Wednesday, November 30, 2011

L is for 'Lessons Learned'

            They say that when a door closes another one opens.  My son is living proof of that saying.  A year ago at Thanksgiving time, I had a job I was starting to despise.  I worked either too much or too little and nothing would make the bosses happy.  Truthfully, I was at the point of going to work just for the good money I was making just because I was planning my Labor Day wedding for 2011. 

            The Friday before Thanksgiving, I was let go.  The weird thing was I was not upset.  I just wondered how I was going to be able to pay the bills for the wedding.  As I left, I immediately informed my fiancĂ© that I was coming to his parents’ home for Thanksgiving.  He was excited to see me but also wondered how we were to pay for our wedding as I was making more money between the two of us.

            January 12, 2011, I learned I was pregnant with my son.  His due date was August 12.  Three weeks before the wedding date.  Our plans were changed, and we married in April.  

            During this pregnancy, I tried to find work and was not very successful until my last two months of pregnancy.  It was also during this time I truly learned the saying’s meaning.  While looking for work, I took care of my niece who was born in January, returned to school and brought my GPA up considerably, and fell in love with the occupation of being a stay at home mother.

            I have the loss of this job to thank because if I maintained this job, I would not have my son here today playing peek-a-boo with his giraffe named Bubbles as I write this blog and talking to me when I miss one too many of his peeks.  I would also not be in school finishing my degree, nor would I know what a wonderful blessing it is to stay home and care for my child and know I will never miss a major milestone because I am here to see it.

            I have always heard those wise sayings but never truly paid attention to their truths until my son’s arrival forced my eyes open to seeing them and reflecting upon my life over the past 25 years and remembering how many of them were proven true but I did not see it.

            The next time I have a loss, I will give it the time to grieve the loss but I will also look and see what new opportunities are available for me to take advantage of in thanks of the new loss.  “Do not cry because it ended, smile because it happened.”  has become my new mantra when it comes to losses. 

            As strange as it is, I am thankful that I learned to be thankful for losses great and small over the past year and it is all in thanks to my 3-month-old son.

By Eryn

Monday, November 28, 2011

November Giveaways - Week 4

Enter now to win our last $25 Gift Card to Elegant Mommy!!!

How do you enter? Well, to enter this week you need to comment on this blog post (**Make sure to enter your name in the comment, too - especially if you are an "anonymous" comment-er**), or on the Elegant Mommy or Educated Mommy facebook page giveaway posts.

What do you need to say in your comment?

Tell us your four favorite things about winter

Yep, it's that easy. Just tell us your four favorite things about winter and you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Elegant Mommy! The winner will be drawn on Friday afternoon around 4:00 pm CST.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

U is for 'Unpredictable'

When you think of the word thankful, negatives don’t usually come to mind. All the stress, bad luck, hardships and heartbreak are not usually the first things you think of. When I found out I was pregnant my whole world changed.  My once very predictable life changed tenfold.  Needless to say I was far from ready for it.  I wasn’t ready for the UNPREDICTABLE battle I was about to endure.

I found out I was pregnant in January a few years back; I had just gotten back from a girls weekend out of town. I had been taking a test a few days before my expected period for almost 6 months, only to have a negative every time. My husband and I were not preventing pregnancy. When I took the test I treated it as it was already going to be a negative like all the tests I had taken before. So I left it on the counter and went about my daily routine. I was shocked to get that + sign when I finally looked at the test! I was pregnant; I was going to be a mom! It was my dream come true. The only thing I had wanted in life since I could remember was to be a mom.  I had all these images of being this perfect mom, always put together and the mom other moms wanted to be. I was going to do it all, be the best mom and wife I could be, I wasn’t going to raise my voice to my kid, lose my temper or anything. (Go ahead and laugh) I would have this perfect family. I sailed through pregnancy and even had an easy labor, and delivery. I had this mom thing down….it wasn’t till my daughter was actually in my arms that I was hit with reality.

