Category: baby

Mama Needs a Minute: Graco Little Lounger Review #Graco15ForMe

Adjusting to life with two wee ones has been… a challenge.  I love it, but lately we’ve had a few days when naps don’t overlap and I’m desperate for a shower.  Sometimes mama just needs a minute.  Through a sponsored opportunity I had the chance to learn about Graco’s new Little Lounger at an event on White Rock Lake in Dallas, as well as review it in depth at home.  It is a 2 in 1 rocking seat and vibrating bouncer, perfect for naps or a comfy spot for baby to lounge while Mommy checks off the to do list or takes a minute to breathe.  If you are expecting or the parent of a baby under thirty pounds, the Little Lounger should be on your radar.  
The Little Lounger was really put to the test when we were trying to get out the door for a road trip.  My Pearl girl lounged contentedly for over half an hour while we rounded up last minute stuff and packed the car.  I didn’t have to worry about her crawling under the book shelf or trying to eat one of the Bear’s toys.  She coo’ed and laughed and batted at the little leaves hanging down.  It was glorious.  
We received the Graco Little Lounger in Caraway, available exclusively at Babies R Us.  I love the gender neutral design and soothing colors, as well as the leaf motif.  It retails for $79.99, and other designs are available at Target and Buy Buy Baby. 
My Favorite Features:
vibration – soothes the angry teething baby
Rock Locks – keeps the lounger in place if desired and keeps big brother from rocking her too hard
secure – three point harness
comfortable & breathable – mesh on the sides with soft plush on the seat
adjustable recline – one pull adjusts the incline to the perfect angle
compact – folds flat for easy travel and storage
I think the Graco Little Lounger would make the perfect baby shower gift, but it is much more than that.  Pregnant or expectant adoptive mamas should add it to their registries.  If you are a grandparent, this would be a perfect option to have on hand for visiting grandbabies without taking up too much closet space.  For parents traveling with infants, the lounger folds nearly flat, sets up in a second, and takes up much less space than bulkier alternatives.  

 At our Graco 15 For Me event, Baby Boot Camp instructor Amanda Foose taught us a quick series of exercises to do while baby happily lounges.  She made it seem so doable, and I was excited to get home and try it myself.  I tried a mini work out while the Pearl girl lounged, and she thought it was hilarious.  She is newly crawling and putting everything straight in to her mouth, so having her happily playing in the Little Lounger really allowed me to concentrate on the exercises.

Follow @GracoBaby on Twitter and find Graco on Facebook to connect and learn about more great Graco products as well as discounts and promotions. 
What would you do with “15 minutes for me”?

Eleanor Pearl at Five Months

Time is flying, and our girl is already five months old.
She is so bright eyed and delightful.
She laughs at her brother all day long.
She is incredibly curious and always taking in her surroundings.
She is *this close* to crawling.
She pushes up and rocks back and forth.
Sometimes she even launches herself forward.
She can get pretty much wherever she wants by rolling.
Rolling and chewing, that’s how she spend her days.
Judging by the amount of drool and chewing,
I think her first tooth is not far off.
She loves to be worn in the Ergo or pushed in the stroller and is up for any adventure.
Floor time makes her happy, especially when it is outside on a blanket.
She is loving her “baby office”, and exersaucer from a consignment sale.  

Sweet Eleanor is still exclusively breastfed.
She refuses a bottle, so she is mama’s little sidekick wherever I go.
Sometimes I wish she would take a bottle, 
but I wouldn’t trade our precious nursing relationship for the world.  

We didn’t have a check up this month, 
so I’m guessing her weight is around 15-16 pounds.
Judging by her rubber band wrists and chunky little thighs
she is healthy and growing fast.
She wears 6-12 month clothes.
We are using cloth diapers almost exclusively, and it is so much easier now that the Bear is potty trained (except for nap & night).  One in cloth is WAY easier than two.  Captain Obvious, reporting for duty.
Every time she outgrows something, it breaks my heart just a little.

Our Pearl Girl’s eyes are still a bright, clear blue.
Her hair is still an auburn shade and her eyebrows are red.
I’m on the hunt for soft, handmade, red-haired dolls for Christmas.
Her natural mohawk went away this month as we battled cradle cap.

