Monday, January 4, 2016

Breastfeeding Faves

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to breastfeed with Kaylee. She latched and done everything she was supposed to do, but my body just wouldn't let it happen. Super long story short, my milk ducts were clogged so badly that even a hospital grade pump could only get half an ounce to one ounce of milk total within a 30 minute pumping session! I pumped every 2 hours for 30 minutes as instructed by my OB, and at 6 weeks post-partum my milk just dried up completely. So, not everyone is capable of breastfeeding!
 
Asher completed our family, as we don't plan to have anymore children at this point. With that said, I was determined to breastfeed and make it happen with baby number 2! I wanted to experience and feel the bond that I've always heard other Moms talk about. To have the ability to feed him anytime anywhere without the hassle of carrying around formula and warm water for making him a bottle. Not to mention, how amazing and nutritional breast milk is in the first place for my little guy. So, while I was pregnant I researched anything breastfeeding related because no matter what, it was going to work for me this time.
 
I can't even begin to tell you how completely opposite my breastfeeding experience has been with Asher compared to Kaylee. Absolutely reversed. My milk came in quick at 3 days after Asher was born. I've only had a couple of issues concerning my supply dropping, but those have been resolved. Around 4 weeks post-partum I started running a fever, and couldn't let Asher nurse one my right side because it was painful to the touch. I scheduled an appointment with my OB/GYN, and found I had an infection that was well on it's was to becoming mastitis. The doctor prescribed the most amazing cream, and within an hour of use the pain subsided. The first six week were tough, but I pushed past them and it's been a breeze since. Giving up wasn't an option, but it definitely crossed my mind a time or two within those initial few weeks. It's hard, painful, and takes significant patience, but totally worth every single second!
Pumping 100% down right sucks, and I hate it with a passion. This is the one and only part of breastfeeding that I despise. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to stay home with Asher instead of coming back to work had to do with pumping. I hate all of the parts and pieces that have to be washed and cleaned after every use. It's freakin' expensive up front when buying everything you need. Pumping every 2-3 hours to keep my supply while I'm away from him sucks. It's one of those "if you don't use it, you lose it" kind of things. Supply and demand. The more you pump/nurse the more your body will produce for baby.
 
I wanted to share some of my favorite finds and helpful products as a first time breastfeeding Mom. 
 