I didn’t love my baby the moment they laid her on my chest. I didn’t love her the first time I nursed her. I didn’t love her the entire time we were in the hospital. The feelings of overwhelming love didn’t arrive until we were home from the hospital. For a very long time I felt so guilty that I felt so indifferent about my child. I still cannot explain why I didn’t feel that immediate bond. It obviously did eventually show up and we were inseparable. Part of the reason we were inseparable was because I was also the only one who could calm her, I was breastfeeding, I was stay at home mom, I was everything to her and it was exhausting.  My husband turned out to be not as hands on and as involved as I thought he would be.  There were many nights I would be upstairs consoling a crying baby while he was downstairs with the TV louder than normal to drown her cries. That created a lot of resentment and anger towards him. He had every excuse on why he “couldn’t” help. He couldn’t feed her because I was nursing, he hated the cloth diapers and he had no idea how to use a baby carrier even though I had showed him countless times how to use it. Our marriage grew strained and we started to fight all the time. I wanted to go to marriage counseling and he wanted me to get on medication for depression so he didn’t have to get “yelled at all the time.”  He would ignore my “honey-do” lists and requests for help around the house stating because he went out and worked, and I stayed home the housework was my job.

Along with a strained marriage, also came a very strong willed infant/toddler; I won’t call her difficult, instead I will use “spirited.” She tested my patience like no one else had done before. I unfortunately often got furious at her for certain small misbehaviors. I took a lot of stress out on her.  I was exhausted, I couldn’t wait to hand her off to my husband and escape to the grocery store or target and wander up and down every aisle just for time alone. I was beginning to dislike my own child. I loved her, but I didn’t like her. She was so well behaved for other people but with me she was a monster. She didn’t sleep; she would wake up every 45 minutes to an hour every night. My husband would not get up with her and if I made him it usually ended up in a huge fight, which would last for a few more hours. My dreams of being this perfect wife and mother were shattered and I felt defeated.

On top of that I hadn’t gotten use to my post baby body. I didn’t have the time or the energy to put any thought into my wardrobe. I wore stained t-shirts, jeans or sweatpants every day threw my unwashed hair into a pony tail and skipped make up all together. This only caused me more anxiety because before kids I would never leave the house without my hair done and wearing at least mascara.

I reached out to people who were also moms, went on online forums trying to make connections. I still didn’t know anyone in our area even though I had lived here now for almost 3 years. The friendships I found with other moms were not true friendships. There was always the competition of whose kid did this or they always seemed to try to “one-up” each other. And the gossip and trash talking that went on was unbearable. I fell into their toxic pattern and my stress mounted. If I shared personal struggles with one of them all of a sudden all of them knew my business.  I was no better. I gossiped about them as well.  I eventually couldn’t take it anymore and my “friends” and I had a falling out. I was back to being an isolated stay at home mom with a child I didn’t even like, and a marriage to a man I didn’t even know, who I couldn’t talk to about all these things because his solution was always the same, get on drugs for depression.

I hit my breaking point last year. I was going to have surgery for a double hernia. Because my husband was so uninvolved in our lives I had to have my mom come in from out of state to drive me to the hospital and to take care of me afterwards. She stayed the weekend and then took my daughter back home with her, while I recovered because my husband refused to take off any work to care for me or our child. So when my mom left for home that Sunday I was on my own for a whole week, learning how to move to not cause myself pain, getting my meds, preparing my meals and cleaning up after not only myself but my husband as well.  It hurt too much to cry, so I didn’t even though I missed my daughter (it was the first time I had ever spent the night away from her let alone a whole week from her.) I was on a strict no lifting for two weeks, but our daughter was only going to be gone for one of those weeks. So when she came home I still couldn’t lift her. It killed me that I couldn’t pick her up or take care of her how I wanted to. What made it worse was the lack of help. That’s when I decided I had had enough.

I made my husband go to a marriage counselor. I even had him pick the counselor out. I told him it was counseling or I walked. He made it through 2 sessions before he decided he didn’t need to go anymore. I was the one with the problems and I still needed to be heavily medicated for severe depression. So at the beginning of this year I took my daughter and we left. We went home to my parents. Two weeks later he asked me to come back. I did thinking he would change. We continued to fight, it didn’t matter when or where, in front of our daughter we would scream at each other. He would tell me he wished he could hit me. He would call me every name in the book and tell me how worthless I was. He accused me of cheating on him, lying and stealing from him. I was a horrible mother and wife. I had failed. I had failed at the one thing I ever wanted and it killed me. I had a child I disliked, I had a husband who I didn’t know and didn’t love me and I had nowhere to go but back to my parents. I had no friends to help me (I shouldn’t say no friends, I do have a few that have been amazing support and you know who you are!)