Ellie and Fisher are really starting to play together, 
and nothing is sweeter.
He loves to make her laugh.
I thank God every day for this precious angel baby.
She is sweet and beautiful and brings us such joy 
and we are so blessed to be her parents.   

The Love of Grandparents

I love that she looks as though she is breathing her in.  
My parents are the best.
Obviously, I’m biased.
They came to visit last week and we had so much fun.
We didn’t do anything exciting, but spent the whole time playing.
They get down on the floor with my kids and don’t miss a minute.
The effort they make to love on my babies means so much to me.
Both kids absolutely adore Dede and Poppy.
It was such a great reminder to be on the floor, in the moment with my kids.  They don’t need anything fancy, or big experiences, or money spent.  They need love.  A quote hangs on a friend’s wall and keeps coming back to mind daily of late.  “Children have only one childhood.”  So true.  This one childhood is so fleeting as I’m reminded while packing up the tiny clothes they’ve so quickly outgrown.  I want to spend it with them, every bit that I can.  I want to be in the moment, on the floor, soaking it up.  

Look at those little toes! Can you even handle it?
What are you soaking up today?

Mombo Comfort & Harmony Nursing Pillow Review

My sweet Pearl girl and I were so excited to review the Mombo Comfort & Harmony Nursing Pillow, and even more thrilled to give one away to one lucky reader.  Click here for the Mombo giveaway.  If you are expecting a baby and planning to breastfeed, a nursing pillow will be on every registry check list.  I nursed my son for a year and am 4 months into nursing my daughter for at least a year (hopefully).  You can read more about my breastfeeding battles the first time around here, and read all I’ve learned about breastfeeding here.  
With the Bear, I used a nursing pillow all the way through until he weaned.  I suffer from back problems, and using a nursing pillow greatly relieves the stress on my back that breastfeeding can bring.  I use one every time I nurse at home, and take it with me when I travel.  The only time I don’t use one is if I’m out running errands or in public.  

What makes the Mombo different from other nursing pillows?  The Mombo has two sides, a firmer side and a softer side.  We prefer the softer side, but I think the firmer side would be ideal with a newborn.  The Mombo also comes with a battery operated vibrating insert that soothes my sweet girl gently.  I’ve found that for my sometimes distracted nurser, the vibration helps her to concentrate and eat rather than pulling off and looking around.  Hallelujah! 

The pillow and cover are very well made, and the cover is super soft and easily comes off to wash.  If you have a spit up queen like I do, easy washing is key.  I love the gender neutral Mosaic Moonlight cover, but there are several cover options including gender specific ones to choose from.

Overall we really like our Mombo pillow.  The only negative I could find would be the size might be an issue for plus size mamas.  The angle of the pillow fits snuggle and comfortably for me and keeps my girl in place when she’s lounging, but might fit a plus size mama a bit too tight.  I don’t know for sure, but it is something to keep in mind.

 Probably my favorite aspect of the Mombo is that it doubles as a truly supportive lounger.  The Pearl girl is still a supported sitter at 4 1/2 months, and she was able to sit comfortably in the Mombo as you can see below.  Isn’t she the cutest?!
The Mombo is available at Target and retails for $29-39, depending on the cover.  Extra covers are $12.99.  Find your Mombo Nursing Pillow at Target and don’t forget to enter to win the Mombo giveaway here.  

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Kids II. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% my own.   

Eleanor Pearl at Four Months

Our little Pearl girl is pure joy and sweetness.  Her hair is still an lovely auburn and her eyes are the clearest blue.  She is such a snuggler and loves to rock and listen to mama’s singing.  

Big Milestones at Four Months:

rolling over from back to front
rolling over both ways to travel
laughing and giggling

Ellie is in the 75th percentile for weight and height at 14 pounds 15 ounces and 25 inches long.  Her head is still nice and normal at 16 1/4 inches and the 50th percentile.  Bless her. The rest of us all have giant noggins.  

She is still wearing 3-6 month clothes and the occasional  6 month outfit.  She wears cloth diapers most of the time and looks so cute with a fluffy booty.  She surprised us once again by rolling over from back to front.  Now that she can roll both ways she figured out that she can get where she wants to by rolling over and over.  She is sitting up in her bumbo chair and wants to sit up straight in the stroller and in our laps.  

