long hours, come home to play and snuggle with you, clean the house, run a business and I do it everyday. It’s exhausting but so rewarding.

It is an honor being your mommy.

Elle Bits:
-You giggle uncontrollably when I try to clean your neck.
-You are now totally against your carseat. You cry every time we drive. You eventually soothe yourself.
-Your pediatrician says that you are healthy!
-You love nature.
-You are nosy. I mean, so nosy. You want to see EVERY thing.
-You love music. And you love being sung to.
-You smile. A lot! And at strangers too.

You rock. Thanks for being my baby.

Love,
Mommy

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. ūüėČ Yah. The exclusively pumping life is somethin’ else, I tell ya…

Breastfeeding mamas, do you ever use manual breast pumps?

Beauty in Mommyhood ‚Äď Elle is 4 Months Old!

Elle is 4 months old

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.

They don’t know how far you’ve come. Every baby isn’t super chubby and it’s a bit insensitive to say things like, “Wow…she’s so small.” to parents of preemies and small babies. But whatever. I’m learning how to let it go.¬†We don’t plan on introducing food for awhile so you’ve still got some months being exclusively breastfed. You do have your own little raspberry shop though.

Blowing raspberries

You love blowing spit bubbles. It cracks your Grandma Clumps up. Speaking of her…she adores you. So so much. You’re so incredibly loved by so many people. Everyone is in love with your eyes. “They are so alert!” they say.

Pretty eyed girl

And it’s true. I’m not sure where you got your eyes from but I love looking in them. I’ll never forget the night I finished giving you a bottle and you stared right into my eyes. We looked eyes for a good 30 seconds and then you gave me the biggest smile ever. I love moments like that.

Traveling baby

Last night I asked your Daddy what if he thought you cried a lot. On a scale from 1-10 with 10 being A LOT, we both gave you a 3. You hardly ever cry. Your sitter says the same thing. I am so grateful we ended up with a cool and calm little girl. Your personality is so here and when you don’t have a constant smile on your face we know you’re sleepy or need some downtime. Your demeanor is so pleasant that this month we pushed it to the limits a bit by having adventures waaaay past your bedtime (success!) and taking a 4.5 hour road trip one day and returning the next (tragedy!). We’re trying to learn you and for the most part I think your Daddy and I ¬†are becoming amazing parents. I’m so proud of your Daddy. He works a lot, yes, but when he’s here he wants a ton of Elle and Daddy time. He snuggles you and has you giggling up a storm when he kisses your tummy.

Baby and Daddy

You love when he does that. We both sing to you and we’re amazed at how you watch TV like a big girl. Doc McStuffins in your favorite. Every time you hear the theme song your face lights up. And when you’re fussy and nothing is helping soothe you, if I bust out in “Doe A Deer” from The Sound of Music, you calm down.

Baby and mommy

Cheesy, but it works. You’re a music lovin’ baby and we want nothing more than to keep you surrounded by tunes. We took our first family road trip this month and it was challenging but you were so sweet around dozens of new people. You flashed smiles and definitely played the part. And you are a drool machine. It’s hilarious. Looks like we’ll be seeing some teeth soon! Your ezcema is still around and mama is trying a new¬†concoction¬†every month. Nothing seems to work. While I have¬†eliminated¬†most dairy products I still eat a few items with milk in them and so maybe that’s the cause. I don’t know. I’m always blaming myself for something when it comes to you. I want you to have a perfect life. I want the best for you.

Happy baby

Because you deserve it. Don’t tell your Daddy but you’re my best friend. Yep, my¬†almost 5 month old baby is my BFF.

I enjoy every moment with you. Even the 2am bottle feedings. I love our weekend cuddles and Saturday adventures. I love taking you out on walks and watching your face light up when you hear a dog bark. The world amazes you. I no longer feel Working Mommy Guilt. Our time apart isn’t horrible because it allows you to learn in a different environment with a qualified caretaker and it allows mommy to continually work on her craft. I never wanted to loose myself in Mommyhood and guess what? I haven’t! You are #1 in my life but I still have a social life and passions. I am in a great place. In the next month or so we’ll be moving and you’ll be getting your own room…officially. I don’t know though…I still think I want you sleeping in our room. I’m not ready to be so far away from you yet.

Yep, I’m an attached mama. But you…and this face…

Baby with thumb in mouth

It lights up my world.

Keep shinin’, baby. I love you,
Mommy