My daughter and I have been through hell and back in her short life. I have so many parenting regrets that I can never take back. She is still a spirited child, but since I made the choice to leave permanently she has become a whole different person (I truly believe now that she was acting out and feeding off the stress of her father and I) I love her and she is my whole world. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her. I am slowly becoming the mom I want to become. I don’t yell as much (work in progress) I am learning to be independent and to manage life as a single parent. Luckily I have the support of my family (who were a state away before).

 When I look back at my life as a parent I don’t dwell on the negative, on the hardship and strife. I am actually very thankful for them. I am thankful that these last few years happened. I am so thankful for the UNPREDICTABLE life that was thrown at me when I entered mommy hood. Without it I wouldn’t be so strong and independent. Without it I wouldn’t have found who I am as a person, without these last years I wouldn’t be a mom. Without the UNPREDICTABLES that come when you become a parent I would have never been strong enough to stand up for myself and my child. I would have never discovered who my true friends were.  I would have never chased my dreams and found my voice. I know there is a lot ahead of us still, and life won’t be easy as a single mom, but instead of fearing the unknown and the future I am embracing the UNPREDICTABLE knowing that I have the strength to forge ahead for my daughter and me. 

Submitted by an Anonymous Guest

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

F is for 'Fertility'

I am thankful for a lot of things beginning with the letter F. Family,
friends, faith, food... to name a few. What I have decided to focus
on today, however, is fertility.

Growing up, like many little girls, one thing I dreamed about being
some day was a mommy. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to have
children. What I did not expect as a little girl, would be the battle
I would face to become a mother.

Fertility, in my case, was not something I was certain I would be blessed with.

After over three years of trying to become parents - with no success -
my husband and I consulted a reproductive endocrinologist. There, it
was decided, that I suffer from Poly-cystic Ovarian Sydrome, also
known as PCOS.

Once discovered, fertility came more easily for me than for some
others who battle. For this, I feel blessed. After a few rounds of
oral medications and failed attempts, within five months, my husband
and I conceived our miracle. Spencer was born without complication on
November 1, 2010.

Fertility is something that can be easy for many to overlook and take
for granted, especially if they have not had to battle. I feel that,
because of my personal struggle, I am extremely thankful for a period
of fertility in my life and for the son I was given as the battle was

By Nicole Worthley

Monday, November 21, 2011

This Week's Sale!

So, we posted about this week's giveaway, but now, how about some exciting sales!?

Online and in our stores, you can now receive

20% off all soap and accessories! 
(not including soap refills)

This includes:

  • Rockin Green
  • Charlies
  • Sprayers
  • Wipes
  • Wee Essentials Wipes Cubes
  • Wetbags
  • Inserts
So, stock up on your soap and accessories today through Wednesday!


(New sales coming Thursday)

November Giveaways - Week 3

Enter now to win a $25 Gift Card to Elegant Mommy!!!

How do you enter? Well, to enter this week you need to comment on this blog post (**Make sure to enter your name in the comment, too - especially if you are an "anonymous" comment-er**), or on theElegant Mommy or Educated Mommy facebook page giveaway posts.

What do you need to say in your comment?

Tell us three reasons you are confident in your parenting skills

Yep, it's that easy. Just tell us three reasons you are confident in your parenting skills and you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Elegant Mommy! The winner will be drawn on Friday evening around 7:00 pm CST.

Good luck!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Time for Gratitude - Birth Options in South Dakota

In addition to being Elegant Mommy’s “online face”, I am also a doula, birth activist, and plan to soon begin training to become a certified childbirth educator. Now, when I say “birth activist”, I know that can have a negative connotation to some people. Let me just clarify what I mean. I am *passionate* about helping women and families understand and know that they have CHOICES in their birth plans. I am really an activist for “educated birthing”. I want to help women and families know that they don’t have to just do whatever their provider tells them to do. It’s the provider’s responsibility to tell pregnant and laboring women what their choices are and perhaps even what they would recommend…not tell them what to do. It is the pregnant woman’s responsibility to be educated and informed about what they want and what they don’t want. If their provider doesn't tell them all the information they need to make an educated decision, they need to know the right questions to ask to get their answers. I help them with that.

In addition to that, I have gotten involved with the politics of birth in South Dakota. Now, I can go on and on about the political aspect of things and what our laws are, who has the most influence and seems to “run it all”, etc., but I really want to focus on something in the political realm that is extremely positive for birthing families in this state right now.

This year the state legislature *passed* a bill that will allow Birth Centers to be licensed here! That is HUGE and wonderfully exciting for families here!!