Ellie sleeps like a champ with only occasional wake ups at night. I feed her around 7 and then wake her up again around 10 pm to eat.  After that she sleeps until around 7 am.  She is becoming a more efficient nurser and loves to look around while nursing.  She has never taken a bottle though we have tried a few times.  I love nursing her, but definitely wish she would take a bottle so that I could be away from her for more than a few hours if necessary.  The Bear never took one either, so I’m used to it.  

We love our sweet Pearl girl and are so excited to see more of her personality emerge every day.  She is such a precious gift to our family.

Family Travel: Enjoying the Road with a Baby and a Toddler

Who’s ready for a road trip? This girl.
Last summer we traveled for ten weeks and it was glorious.  The Bear was a one year old toddling machine and the Pearl Girl was just a glimmer in my eye.  We hiked all over Colorado and New Mexico and loved every minute of it.  This year our budget kept our adventures more limited, and we have a new baby.  Even these circumstances couldn’t keep us contained for long.  My amazing parents rented a beach house for the entire family (I’m the oldest of four) in Navarre Beach, Florida.  We miraculously made it work with our budget, mostly due to money coming in from this blog.  Let me pause here to say thank you.  Seriously, thank you.  I love telling stories in my little corner of the web, and every time you visit it helps support our little family.  I’m not sure if you know that it actually makes a difference in our budget, but it does.  It really does.  Thank you.
The Pearl Girl was ready to roll.  She did so well 98% of the time.  She has a gypsy soul like her mama, I can already tell.  The number one key I’ve found for traveling with kids is well timed pit stops.  We try to make our stops count and do the big three every time (gas/food/bathroom) as well as run time for the Bear and leg stretch time for the Pearl.
A mall in a teeny tiny town in far east Texas provided serious energy burn off for the Bear.  He sprinted up and down the mall as I nursed the Pearl on a nearby bench and Jed chased him.
Enjoy the ride.  We had the Bear searching for gators in every mile of Louisiana swamp we drove past.  There is beauty in almost every landscape
We packed a backpack full of books and toys for both kids, and pulled them out whenever the natives got restless.  We sang songs and did a puppet show and when all else failed we put in a DVD.  For the first time we used separate headphones for the Bear with mixed success.  He didn’t really like wearing them for long, but did use them long enough for Jed and I to enjoy a few Dave Ramsey podcasts.
We had planned to stay in a hotel on the way, but were blessed with the hospitality of a friend’s parents in Lafayette, Louisiana along the way.  Zeke and Becky Ducote welcomed us in to their home with open arms on the way out AND back, and we are forever grateful.  They loved on our kids, fed us, and gave us beautiful beds to sleep in.  If you can ask to stay with friends or friends of friends, I highly recommend it.  You will always be more comfortable than a hotel and you never know how you might be blessed by the visit.
This is the Ducote Family’s backyard.  Isn’t it beautiful?! It backs up to the Vermillion River.

Isn’t this front porch the dreamiest?  I could just live there.

How do you keep you sanity when traveling with kids?  Tell me in the comments section.

Follow Becca’s board Family Travel on Pinterest.

Eleanor Pearl at Three Months

Our Pearl Girl is already 3 months old, and I’m in shock.  The last three months have passed in the blink of an eye and our Ellie has transitioned from newborn to baby before I was ready for it.  She is such a joy and I love every minute of being her mama.

We didn’t go to the doctor this month, so our best guess for weight is about 13.5 pounds.  She has moved into 3-6 month clothes and wears size 2 diapers when we use disposables.  We’ve gotten into a good routine with her cloth diapers.  She is still exclusively breastfed and our one attempt at pumping and bottle feeding was a big fail.  She typically goes 3-4 hours in between nursing sessions during the day and does a 9 hour stretch at night from 10 pm to 7 am.  Mama feels like a new woman.  She takes two long naps every day as well as one shorter cap nap.  She prefers the swing for her cat nap, but also loves to sleep when being worn by Mama or Daddy.  

Her hair is still an auburn shade, and her eyes are bright blue just like Daddy’s. Somehow her tresses fall naturally into a mohawk.  Little punk rocker.

The biggest surprise this month came when our sweet girl started rolling over from front to back.  The Bear didn’t do this until he was 7 months old so we were totally shocked.  She is smiling at us and reacts when we talk to her.  We LOVE it.  Her big brother loves to hug and kiss her, and especially likes going in to get her from naps.