Nursing Pillow
Instead of going and buying another pillow, I just wrapped my pregnancy body pillow around myself and used that. It worked out perfectly positioning Asher as well as giving him the support he needed in the beginning.
Lactation Cookies
These cookies are soo delicious!! I had a handful of friends recommend trying these for boosting my milk supply. I ate 1-2 cookies a day, and could tell about a 2oz difference in my supply. Plus, they're 100x better than the Mother's Milk Tea, in my opinion. Milkmakers has an oatmeal raisin cookie too if you don't like chocolate chip. Personally, I'm not a fan of raisin so I always stuck with the chocolate chip. Who doesn't like chocolate anyways? I definitely could have easily went through an entire box in one sitting... they were that good!
   Lansinoh Nipple Cream
This is the cream I was gifted at our baby shower, and it's also used and samples given at our hospital post delivery. Therefore, I never tried any other brand because this one worked well for me. Between the one bottle gifted to me, and the samples that the hospital sent home, I never had to go and buy any for myself. A little goes a long way!
Medela Pump In Style Breast Pump
I've already stated how much I hate pumping, but since I have to do it, this is my favorite pump hand down. I gave the Ameda Purely Yours Pump a try, and the suction was awful to me. The Ameda was used about 4 times until it crashed and completely stopped working on me. Friends of mine have used and loved it, but it just wasn't for me. The Medela has amazing suction, and is worth the money spent. It's still going strong after 7 months of use, and I have yet to have any problems with it (knock on wood).
Dr Brown's 8oz Bottles
When my supply began to increase I had to switch from the 5oz to the 8oz bottles. I found out the Dr. Brown's bottles fit to the Medela pump, and are a few dollars cheaper than the Medela 8oz bottle packs. Score! I only use these bottles for the pump because Asher is picky when it comes to bottles, and he won't take one of these. Go figure. Little man has that expensive sense of taste already.
Stella Nursing Bra
A few weeks before having Asher, I went to Target in search of a good nursing bra. I like the style of a sports bra, and wanted something with enough support to wear for exercising after baby. I found the Stella Nursing bra, and haven't bought another. I purchased 2, one black and one nude. They're exceptionally comfortable, can be worn with any kind of blouse/dress, have great support for a seamless wireless bra, and priced at a steal.
Felicity Slimming Nursing Cami
I wear tanks under everything, and have done so since high school. I love that there's a nursing tank option for breastfeeding Moms, and the added "slimming" is a plus! Another favorite from Target at an affordable price.  
Lansinoh Storage Bags
These storage bags for your milk have great reviews, and they're also the only brand I've used thus far. To this day, I've stored over 1,500oz of milk in my freezer, and have only had ONE bag leak on me! I honestly think that one was due to "user error" on my end because I didn't have problems with any other bag in that box. It was probably one of those 3am pump sessions where I was half asleep when I sealed the bag. Ha. Although it wasn't funny losing 5oz of liquid gold... I definitely cried over spilled milk for the first time in my life! I have found these bags to be cheaper at Target as opposed to Babies R Us.
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
Definitely a must have for the working Mom that breastfeeds! In fact, I'm using mine right now while I'm blogging/working. This is pretty self explanatory, but I love how I'm able to keep working on a project in my office while I pump. While at work, I usually pump 3-4 times a day with each pumping session lasting at least 20 minutes. I love that I can still get my work done because that hour and twenty minutes daily adds up quick! I also used this while I was home as well while I washed dishes, folded the clothes, etc.
So, those are my favorite finds and must haves for the breastfeeding Mom. I've also joined a number of breastfeeding groups through social media, and they've helped greatly with any questions I've had and tips in general on the topic. They're a very supportive group of ladies to have along this journey for sure!
Always remember, you're doing a fantastic job! It's a tough one and so worth it. Enjoy every second of this time because it really does go by so quickly! Asher and I just made it to 8 months of exclusive breastfeeding. As crazy as it sounds, I miss those first few months of 30+ minute nursing sessions. He gets easily distracted now and usually lasts for 5-7 minutes total before he's done. My breastfeeding goal is a year, but would ultimately love to make it to 2 full years.
 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Asher Graham - 7 Month Update

Happy 7 Months Sweet Boy!
 The Details
Asher weighs 20.5 pounds, and is
measuring almost 28 inches in length.
He is currently wearing 6-9 months in
clothes, along with a size 3 in diapers.
 
This month has been a busy one for
our little guy! He's officially crawling
all over the place, and likes to crawl
to the couch, ottoman, side table, and
TV stand, grab whatever he can and pull
himself up into a standing position. He's
recently gotten brave to the point of
letting go just to see how long he can
balance before falling down! A few times
now he has let go of the ottoman, turned
himself around, and taken the 2 steps
needed to grab the couch to walk
along the side of it. He has now learned to
wave "bye-bye" when we leave places.
Asher had two bottom teeth come
up right after he turned 7 months old.
Teething has been no joke with this
little guy, and I've felt so bad for the
pain he's going through and down right
helpless at times.
 He's moved up to 5oz of milk and is
nursing/taking a bottle every 3-4
hours along with one solid for lunch
everyday. Still hasn't slept through the
night like he did from 8-12 weeks old.
He'll wake up 2-3 times a night to nurse
for about five or so minutes, and I'm
completely fine with that. I've gotten
on a routine at this point, and plus
that's our time since I'm back
at work now.

This has been a great month filled
with many of his FIRSTS! I just
wish so badly that I had the ability
to freeze time because the months
are flying by, and soon he won't be
considered an "infant" anymore.
We're loving every second spent with
our little guy though!

I believe we will have a walker soon.
Asher wants to get up and go so badly!
He wants to go and follow his Sissy
everywhere, and he can't get to her
fast enough. It won't be much longer.
I'm not ready for him to walk and lose
all of his chubby baby rolls!