The first draft of regulations for this bill was released recently, and on Wednesday, I had the pleasure to attend the Public Hearing for input on these regulations in Pierre. There were several Certified NurseMidwives in attendance, as well as a representative from South Dakota SafeChildbirth Options, and myself. I spoke on behalf of the American Associationof Birth Centers (AABC); as a South Dakota member of the AABC, and also a member of their national Birth Center Licensure Working Group, I was honored to submit comments on their behalf. There were also several representatives from the medical community – Medical Association, Nursing Association, and Hospital Association, as well as the two gentlemen who put the rules together from the Department of Health.

Overall, there was wonderful discussion between all parties about some clarification in the rules, as well as recommendations from the parties in attendance. The Department of Health, who is responsible for coming up with workable rules, listened to all suggestions and recommendations, and I am confident will make positive changes to the rules based on input from everyone. There was definitely an air of solidarity in that we all want the same thing – more birth options for South Dakota families. Even if we didn’t all agree with *everything* that was suggested, we were all basically on the same page and really just want Birth Centers to be a viable birth option for South Dakota families.

Though there’s still more work to be done, I’m very happy to report that we are one step closer to more healthy and safe birth options here!

By Evie DeWitt

Thursday, November 17, 2011

K is for 'Knowledge'

As I write this, I am pumping at work while on my lunch. It’s not the most fun way to spend your lunch break or any break for that matter. The sacrifices we make as a breastfeeding mother are boundless. Not all of us are lucky enough to be a stay at home mom or a work at home mom. I think it takes a lot of courage to be a full time working mom and still provide breastmilk. Not all workplaces are friendly to the idea; judgment, time, and location are all factors to a mother’s comfort in doing such a personal and yet disconnected way of expressing milk. So many moms can relate. With that said, I am not your typical pumping mother.

When I gave birth to my second son, Jameson, I was beyond determined to breastfeed. I was a complete breastfeeding failure with my first son whom I tried and tried to make it work. My determination was like a fire brewing over the course of 2.5 years. I anticipated the jaundice, the pain, the tears, the fight to make it work... because unfortunately the natural practice didn’t come natural for me. What I did not anticipate was the fact I couldn’t get him to gain weight. Despite the hours and hours of nursing, skin to skin contact, and all the loving a mother can give to a child… he simply didn’t gain weight. He lost nearly a pound in the hospital and from there we got no where. Especially with a 2 year old ruling the house to nurse for an hour, pump and nurse again left me feeling as though I had abandon my first born. Slowly, our nursing sessions became newborn screaming, mother crying sessions. What’s a mother to do? How do you make a baby eat? Did I fail once more? Am I not cut out for this? What more can I do to make him gain something? I felt so defeated and defective; again.

Based on how I started this entry, you obviously know that I did find a way. After a lot of research, reading, searching, and googling I found one website with an amazing community of mom’s in my shoes -Exclusive Pumpers. It’s definitely not how I pictured my breastfeeding relationship with my son, but it does provide him the one thing I wanted for him. I can honestly say I didn’t know what I was really getting into when I started. In the first 9 weeks I pumped 9 times a day including 3 times at night while my baby slept all night. That equates to hooking myself up to the horns 63 times a week, 252 times a month… you can about imagine the disdain I had for my pump. I would have loved to take a bat to it “Office Space” style. However, the complete joy, self-appreciation, and satisfaction I gained at seeing bottle after bottle of breastmilk gave me the confidence to keep going. His weight began to increase slowly, he wasn’t as fussy in between feedings, nor as hungry and he was sleeping like an angel… all of which were more reasons to keep pushing myself.

Those first 12 weeks were definitely the hardest. There are rules to follow as an exclusive pumper that a nursing mother doesn’t. Finding time to pump a strict schedule of 15-30min every 2-3 hours (just as you would nurse) is only the beginning. Along with feeding, changing, playing, comforting your newborn you must also entertain, parent, love, and keep your two year old occupied simultaneously. Forget about a shower and remembering to eat. On top of that, you start to count ounces you’ve pumped. Nothing will send an exclusive pumper into a state of paranoia faster than coming up short on ounces. It’s been a rocky, stressful, and yet rewarding journey. As time has passed, it has gotten easier and more manageable as my supply has leveled out and I am able to drop some pump times.

Of course, there will always be the skeptics. To prove just how determined I was to nurse I did keep offering him the breast as the weeks and months passed. I was able to get him to comfort nurse around 5 months old… in fact it was the only way he would go to sleep many nights. However, it is definitely not a sustainable way for him to eat since it was solely for comfort.