 We can’t wait to see who our precious girl is as her personality develops more each day.  She is a delight and we are so in love.

Everything I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding {5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me} + Our Story

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I’m sharing my personal breastfeeding experiences here on the blog.  I support all moms and their parenting choices, but this week is all about breastfeeding awareness.  Please do not read judgement in to my words.  It isn’t there.  I am currently nursing my second child who is 3 months old and exclusively breastfed.  I nursed my first child for 1 year, with some formula supplementation the first 2 months. You can read about my breastfeeding battle nursing my first child here.   We had a hard time, and I learned a lot.  Nursing is the best for your baby, and it may be a challenge for you.  It is at times a truly beautiful, bonding, precious, and dare I say holy time.  At other times it is uncomfortable, frustrating, and difficult.  It is always worth it.

1) Breastfeeding is best for baby and natural, but not necessarily easy.

I took a class before Bear was born, but had never really seen anyone breastfeed.  I had no clue what I was doing.  Then I had a c-section, which makes nursing more difficult for most moms (and a big part of why I had a VBAC with my 2nd child).  Formula was pushed on me by the hospital because Bear was loosing weight and wouldn’t latch correctly.  Weeks later we found out it was because he had a tongue tie.  Nurses, lactation consultants, and our former pediatrician all blamed me, saying I wasn’t producing enough milk and just wasn’t trying hard enough.  NO one bothered to look in Bear’s mouth and see the real issue until we hired a private IBCLC to come to our house as a last ditch effort.  She saw the problem immediately and explained that it wouldn’t get better until his tongue was fixed.

We saw a pediatric ENT doctor the next day and had his tongue clipped.  He immediately latched on correctly and my breasts started producing more milk.  Because he couldn’t latch he tore up my breasts, because he tore up my breasts I used nipple shields given by an LC, because I used nipple shields my milk production went down, because my milk production went down I was bullied into supplementing, because I supplemented I had to battle to get my production back up.  It was an ordeal.  But worth it.  After we had his tongue fixed I worked hard to get my production back up and we were able to stop using formula at 5 weeks.  He nursed exclusively til 6 months when we started solid food, and continued nursing til 12 months.

When the Pearl Girl was born three months ago, we immediately saw that she was also tongue tied.  We had it fixed on the way home from the hospital by our pediatrician, but had to go back for one more clip by our pediatric ENT.  In the 3 short days it took to get her tongue fixed, my breasts were already torn to shreds.  If this happened to you, a tongue tie could be to blame.  Since we had it fixed she has nursed well and my milk production is great.

2) If you can push through the first 8 weeks, it gets much easier and is completely worth all the hard work.  It will make your life so much easier and hassle free.

You can read lots of great information about why breastfeeding is best for your baby here and here.  It was also the best for me because I never have to heat anything up, mix anything, or tote any food with me.  My milk is always available and always the perfect temp, and in the perfect container.  I’m not able to store pumped milk because my milk contains extra lipase and goes bad when stored.  This means I have to be available to feed my babe whenever she is hungry.  This can be a challenge, but I make it my priority to be there for her.  I did the same with Bear while working.  It was a sacrifice, but totally worth it.  I truly believe that breastfeeding is the reason Bear has only needed antibiotics once in his 2+ years.

3) Breastfeeding can be lonely, but you are not alone.
At the beginning, breastfeeding is a 40 hour + a week job, and it can be a bit lonely, just you and your sweet babe.  You are most definitely not alone.  There is a fabulous breastfeeding community online, in chat rooms, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  Search for the #bfcafe hashtag to find a weekly Twitter chat, and look for your local Le Leche League’s Facebook group.  Many local baby stores also host breastfeeding cafes run by IBCLCs where you can find community and get advice.  If you are struggling and need help, don’t hesitate to ask.  You are not a failure because you need help.  Ask your friends for recommendations on lactation consultants and make sure they are internationally board certified (IBCLC), or call your Le Leche League chapter.  You will be surprised by how many of your friends sought help with their nursling. A breastfeeding hotline run by a formula company is not the best resource for quality information on nursing.  If you need help, check out the resources below.
Breastfeeding Resources:
Best For Babes
Kelly Mom
Info About Tongue Ties
Le Leche League
The Leaky Boob

4) Your breastfeeding relationship may look different from your mom’s or your friend’s.