Bye-bye from Asher
 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Asher Graham - 6 Month Update

Happy 6 Months Sweet Boy!
The Details
Asher weighs 19.14 pounds, and is
measuring 27 inches in length. His head
measured 43cm in circumference. He is
mostly in 6 month clothes, and some 6-9 months.
He's still fitting in a size 3 diaper.
 
This month he has really started clapping,
and realizing his hands are making a noise.
He claps all of the time now, and will just
watch what his hands are doing and the
sound it makes.
 
We've finally found the first food that he isn't
a fan of... asparagus. I think it's more of a
texture thing as opposed to the taste because
he will eat it and doesn't spit it out, but makes this
certain face when he takes a bite. So, we'll try it out
again in a few weeks, and see how it goes.
His six month check-up went very good.
The shots were the same as usual. This
time he and his sister both had their
healthy check-ups scheduled together.
Our doctor talked and played with Kaylee
for a while before making her way to Asher.
It was his nap time so he started getting
fussy at the end of Kaylee's check-up. So,
by the time it was his turn he was over it
before it even began. He's a healthy little
guy and growing perfectly. His next
appointment is at 9 months, and he doesn't
have to get any shots. Thank goodness!
 
Last night I checked his gums because
of all the teething he's been doing, and
there is a slit with the tip of the tooth almost
pushing through... he's going to have his
FIRST tooth within a few days!! It's
bittersweet for me. I'm not sure how to
feel. I'll definitely miss that gummy little
smile of his, and it means he's growing
and getting bigger. I just want him to stay
baby forever.
I believe we're going to have a crawler
on our hands very soon too. For the past
2 weeks now he has been getting on
all fours and rocking back and forth.
This week he has started getting into
a push-up position - trying to figure out
how to make himself move. He's also
almost pushing himself up to sit up
all on his own. He will roll somewhere,
and then lay on his side and push up
with his arm to try sitting himself up.
He's almost got that one figured out.
Asher learns more and more by the
day, and it amazes me.

Monday, November 9, 2015

One. Year.

One.

It has been...
One year since we exchanged our vows,
 One year since I walked down the aisle,
One year since we said, "I do",
and an entire
356 days spent loving you.
God knew what he was doing when he had our
paths cross all of those years ago. I thank Him
daily for choosing to place you in my life. I'm
so excited for the roads He will be guiding
us down during our lifetime together. 
We've had many blessings just in this first
year alone, and I'm excited for what's in 
store in our years to come.
Thank you for being my person, and
walking beside me in this life. 
I love you infinity and beyond!
 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Essentials and Favorites for Baby #2

Things have changed and evolved so much since Kaylee was a baby... updated versions of toys she once had, things you are and aren't supposed to do, bath/lotion products, swings, you name it. Friends and other Mom's have asked what some of my baby favorite products and essentials are for Asher.
 
So, today I wanted to share some of my favorites and must haves for this new little fella in my life.
 
The mamaRoo
This thing is quite possibly the greatest invention for babies... like EVER!
Asher slept so much better and for longer periods in this than he
would in his bassinet. Absolutely worth every single penny!
We bought the plush insert to go with it, and actually used it in his
car seat as well to act as the head and body cushion.
 
Burt's Bees Shampoo & Wash
I love all of the Burt's Bees bath essentials. Asher always smells just like honey
after bath time. I use it in conjunction with their calming lotion and baby oil.
These are without a doubt my favorite bath time products,
and they're safe and all natural!
Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddles
The softest swaddle blankets yet! So many friends recommended that we must
get these for Asher, and they couldn't have been more right. We've used these to
swaddle Asher in since he was born. The muslin fabric is amazing, and the blankets
get softer with every wash! We were lucky enough to be gifted 2 sets at our baby
shower, and have purchased a couple since. I love that there are so
many prints to choose from, and how durable these blankets
really are. These are definitely a MUST for moms-to-be!
 
The Honest Company - Diapers
As if I didn't love Jessica Alba enough already, and then she created and founded
 The Honest Company. Bringing Mom's all over natural, safe, and eco-friendly
products for your little one(s) as well as your home. I decided to try the
Honest diapers when Asher was 2 months, and really loved them. The prints
are fun and cute, and the company offers "bundles" on their products. I've
bundled the diapers and wipes and it's only $80 per month. That's a great
deal for me because I take a box to the sitter to last her, and keep
boxes for our house too. Jessica Alba has really created a great company,
with amazing products for home and baby.
 