I chose not to take the easy way out, but you can bet I thought about it. If it weren’t for my completely awesome husband I wouldn’t be so dedicated. More importantly, if it weren’t for my research, my deep rooted determination, the group of exclusively pumping moms I met, and the wealth of KNOWLEDGE I learned, I wouldn’t have been able to provide. I had no idea that using a pump at all times could be an option for breastfeeding!! Again, it’s not what I wanted, but it was the next best option. There are so many moms with high hopes of breastfeeding who were/are faced with breastfeeding obstacles. Issues can range from poor latches, lazy nursers, or biters to babies that are tongue tied, have a cleft palette, preemies and NICU babies who really had to make the best of their situations.

For all of this, I am so incredibly thankful for the ‘K’nowledge I obtained to make breastfeeding possible. At 5 pumps a day, my now 6.5 month old is happy and healthy. It may not be my nipple in his mouth, but it is my milk.

By Teresa Plautz

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

N is for 'New Beginnings'

Not everyone is born with the ideal family. When I married my husband Scott in April of 2010, we covenanted with God to raise our children in a Christian home. Our little family was blessed with the pleasant surprise of my pregnancy just two days before our first anniversary. I will be delivering our first son next month. While I have had a safe, uneventful pregnancy, the past year of my life has brought a number of problems with incredibly close members of my family tree. Having my own offspring on the way has given me a different perspective on many of the issues we've experienced. Despite my own concerns and fears, we are not merely products of our heritage. We are able to overcome obstacles and create a new legacy for our children. Our son is a fresh start.

A few short years ago I was a cynic. After my first engagement ended, I doubted everything in my life: God, friends, myself. I wondered if I was capable of being a good mother and spouse. From those painful days sprang restoration, healing, and a greater understanding of God's faithfulness. I trusted Him to enable me, instead of myself. Slowly, I have grown in my marriage and in my role as a woman. I was able to finally establish healthy relationships with people around me. I was blessed. Not long later, I met my wonderful husband, and we have continued to grow together. Now I have new roles to fulfill: wife and mother.

If you'd asked me in 2008, I might have said I hoped I'd be with a good man. I never really thought I'd have the perfect spouse for me, or even a child on the way. Now, I have a new beginning. In my son, I have the opportunity to nurture another life, to raise them well. I have an opportunity to teach someone to live beyond selfishness, anger, and bitterness. I have the blessing of teaching, loving, and disciplining another human life. The task frightens me. What woman is without fears before her firstborn? In Christ,  I'm not alone. I have Him to stand guard over my little family and my heart.

By Emily Schultz

Monday, November 14, 2011

November Giveaways - Week 2

Would you like to win a $25 gift card to Elegant Mommy?

To enter this week you need to comment on this blog post (**Make sure to enter your name in the comment, too**), or on theElegant Mommy or Educated Mommy facebook page giveaway posts.

What do you need to say in your comment?
Tell us two things you have done for someone else recently! If you haven't done anything for someone else recently, now is the perfect time to do so! ;)

Yep, it's that easy. Just tell us two things you have recently done for someone else and you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Elegant Mommy! The winner will be drawn on Friday around 4:00 pm CST.

Good luck!

In addition to this giveaway, enjoy 20% OFF all footwear at Elegant Mommy this week only! This includes Baby Bella Maya Booties, Rebekah Scott Designs, and Lexiebugs shoes! 

****The winner of this week's giveaway is "Upcyclebaby"! Please email me at media[at]elegantmommy[dot]com to claim your prize! Congratulations!****

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A is for 'Answered Prayer' and 'Anything'

Answered Prayer

My husband(Brian) and I were thinking we were going to be done having children. 

He was more into this than I was-I wasn't completely sure I was done, but I submitted on the issue with the promise that God would bring a "miracle" into our lives. I doubted that at the time, of course. In Jan. 2009 my husband had a vasectomy. 

Imagine my surprise and delight when we found we were expecting in May of 2009! Unfortunately, before the end of May we miscarried. I was very depressed but after some time, I was learning to be content with the 4 blessings we had. 

In Nov. 2010 we were blessed enough to finish the basement (minor - some aesthetic things) and thus  moved all 4 children downstairs into 2 new bedrooms. Then at the end of December we found out we were expecting again!! This time it was different, and we now have a beautiful baby girl who was born Aug. 19th, 2011.

