Adventures in Breastfeeding: Reflecting

1.28.2011
Now that I've had a few weeks of bottle feeding under my belt, I keep comparing it to nursing. I've found that there are definite benefits and drawbacks to each. For example - going out in public. Sure, Violet looks all sweet and snuggly in this photo:


But in reality she was grabbing the nursing cover and thrashing around the entire time we were trying to nurse. When she was a newborn nursing in public was no problem, but as she got older I felt like I was in a wrestling match. And although I became MUCH less self-conscious about nursing in public after my first few times doing it, call me crazy but I still didn't want to pull a Janet Jackson in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

On the other hand, I miss the convenience of nursing on-the-go. By the time we pack bottles, water, formula, and ice packs our diaper bag looks more bloated than Morgan Spurlock in Super Size Me.
Of course, nursing tops helped with the whole Janet Jackson thing, but boy are they expensive! I was just too cheap to buy a nursing wardrobe, especially after paying for maternity clothing. I just ended up wearing a nursing tank under my shirt most of the time, but I'm so happy that I don't have to plan my outfits around how 'easy access' they are any more.

One thing that I found very ironic is the fact that the entire time I was breastfeeding I felt like I was doing the best thing I could do for Violet - I mean, it's the food that Mother Nature intended for babies, right? But besides the immunity benefits, it turns out that it wasn't really best for my baby. Now that we are no longer nursing, Violet is such happier, healthier little girl. To compare Violet on formula to Violet on breast milk is like comparing Jekyll and Hyde.

Despite my attempts at constant nursing and an extreme elimination diet Violet was still not getting enough to eat and was reacting to the food that she did get. We didn't realize it for so long because we had nothing to compare it to - she is our first baby and we figured that she was just extra fussy. How ridiculous would you feel going to your pediatrician to tell them that your baby is fussy and poops a lot? I mean, she's a BABY. That's what they DO.


So unbeknownst to us my poor girl needlessly dealt with constant pain, hunger, and lack of sleep for over seven months. Now thanks to a prescription formula called Elecare Infant she sleeps through the night, puts herself to sleep, and (unless she is tired or poopy) is happy most of the time. And although most people will tell you that they love breastfeeding because it's FREE, I can't add that to my list of pros as our formula is one hundred percent paid for by insurance. Don't get me wrong - would I rather my daughter be healthy and foot the bill myself for regular old formula? Of course - in a heartbeat! But we look for the upside wherever we can these days.

Things I DO miss about nursing - the snuggle time, the convenience, and oddly enough, time to myself. Violet wasn't ever one to gaze lovingly into my eyes while nursing. In fact, she pretty much completely ignored me after she latched on. So I used that time to catch up on email, browse through my blogroll, and get lost in the rabbit hole that is Etsy. Now that she sucks down a bottle in five minutes flat, those days are long gone. And although I haven't noticed any ill effects yet, I know I'm going to miss burning that extra five hundred calories a day. I haven't seen a gym in 18 months, but easily lost all of my baby weight plus some. And trust me, I had a decent amount of baby weight...


But the number one thing about bottle feeding? THE FREEDOM. The freedom to go where I want for as long as I want and eat what I want and drink what I want. Writing it down that way sounds really selfish, but everyone needs some time to themselves. Some babies will take a bottle of breastmilk so that mommy can have a girls' night out, but not my baby. So even if I would get the green light from Kev to leave the nest, I'd worry and I'd stress and I wouldn't enjoy myself at all anyway, so what was the point?

So I guess the real question is - would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Although in the end breast milk wasn't right for Violet, it IS a wonderful thing for most babies. My next baby will be breastfed and will hopefully not have the medical issues that poor V is dealing with. Will I eventually switch over to formula? Most likely yes. As a working mom it is one less stress that I will have to deal with. But until that point, we will nurse and we will nurse proudly. And although I've quoted it before, I will end with this quote from one of my favorite blogs - Becoming Sarah:

You just keep at it as long as you can, but remember: formula won’t kill your little girl and breast-milk won’t make her fly.

 xo, Lauren

I know this can be a controversial and touchy topic for many, so please keep all comments respectful and kind. 

Giveaway: Shabby Apple Dress

1.27.2011

- This giveaway is no longer accepting entries - 

Our newest giveaway is from online dress boutique, Shabby Apple! They specialize in gorgeous dresses in a variety of styles, but sell stylish accessories as well, from shoes to jewelry to belts. I've chosen one of my favorite dresses (retail value $134) from their collection to offer to one lucky reader today:

It comes in four colors and I love that it is understated but still stylish. It's a piece that could easily go from day to evening and is classic enough to be a wardrobe staple for years to come. I'd go with black or gray and pair it with these pieces:

Striped Bag, Beaded Brass Necklace, Carved Gold Ring, Cableknit Tights, Scoop Neck Dress, Ballet Flats, Gingko Leaf Brooch

For a chance to win, please visit Shabby Apple and leave a comment below.

Bonus entries:

  • Become a follower of with two cats (+1)
  • Blog about this giveaway and link back to this post (+5) 
  • Post our banner on your blog and/or add with two cats to your blogroll  (+1)
You can earn up to ten entries if you choose all of the above! If you already follow wtc, just let me know in your comments.

How is the Winner Chosen?
  • The winner will be chosen randomly using random.org
How Long Do I Have to Enter?
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM EDT on Monday, January 31st.

Good luck!