Zebra Toy Bar
Another "worth the money" piece. Asher isn't a fan of the car seat,
and hasn't been from day 1. I purchased this while I was browsing
and shopping in Babies R Us, and it has been a lifesaver! In the
beginning he would just stare at it, and it would keep him calm while
in his car seat. As he got bigger, he would start reaching and grabbing it,
and now he will gnaw on the dangling lion pieces. It keep him
busy and entertained while in the car for sure.
Alphabet Activity Mat
Asher began tummy time within the first week of being born.
We started out slow with 5 minutes at a time and progressed as
he got bigger. I've always used his activity mat for tummy time,
it's perfect for just that. Around 6 weeks he would push up and stare
down at the colors and animals, and gradually begun grabbing at the toys
and moving in circles around the mat. Now he rolls over to grab  
whichever toy he wants, and gnaws on the bars that hold the mat up.
At 6 months, he's beginning to outgrow this little mat. It's almost time to
move on to a large alphabet foam mat because this kid rolls
all over the living room to get to whatever he wants.
Como Tomo Baby Bottles
I breastfeed, and Asher didn't take a bottle until 6 week before
I returned to work. He only takes a bottle when he is with the
sitter during the week. We had originally purchased the Tommee Tippee
bottles, and he wouldn't take them for anything. He hated them,
and preferred the real deal. I was so worried he wouldn't take a bottle,
and I had introduced them too late. I searched blogs and Pinterest for the best
bottles used for breastfed babies, and the Como Tomo was at the top of
every list I found. So, I purchased the set of 2, and the very first time we tried
using this bottle he took it with no problem what so ever! I highly recommend
this set to any breastfeeding Mom's who have to use a bottle.
Crane Cool Mist Monkey Humidifier
We have had to use this humidifier on two separate occasions now.
It has worked wonders with clearing up Asher's congestion within 1-2
nights of using it. It holds enough water to run continuously for
twenty-four hours. I add 10 drops of Eucalyptus oil each time I fill
his humidifier up, and let it run all night next to his bed.
Ingenuity 2-in-1 Booster Seat
This little booster seat has really helped greatly with Asher learning
to sit up, and prepare his back and posture. I began using this
around his 3 month mark. I'd let him play and have tummy time, then
sit him in this chair to watch one of his tv shows. He loves being
able to sit up along side his sister. Now, I attach the tray and use it
when it's time for him to eat his food. I love how it straps to the chair
at our table, and he will be able to sit with us while we eat dinner. I
knew I didn't want to get a highchair because those just take up too
much space. I definitely wanted to find something more compact that
would save space, and this booster seat is perfect! I've gotten so many
great uses out of it already.
Tula Road Trip Carrier
I've barrowed a friends Tula carrier a few times, and absolutely love it!
I finally decided to bite the bullet and spend the money on one for myself.
It really is a great investment because it will grow with your child and can
support up to 45 pounds! It distributes the weight evenly, and is designed
where it won't hurt your back. It can be worn both forward and
backwards. I'm buying one for Asher next week on payday! I love
baby wearing, and he loves being close, so it works perfectly.
 
That about completes my list of favorites along with some essential pieces needed for my little guy. I can't recommend each one of these products enough for a new baby. They most definitely help to make my life a bit easier with Asher. I'd love to hear what some of your favorites things are for your little one(s).  
 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Asher Graham - 5 Month Update

Happy 5 Months Sweet Boy!
The Details
Asher weighs 18 pounds and is
measuring 26 inches in length. He
is still in a few size 3-6 month, but
mostly in size 6 month clothes now.
This month his little booty has
moved up to a size 3 in diapers.
 