When I was pregnant, I felt I heard God tell me to breastfeed this child. I'm so shocked/surprised/happy that we've been doing this since she was born and she is now 2 1/2mo. old, turning 3mo. this month! She has a great latch and she likes to be nursed! I'm also so glad I am able to nurse her when I'm with her and pump when I'm not with her-so she is always getting breastmilk! It has been a wonderful blessing and as an added bonus it has not added any burden to our finances-which is really a great blessing in and of itself! 

So, there is our story of Sarah Faith and what we have to be thankful for! She is an answer to many a prayer(mainly from me!) and all the children seem to adore her right now-everyone has adjusted fairly well!

Melinda Roth


A few months ago, we had our two year old son start praying before our family meals.  It was so adorable to hear him pray and to be honest, it was one of those parenting moments when we thought “We got this one right!”  The prayers started simple. 

“Dear Jesus, thank you for our food.  Amen.” 

And over time they evolved to include thanks for other important things such as Mama, Daddy, and baby Carter.  I’m so glad we can teach our son to be thankful.  But now, in all his independence, he has begun to thank Jesus for practically everything he can see.

“Dear Jesus, thank you for light.  Thank you for couch.  Thank you for window.  Thank you for candle.  Thank you for shoes.  Thank you for chair.  Thank you for blanket.  Thank you for hair.  Thank you for cup.  Thank you for Charlie [the dog].  Thank you for hats.  Amen.”

Most nights mom, dad or the food aren’t even included in the prayer.  And I must admit I find myself becoming impatient, watching our food get cold as he prays for quite literally everything.  “Hey buddy, you’re taking this thankfulness thing a bit too far.”

Wait.  What?  Did I just say that?  Wasn’t it my goal to teach him to be thankful?  To be aware of our many blessings and say a prayer of thanks for them?  Oh to be humbled by your child!  Truth is … I need to be more thankful.  There are things in my life I take for granted and never express thanks for.  What would our house be like without windows?  Or lights?  I’m thankful for blankets too but I’ve never told Jesus that.  And so in my attempt to teach my son, he instead taught me something.  I can be thankful for anything.  And I should be thankful for everything.

What blessings in your life do you take for granted?

By Ashley Anderson

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

H is for HoPE and Holoprosencephaly

What I am thankful for.
Holoprosencephaly or HoPE

At 20 weeks utero my daughter was diagnosed with a condition called Holoprsencephaly. She was given no HoPE of surviving to birth and if she did, she would not make it out of the hospital. The doctors pushed for abortion, but this was not an option for us. God gave her to us for a reason.

Isabella Jeannette Dice was born at 11:31 AM on January 25th, 2010. She has undergone several surgeries since then along with multiple hospital stays. But she is proving the doctors wrong with every day she is with us and every milestone she is accomplishing.
Why am I thankful for my daughter's condition?
Because of Isabella I see the world in a whole new way. She has shown me that it's the little things in life that really matter. I love how people adore her and care. While our lives might not be 'normal', it is the only life I want.

Remember, With HoPE anything is possible!

I am a parent of a child with special needs.  
Everyday something seems to happen that reminds me how different we are. 
Our lives. Our schedule. Our responsibilities. 
Listening to the stories of other families. But then I stop and think….it’s ok. 
I am in you and you are in me, together that makes one very happy family. 

By Christine Dice

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's a Nursing Strike?

I have to admit I don’t hear of mothers having nursing strikes very often but they do happen and can be very frustrating for mom and baby.  For mom, not knowing why she is being refused and for baby, because he might not be happy yet won’t nurse even though it’s always been his food and comfort. 

Just for clarification, a nursing strike is when an infant who has been nursing happily for months suddenly refuses the breast when offered.  It is different from baby-led weaning because it happens so suddenly.  The baby is often unhappy with the whole situation and wants mom to figure out what’s wrong and solve the problem.

Nursing strikes can be caused because of physical discomfort like a stuffy nose, ear ache, teething, sore throat or anything that keeps baby from nursing comfortably.  It also could be caused by a stressful time like a move or a new job.  It may be that mom startled him when he bit or perhaps he heard a loud noise while nursing.  Even things like mom changing lotion, perfume, or deodorant can lead to a nursing strike.  Any unusual change from the norm can contribute to a nursing strike depending on baby.

