Friday, September 19, 2014

Breast Crawl - Do All Babies Have the Instinct?

So...as you can imagine, Elegant Mommy is a-buzz with three of us getting ready to welcome our sweet little ones into the world soon.

We are all (obviously) planning to breastfeed our littles, and even though we've all done it before and have been promoting breastfeeding for years, I thought it would be kinda awesome to watch some initial breastfeeding videos on YouTube. Well, there are a ton of them as you might imagine.

One in particular I found stuck out to me because as a doula (and a mom with two very different kinds of births) I've seen first hand the effect that medications administered during labor can have on newborns and initial breastfeeding.

I found this video and study-findings very interesting and thought you might too.

So, take a look and let us know if you have experienced any of this with your babies or if it rings true to you.



I'm looking so forward to breastfeeding again...whether you are nursing your sweet babe now or will be soon (like me!), I pray your initial breastfeeding got off to a great start (or will!).

Happy breastfeeding
~Evie

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cloth Diapers....The Easy Way


With THREE of us expecting babies here at Elegant Mommy (Shelly, Stacy & I), you can imagine how we are all preparing for our precious little ones' arrivals. (They are all due within the next month and a half, and we can hardly believe our times are so near!)

One of the things we are doing is stocking up on our cloth diaper stashes! We all need to make sure we have what we need, in the amounts that we need.

Clearly the three of us have a bit of an advantage, working for Elegant Mommy. We live and breathe cloth diapers on a very regular basis, whether or not we are currently using them for littles (at the moment none of us are since our youngest are all well out of dipes, but give us a few weeks ;) ).

But what about everyone else? What about you? What about your sister or friend who is wanting to start using cloth? Where do you even begin?

Well, the first thing you should do is check out this blog post from Bummis. It goes through six ways to be an instant success at cloth diapering. Seriously. Read it. Right now ;)

The next thing you can do is check out our monthly class, Cloth Diapering 101 - it's usually offered the first Saturday of each month.

And, as always, stop into the store *anytime*. We are here to help! We are all experienced cloth diaper users (several employees are even still using them on their littles) and we all love sharing our expertise with anyone who needs it. It's what we are here for!

So....happy fluff-ing!

~Evie

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ready or Not, The Baby's Comin'

Well, we are here.

I've only got about a month-ish left of this pregnancy, fall is in the air (hooray!!!!!!), and we've started homeschool for the year. Not only that, but I've gotten a *really* good start on my to-do list before baby arrives. This list was SO overwhelming when I wrote it. It's a full page of things like "clean out the classroom/office/sewing room that has become the junk room over the summer", "shampoo the rugs" and "wash and oil all the kitchen cupboards" - oh, and we can't forget "clean up the landscaping and transplant peonies". Sheesh.
37 Weeks!

I am in no mood, nor do I have the energy to actually tackle it all on my own. Enter my awesome family and friends.

My mom and brother's girlfriend came the week before we started school and helped us clean out, organize, and overall de-clutter the school room. Thank you Jesus for them! I wish I would have taken a before picture. But then you would have seen the "hoarding-esque" nature of what the room had become. I'm so not kidding - it had gotten so bad that I literally had to ask my husband to move the big heavy things away from my sewing table so I could sew anything. Also? I hadn't used my office desk all summer long and much of the spring (it was too cluttered) - I had just parked at the dining room table and let that collect all my office stuff instead. Of course, that means that I had papers, magazines, office stuff, and just general clutter in not only the "junk room" and covering my desk, but also in the dining room so we couldn't even eat at our table. Ridiculous.

Then mom came back and cleaned and oiled all my cupboards while I cleaned up the dining room and shampooed rugs. It was wonderful! My bestie even came and helped me go through all our baby clothes so I could wash what's needed and feel a little more organized in that regard.

My brother is making a clothes line for me, my husband is doing some fix-it stuff around the house, and I'm just overflowing with blessings from people who care about me. My sister is even talking about coming down and doing my hair before the baby comes (she's a super-awesome cosmetologist from Watertown).

So, with all that done and out of the way, some things checked off the list in-between all that big stuff, and only a few really big things yet to do, I'm feeling relatively ready for the baby. Sure, I still have to get my diaper stash washed, organized and figure out what I still need, and I also need to do some things to prepare for the actual birth, but I'm overall feeling pretty good about things, and relatively organized - even if I likely won't get our room painted. Sigh.

Am I all the sudden super-mom and awesomely prepared for everything, organized and all? Not even
close. Do I feel like things are coming together and we can get through the arrival of a tiny new addition to our family who will likely turn our routines and daily lives completely upside down? You bet. I at least have some clothes and blankets washed for him or her, and luckily my mom will be around and willing/able to do school with the kids on the days Randall can't, and I'm working hard to get everything prepared on the work front so I can take a little time off.