Many women of our parents’ generation did not breastfeed, many because they believed the advertising campaigns that said science (formula) was better than nature or because they had to return to work quickly after the birth.  My mom told me that she was kind of unique with her natural Lamaze births and breastfeeding.  Your mom or mother in law may think it is weird for you to want to nurse, and other people in your life may not be supportive.  Lots of folks will have advice.  Your best friend may be completely happy nursing on demand 24/7 til age 4, while your other friend is doing all she can to get to 6 weeks.  Both are doing what works for them and their baby.  Some babies eat for 5-10 minutes every hour, while others (like mine) eat for 20-30 minutes every 2-4 hours.  What I do know is this: while a structured routine may work for you, a rigid schedule will make you crazy.  Babies get hungry when they get hungry, just like we do.  If they are used to eating around the same time every day, they may put themselves into a routine.  However, a rigid schedule run by the clock will leave you stressed and baby hungry and mad.  I love a routine.  But not a schedule.  Our basic routine is eat, activity, sleep.  I feed her, burp her, then we do some activity, then she will start to act fussy and it is time for nap.  When she wakes up (at whatever time) I know she is hungry again.  Every day looks a little different.  This is what works for us, but what works for you may look completely different.  And that’s ok.  Trust your mama heart and your mama instincts.

5) Breastfeeding is not a modesty issue, it is a baby feeding issue.

When my first child was born, I just knew I would always wear a cover when nursing in public and would never be one of THOSE women.  Then my first child hated to be covered.  He wanted to see my face the whole time and would immediately throw off the blanket as soon as his little arms had the strength.  Also, I live in Texas and have to nurse in the summer.  If you believe women should have to cover up, I have an exercise for you to try.  Grab your lunch and then try to eat it under a blanket.  You will get really uncomfortable, really fast, even in air conditioning.  My baby feels the same way.  I’m not flashing my boobs all over town, but I will feed my baby whenever and wherever she is hungry, and most likely won’t use a cover.  Most people probably won’t even notice.  If a women feeding her baby offends you, you definitely want to stay away from the mall because those store ads show WAY more boobage than any nursing mama.  The message that it is somehow wrong to use our bodies they way God designed them just makes my blood boil.

Nursing in public is part of the message of World Breastfeeding Week.  When moms feel shamed and discriminated against, it can sabotage a nursing relationship.  Unfortunately this still happens on a regular basis.  Here in Texas the rights of nursing moms are protected, but that doesn’t stop the harassment.  Check out the news story below to learn about the recent Big Latch On event and the discrimination faced by one Texas mom.
Dallas News |

If you are a nursing mom, what is your favorite thing about your breastfeeding relationship?  What is the hardest thing about nursing?

I would love to challenge everyone who reads this to encourage any nursing mamas they know with kind words and support.  If you see a mama nursing in public, thank her for what she is doing.  She will appreciate it.

Link Party Button #milkingit

Eleanor Pearl at Two Months

 The last two months have flown by, a weird phenomenon that occurs when your days are measured in 2-3 hour intervals. Our Eleanor Pearl is already 2 months old. I can’t believe it. She is sweet and beautiful and pretty perfect in our opinion.

She weighs 12 pounds 2 ounces and is 23.25 inches long.
85 percentile for height and weight
Her head measures 15 1/2 inches. 
65th percentile for head size
Loves snuggling and being outside.
Loves her baby gym and her big brother’s voice.
Starting to smile and react.
Loves being worn in the Ergo by Mama and Daddy.
Sleeps 6-7 hours at night.
Exclusively breastfed.
Has already outgrown all of her newborn clothes and newborn cloth diapers.
Wearing 0-3 months clothes and one size cloth diapers.

Eleanor Pearl at One Month

Eleanor Pearl 
One Month Old
Weighs 10 lbs 2 oz
21 3/4 in long
85 percentile for weight and height
50% for head size  – making her the only one in the family with a normal sized noggin 
 Loves bath time in the sink, snuggles, being outside, and mama milk.
 auburn hair that falls naturally into a mohawk
beautiful blue eyes (I hope they stay!)
 sleeps 5-6 hours straight at night
naps like a champ except for the early evening
 Loves being worn in the Ergo.  
Precious and lovely in every way.
  We are so thankful to the Lord for this good and perfect gift of our daughter.  We are so in love with our sweet Ellie girl.