Even if mom can’t figure out what caused it, she can help get things back on track.  Don’t be too quick to offer other drinks and food.  Do pump or hand-express milk during the strike to maintain the milk supply and to prevent plugged ducts and mastitis.  If the strike lasts longer than a day, mom can offer expressed milk in a cup but avoid bottles so baby’s sucking urge will encourage him to nurse.  Some ways to encourage baby back to the breast are:  Nurse him in his sleep (probably the most common suggestion because it works); nurse somewhere different – while walking, while sitting in the car, at a friend’s house, outside or in a warm bath (the skin-to skin contact can really help anywhere); make yourself available - leave your shirt up with your breast exposed for a day but don’t push the issue; and maybe just some time spent away from the hubbub of the family snuggling mom will calm him enough to nurse.

Whatever works might need to be used for a couple days before everything is back to normal.  Almost all nursing strikes end happily but they don’t all end quickly.  If you need help with a nursing strike or any other breastfeeding difficulty, contact La Leche League (LLL).  We are here to help!!!

This Thursday is our monthly meeting at 6:30 at Elegant Mommy in Sioux Falls. Come meet some wonderful mothers who love to breastfeed and support each other!

By Sarah Alberts, LLL Leader

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Giveaways - Week 1

Who would like to enter to win a $25 gift card to Elegant Mommy?

To enter this week you need to comment on this blog post, or on the Elegant Mommy or Educated Mommy facebook page.

What do you need to say in your comment?

Tell us FIVE things you are thankful for!

Yep, it's that easy. Just tell us five things you are thankful for and you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Elegant Mommy! The winner will be drawn on Friday.

Good luck!

****Congratulations to our winner: Carly Glover!****

Friday, November 4, 2011

T is for "Terrific" Toddlers and Time

Happy November everyone! This month we are doing something kind of fun here on the blog. I will be featuring a "Thankful" post submitted by readers like you all month. The fun part? Each post will focus on one letter to spell out "THANKFUL". The posts are all about what readers are thankful for in regards to pregnancy, birth, parenting, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, etc.

So, without further ado, I present you with a couple "T" posts. Happy reading!


Terrific Toddlers

Hello Everyone!

As part of the Elegant Mommy T-h-a-n-k-f-u-l Blog Series, I would like to present you with "T is for Terrible Toddlers."

I have a beautiful amazing smart toddler. I've heard the saying (I think you'd have to be under a rock not to of) "Terrible Twos" or "Terrible Toddlers." Sure, my daughter now knows the power of a good temper tantrum. She's an avid climber (specializing in the stairs and the dining room table) and an amazing escape artist. She's a conquistador of our dogs and an explorer of unknown drawers and cabinets. She is a professional organizer. (I mean, she's so thoughtful for putting a screwdriver in my purse. You never know when I'll be needing one on the go) She's already dressing herself. And by that, I mean undressing herself. In public. Thirstie diaper and all.

As moms, we all have days when we might not lose our temper, but we sure give a heavy sigh. Mine came the other day when our daughter learned how to open the door to the bathroom and as anyone who has discovered a bathroom for the first time would do, she immediately started placing items in our toilet. A roll of pennies, a spoon, and washcloth took a toilet bath before I picked her up, washed her hands and promptly placed one of those childproofing knob covers on the door (which means that when my husband and I have to really go, we will not be able to turn that knob if our life depends on it...or drawers at least).
If you haven't experienced the Houdini-esq maneuvers of a toddler yet, you could chalk this up to my daughter not being supervised properly. However, if you've had kids, you'll know that no matter how many baby gates you put up, outlet covers you place or hours spent staring at your child, they are the perfect opportunists. Someone at the door? Phone ring? Changing the wash? Your child will find a way to surprise you no matter how hawk-like your supervision is.

Soon-to-be or new mothers, are you scared yet? Don't be. After all, this post is about being "Thankful." I'm beyond thankful for my toddler. You know what I did when I saw the pennies in the toilet. Laughed. When in my life have I ever seen such a silly sight? What would possess someone to put pennies in a toilet? It was like a wishing well in my bathroom. Ha!

Toddlers are amazing. They are learning things at an extraordinary pace. One day they know maybe one word, then one weekend they have five and then next they are saying sentences. They learn to potty train (eventually). They learn names. They point to things. They play games. They understand things you never ever explain. How did my daughter learn that her doll was a "baby"? How she learn that the baby needs to be burped or rocked when there is no baby at home to reference?