 
 
- This giveaway is no longer accepting entries - 

Melondipity

I'm so excited to introduce you to one of our new sponsors on with two cats - Melondipity! (I love the name - it makes me think of some sort of yummy frozen custard.)



Melondipity was started by one mom who was looking for a cute hat for her daughter Alayna's baby photo session. After some unsuccessful searching, she decided to start her own shop and fill it with adorable children's hats. Check out some of my favorites...

For your little lady:


And for your little guy:

I'm having trouble decided which one I'd like to purchase for Violet - which one is your favorite? You can check out Melondipity's site here and their blog here. Thanks to all of my sponsors for keeping this mom blogging!

Brenda's Bedroom

1.25.2011
Recently Brenda wrote to me for help with her bedroom:

Hi Lauren,


I absolutely love your idea boards and was hoping you can whip one up for my bedroom. So far I only have a large mirror from Ikea and a duvet from West Elm which is a nice spruce (more green than blue) and tan color (although it looks mustard-y in the pic). My style is semi-contemporary or transitional if you will. I need ideas on a headboard (preferably a dark brown), side tables, art above the bed (2 options if possible), a nice chair for a corner, dresser, rug, curtains, and accessories. I'm also thinking of painting the wall behind the bed so color ideas would be appreciated. I can't wait to see what you came up with!


Brenda


I love the duvet that Brenda selected - gorgeous colors! Here's what I came up with:



Sources:

Chair - Urban Outfitters
Art - Crate & Barrel
Duvet - West Elm (no longer available)
Rug - Crate & Barrel
Linen Cotton Grommet Curtains - West Elm (Pear)
Embroidered Pearl Curtains - Pottery Barn (Honeycomb)
Pelliccia Toss Pillow - Crate & Barrel
Gilded Grasscloth Pillow - West Elm
Lupe Pillow - Crate & Barrel
Votive Holders - Anthropologie
Lamp - West Elm
Additional Art (not pictured) - Crate & Barrel
Additional Art (not pictured) - Etsy Seller Bold & Noble (Yellow Moss)
Metallic Wall Flwers - Jayson Home & Garden 

I'm Loving: Before & After

1.24.2011
This amazing before & after found via Design Sponge:

She started out with one of those hideous play mats like this:


And after some primer, paint, and poly, ended up with this beauty:


Absolutely gorgeous! My question is, why doesn't anyone make a play mat that isn't hideous to begin with?!?

Eye Candy


Via

 
Via

 Visa


Via

 Via

 Via

Product Review: Noisy Peekaboo: Roar! Roar!

1.20.2011
One of our absolute favorite books for months now has been noisy peekaboo! Roar! Roar!


Violet loves to pull on things, open things, look behind things AND she loves sounds, so this is the absolute perfect books for her. The basic idea is that you are looking for an animal - is the monkey hiding behind the pillow? Nope. Maybe behind the binoculars? No way. How about inside the box? There he is! And to celebrate the fact that you found him, the monkey (quite loudly) ooh ooh's and ah ah's at you. I don't recommend this book for libraries, church, or other quiet places, but for all other places, it's a definite must-buy!







There are other versions as well, like noisy peekaboo! Choo! Choo! and noisy peekaboo! Woof! Woof! 
Check out all of the noisy books here.

Every New Beginning

Comes from some other beginnings end. Trying to put a happy spin on returning to work today, because unfortunately this arrangement will just not work for us:


I feel like just as we are beginning to get a handle on things with Violet we're shaking it all up again. But change is good right? Trying to focus on the positive:
  • Violet will have three sweet and adorable children as playmates - ages six, four, and two.
  • I will get that crazy excited look of pure joy when I come home from work that she usually reserves for the Hubster.
  • I will get help with putting the babe to sleep and with the night time wakings.
  • Violet will become more independent and comfortable with other people. Maybe she'll even learn to crawl! (I always have trouble letting her struggle and just end up helping her get things)
  • Hopefully we'll get into more of a routine as she will be waking at the same time each day.
  • Her babysitter is a wonderful patient person who was a former elementary school teacher and has raised three polite, happy, intelligent, and independent children.
Even as I try to focus on the positive, the worries still creep in - Have I prepared her enough? Will she still love me just as much? Will she cry a lot? Will she eat? Will she nap?  

Will she be okay? 

Of course I know that she will survive, but my heart is still breaking a little bit. (Okay a lot.) I think Daniel Stern, narrator of one  of my favorite shows, The Wonder Years, said it best:

Change is never easy. You fight to hold on; you fight to let go.


Floods: Before & After

1.19.2011
I don't normally post about current events, but the news of the floods in Australia really hit home with me as my sister lives just north of Brisbane. Luckily the waters didn't reach as far as her hometown, but even areas that were not flooded have been affected other ways. Here are the formerly full shelves of her local grocery store - now empty because much of their meat and produce came from the south:


I'm so thankful that she wasn't more affected, but my heart really goes out to those that were. She sent me a link to a site that shows before and after photos of some of the devastation in Brisbane:


I have no words for what these people must be going through. If you are interested in donating to help the flood victims, you can do so here.

The Homies 2011

I was checking out Ohdeedoh today when I saw that it's time for The Homies! I love to read through all of the nominations and do a little web surfing whenever they hold this contest. I've found a lot of fantastic new blogs for my reader this way, so I got really excited.

 Via

And thanks to whoever nominated me for the Kids @ Home category!

I'm Loving: Moustache Mania

 

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