Since contractions (real ones, not just the normal and constant Braxton Hicks) began last weekend and I'm 37 weeks, I think it's finally starting to sink in for real that this baby is coming sooner than later. I don't have months left anymore - it's more like weeks. I'm still quite certain that he/she won't grace us with their presence until about 41 or 42 weeks, but it's all the sudden very real.

I feel like my body is really revving up for the big show, and I'm just sitting here praying that doesn't actually happen until after October 3. I've got almost every single day mapped out with something planned until then.

So, baby Jellybean, if you could just hold on until then, I'll be most grateful!

Ok - I really need to get going and keep checking things off my list...for work and home. And if anyone really likes to weed or do landscaping, let me know - I'd totally take your help (I'll give you some peonies)! *wink*

~Evie

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Parenting is Hard!



What an adventure!

We have about a week and a half of our homeschool under our belt for this year and I can already see some things that are potentially going to be challenging.

What am I saying? Some things that *are* challenging already.

The thing is, I highly doubt that it's only moms that are home with their kids all.the.time that deal with some of these challenges. My guess is that you might be dealing with them too. So....here goes.

Screen time.
Like any other mom, I want as little screen time for our kids as possible. I've read the "Screen time is the devil!" articles.  I know how my kids act when they get too much of it. I get that there are some scary statistics out there of how much time kids these days spend in front of screens, how detrimental it can be, etc.

We've started the school year out pretty well, but I gotta say - limiting screen time is definitely a challenge. For one, we use an online curriculum. Our 6 year old learned to read online, reads books online (as well as physical ones, but her "schooling" is online), is currently (as I'm typing this) doing copywork from an online Bible, and has a lot of screen time just to do all her school subjects. Same with our 4 year old, though I'm just doing some super-short preschool activities with him daily. So, since his school takes up so little time, he's always looking for things to do while big sister does her school. He's done a really great job keeping himself occupied so far, but I don't know how many weeks/months he'll be into playing Cootie, Dominoes, and coloring non-school things by himself. As I'm typing this he's playing a game on the Kindle. Granted, it's educational, but still. Gah. It's so hard!

So, I guess I'm just going to have to continue to do my best but not beat myself up over screen time. It's definitely a challenge in this world, but as long as I keep a balance of sorts it's ok. Right? Someone tell me I'm right, please! ;)

Independence.
So this isn't an issue with our son yet, but it's pretty easy for our sweet little miss and I to butt heads on things. Often.

She's hit an age (and growing into her personality) where she definitely has her own ideas of how things should be, how she should be expected to do them, and she really doesn't like me giving her my input. Which is a bit of an issue with homeschooling and me being her main teacher. (I think she enjoys it when her daddy is around to teach her instead of me, but maybe I'm just being too sensitive - ha!)

Anyway, we have had several conversations about her attitude, about how she's expected to respect me, how certain things she says and attitudes she has simply are not acceptable, and how there will be consequences for those things if she doesn't change her actions.

So far so good. I want her to be independent. I really do. But at 6 years old she still needs guidance, and I'm doing my very best not to squash her independent spirit. I want her to think of different ways to do things. But I want her to be open to *all* possible ways of doing things...even if some of those ideas are coming from me and she really doesn't want to hear them :)

Focus.
This isn't really about our son. Again, it pertains to our precious oldest.

I was so totally like her in this area when I was her age that I honestly don't know what to do about it. Maybe there's really nothing to do but what I'm doing and just wait for this phase to pass. We've tried breaks, moving on to different things, etc, etc. But sometimes it is just extremely difficult for her to stay focused on a particular task. I for sure would never want her not to daydream or doodle like any other 6 year old. But, when I'm sitting right next to her and trying to get her to read through something and she absolutely can't seem to finish it, I have a very hard time not getting irritated.

I'm doing my best, and I know she is too. There are simply some things that are more difficult to deal with than others. This is one of those things for me. Please don't judge. I know she's just a little kid and she shouldn't be expected to have to do any one thing for too long. It doesn't change the fact that I find it crazy annoying.
___________________________________

I'm sure that when our little Jellybean makes his or her appearance in the next several weeks we will be presented with a whole new list of challenges in our routines, schooling, and just general overall life. But for now, I'm just going to do my best to be very very happy that we have the opportunity to school our children, that I get to be home with them and work from here.