Asher is now sitting up on his own
with minimal to no help. He will
still fall over sometimes depending
on just how far he leans to the side.
It's cute to watch though because
he looks like a little roly poly. He's
now figured out how to put his foot
up to his mouth and suck on his big toe!
Our little dude said his very first
word while we were in Publix..."Dada".
Everyday for almost 6 months now
I've been working on "Mama", and
of course he would say the D word
first! It was Kaylee's too. I was
able to catch it on video, but you have
to listen real closely for "Dada".
Now he says it ALL the time!
For turning 5 months, this little
guy got to try his first solid food.
I pureed him an avocado mixed with
my milk. Lets just say he's totally a fan
of solids! I've been so excited to make
his food, and start this next
baby stage.
He's starting to pay more attention
to the BabyFirst channel when
I have it playing during tummy
time. His favorite shows are
Tec the Tractor and Hide and Seek.
He will literally lough out loud,
giggle, and stop whatever he is 
doing to watch either of these shows.
Watching his reaction to each
is seriously the cutest thing.
Little man is teething like
crazy, and I can finally see
white near the top of his bottom
gums! So, it won't be much
longer until we have that first
tooth come through. It's a
bittersweet feeling because that
means he's getting bigger, and
I love that gummy smile so much! 
This month has been a fun one with
so many firsts and milestones.
The months are passing us by so
quickly. I miss my itty bitty baby,
but love watching him grow and
developing a personality.
 ... and just like that he's over this
5 month photo session...
 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween Fun 2015

Our Halloween was spent with family and friends like usual. My Aunt hosts a Halloween party at her house each year, and that's where we spent our Friday night.
{My Mom and I}
Kaylee chooses what she wants to be for Halloween, and I always choose mine to go with her themed costume. We've taken the award home for "Best Costume" 2 years in a row. My sister-in-law and I won best costume for our "Toddlers and Tiaras" and Kyle won most creative being a "One-Nightstand". The next year Kaylee and I won best costume for "Alice and the Mad Hatter".
 
This year we have Asher, so we made it a family affair. We planned for Asher to be Batman, Kaylee chose to be Robin, and I was going to be Cat Woman. Well, the girls version of Robin wasn't sold in any of our local stores, and we didn't have enough time to have it shipped via online purchase... So, she decided to go with a Spider Girl costume instead. I bought cat ears and a tail for myself and threw on a black long shirt with a pair of leggings, and Asher's outfit was a gift from our baby shower that fit just perfect!
Kaylee decided that playing with all of her friends was so much more important than taking any pictures, BUT I was able to get one with her in it. Go figure the only picture I have with her in it would have a glare in Asher's eye! Oh well though the superheroes are together, and it's better than no photo at all.
Asher on the other hand isn't big enough to argue when I ask to take pictures. So, I was able to get a few with him until he decided he was over it. K doesn't close his shop until 7pm, so he arrived about an hour after we did. He wore his zombie mask again this year... 
  I was so worried that Asher would be terrified of the mask, but he actually laughed at it and then reached for the dang thing. He definitely doesn't take after his Momma when it comes to "scary" things! I'm a total wimp that just so happens to be afraid of everything. No lie.
One of his baby friends came dressed as a superhero as well. They were so cute, and kept checking one another out. It was precious. Superman and Batman were so funny. Asher's a little unsure at first, and then he decides he likes him. Ha!
Unfortunately this year we didn't win the award for "Best Costume", and lost that title... Next year it's on though! I'll plan in advance like I usually do because by then I'll have this whole Mom of 2 thing down. Hopefully. Although Kaylee and I didn't bring home the prize, Asher did get the "Hunkiest Costume" award. He was a pretty chunky Batman... I mean hunky.
... and then he decided he was hungry, and figured out the award wasn't giving him what he was looking for! Superheroes have to eat too, ya know. So I nursed him right there in the living room during the party. I'm all for normalizing breastfeeding. Little dude ate, was done partying, and passed out for the night.
We went trick-or-treating around my brother and sister-in-law's subdivision Halloween night. It's a huge neighborhood so we made it down 4 different streets within the subdivision before Kaylee was done. It got dark out faster than expected so I wasn't able to get any pictures with my phone. After we finished trick-or-treating, we walked back to their house to enjoy a big pot of chili and some football. My brother surprised us with frying up some gator tail, scallops, and fish that were off the chain. It doesn't get much better than that!  
 
It was a great weekend with my zombie and little superheroes. I can't wait for Halloween next year when Asher is able to walk around with his big sister!