Is it always easy? Heck no. But, by doing what I'm doing, I get to be the main source of our kids' encouragement, I get to teach them all kinds of stuff that they won't learn from books (or online curriculum). I get to be their first teacher (as ALL moms are), and I love every minute of it. Even the annoying and challenging ones.

So, whether you homeschool, send your kids to public or private school, or maybe your kids aren't in school yet. Whether you work outside the home, from home, or don't have a job other than the utmost important job of raising your precious children, just know that you are NOT alone! This whole parenting thing? It's HARD! Hang in there, continue to believe and KNOW that you are the absolute best parent for your child(ren), and that you and only you know what's best for your family.

And if you are in need of a little support, don't hesitate to seek out some advice from your "village". If you need a village, let us know! We are here for you - you've got this, mama!

~Evie

Friday, August 29, 2014

Breastmilk - It's What's for Dinner (for Baby)

Well, another World Breastfeeding Month has come and is now coming to an end.

To finish up the month, I've found a bunch of infographics and fun breastfeeding graphics that I'd like to share with you. Some are for encouragement in your breastfeeding journey, some are to make you laugh, and some are for great information about the benefits of breastfeeding. I found all of these either on Facebook or Pinterest.

Happy nursing - and keep it up mama, you are doing a GREAT job!!










~Evie

Monday, August 25, 2014

Certified Bra-Fitters....What Does That Mean?

Did you know that every one of our in-store employees is a Bravado Certified Bra-Fitter? Even if you did know, do you know what that actually means? And what difference does it make anyway? You just need a nursing bra, right? Does having the right size actually make that big a difference?

Well, let me start out by saying that having a nursing bra that fits you perfectly is absolutely essential!


Take it from me. I'm a rather well-endowed woman, and I really had no idea how much the size of my breasts would fluctuate during pregnancy, the first few days after birth, and even through the next months of nursing. During all my pregnancies my bra size increased at least a full cup and rib size. After my babies were born (both times), I was so engorged when my milk "came in" that my breasts actually looked plastic. Talk about painful.

After a couple months of finding our nursing "rhythm", I finally got to a somewhat "regular" size. Those first couple months, though, weren't easy. Depending on what side my baby ate on first, how long it had been since she/he had eaten, etc, my size varied greatly.

I was fortunate and never dealt with plugged milk ducts or mastitis, but those are very real issues that can turn up, especially if you have an ill-fitting bra. Continuous pressure in a single spot can cause a plugged milk duct, and if it doesn't get drained it can lead to mastitis. Both are very painful and difficult things to deal with when you have a newborn that depends on you for complete care!

Because of this, a bra that fits right is simply essential. I didn't know all these things, and looking back I wish that I had known more about well-fitting bras. This time around is definitely going to be different! :)

I have at my disposal (AND SO DO YOU!!), Bravado Certified Bra-Fitters at Elegant Mommy. Everyone who works in the store has gone through Bravado's course and passed a rigorous test to become certified to help us all get fitted correctly. Elegant Mommy *cares* about our breastfeeding relationships with our babies, and wants to help us all have the most successful experience possible.

By having a well-fitting nursing bra our chances of getting a plugged milk duct or mastitis drastically goes down, thereby helping our breastfeeding relationships with our babies flourish!



So, if you are needing a nursing bra, look no further than Elegant Mommy. No appointment is necessary. Just stop on in anytime during regular business hours and get the service you've come to expect from our awesome team!

Happy nursing!

~Evie

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Time to Update Our Cover Photo!


Who is ready for a contest?


It's time for us to update our Cover Picture on Facebook again, and we want to give you a chance to show off some of your best snapshots/pics (that you have copyrights to, of course!). They don't need to be professional...just whatever great shots you have!


What kind of pictures are we looking for?


Basically, any great picture that displays what we are about..."From your baby bump to your baby's rump, we've got you covered". So, any cute belly bump, cloth diaper, breastfeeding, baby wearing, birth, or sweet baby pictures are what we are looking for!


How do you enter? It's EASY!


Just make sure to "like"our Facebook page (Elegant Mommy) and then just send me an email with your favorite picture(s)! (Please limit your submissions to 3 or less) 


Who will choose the winners?


The Elegant Mommies will choose the finalists, and then there will be opportunity for all of our followers/readers to vote for their favorites! 


The details:


Send your picture to me at media@elegantmommy.com by noon on Thursday, August 21. Don't forget to "like" our Facebook page! Finalists will be chosen by August 25, and voting for the winners will take place through Thursday, August 28. Watch our Elegant Mommy Facebook page for information on how to cast your vote and when voting will start (voting will take place on our Facebook page).


Good luck, and we can't wait to see your great pics!!


~Evie