They also start to reciprocate love like never before. They start to give you hugs, blow you kisses and will even say I love you. The first time they give you a kiss, you're world might actually stop. You will want to stay in that moment for the rest of your life. You will probably call or text or message everyone you know letting them know your child just kissed you. They may not understand, but to you, you're life has completely changed yet again. And as parenthood goes, it will continue to change for the rest of your life.

So, be thankful for your toddler and their new expressive selves. They are learning so much, and if you're open to it, you'll get an education as well.

By Krista


I am thankful for the "Time" I have been given with my children as a stay at home mom.  When I first became a Mommy, staying at home with my (now 5 year old) daughter wasn't an option for us.  Then came along our son (nearing 3 years old) and the tug still pulled at my heart.  I knew in the depths of my heart that I was meant to be a stay at home mom, it was just a matter of figuring out a way to make it a possibility.  This was really hard for some of my friends and family to believe, as I was a determined business woman.  But soon they realized I was more of a determined mother!
Long story short, a year and half ago I was blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with my children.  Although my time at home with my daughter was short-lived, as she is now in kindergarten, I have learned to be thankful for the time I was given with her, rather than fill my mind and heart with guilt. 
This time at home with my children has flown by faster than I could have ever imagined.  When I start to feel sad that we missed a fun play group or a storytime, or we didn't accomplish as much work on our ABC's as we had hoped for or I take a look around at my messy house I remind myself to smile because I was blessed with one of the greatest gifts I could ever imagine.  We fill our time with hugs and kisses, Mommy storytimes, giggling, chatting about superheros and dolls.  Who could ask for anything more? What great times we will have to remember always!

By Anna

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time for Gratitude - Thanksgiving

Ok, so I know that it’s still only the beginning of November, but I have to say that I *love* this time of year – it’s time to be thankful! We are doing a “thankful” theme on the blog this month, so be looking for some really cool guest posts about that.

In my post today, though, I want to share why Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays, and for many reasons.

First of all, celebrating Thanksgiving is the one day where there isn’t anything “else”. It’s purely and simply a time to get together with family and give thanks for the bounty that God has blessed us with. There isn’t any “hunting for eggs”, “Christmas gifts and commercialism”, nor “flowers and chocolates”. Don’t get me wrong. I love Easter, Christmas, and Valentine’s as much as the next guy. Especially Christmas. There is truly something special about celebrating our Savior’s birth and everything that goes along with the Holy Day that it is. But more on that next month – ha! I’m just saying that it’s so nice to not have anything but family and our thanks on this holiday.

Secondly, Randall and I get to host it. We don’t have a huge home, but it is so fun to get everyone here and just relax and hang out together and have the kids play! My youngest brother, Otto, usually comes up the night before and last year he even made the dressing and helped get everything ready. He and one of his buddies stayed Thanksgiving night and went “Black Friday” shopping at Cabela’s sometime in the middle of the night. It was really fun having everyone here. Since he graduated from high school last year and is in school in Gillette this year, I don’t know if he’ll be able to do that again, but even if he doesn’t, it is so much fun to all get together!

Thirdly, can we talk about the food for just a minute? Yum! My sister-in-law taught me how to make a delicious turkey when we lived in Portland, and Otto told me two years ago that I make the best turkey he’s ever had. Ha! Thanks Kristi! J Not to mention my great-grandmother’s dressing recipe, my sister’s pies, and my mom’s fresh homemade buns. Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it all.

Lastly, I have some of the best memories from Thanksgivings past. I don’t mean from when I was a kid, but more recently when we lived in Portland (before we had kids we lived there for about 9 years) and would get together with Randall’s brother Patrick and his wife, Kristi. Kristi also has a lifelong friend that lives in Seattle that would come down for the weekend and it was fantastic (she soon became my friend, too – love ya Terri! J). We would wake early and drink coffee all morning, and pretty much as soon as noon hit we’d start on the wine. Dinner got later and later as the years went on, but it didn’t matter. We were with the only family we had out there, and we had more fun and laughs than I can even say. It was wonderful and I miss it every year!

Things are different now that we have kids, but the feelings are just the same. There may be a little less wine and a little more food cut in bite sized pieces, but the time with family hasn’t changed, nor has the reflective thanks that we give for the things we’ve been so abundantly blessed with!

My wish for you, dear reader, is that you can reflect on what you are thankful for and what you have been blessed with. Whether things are difficult right now, or you are in a time of abundance and happiness, I challenge you to look for the blessings in your life and write them down either publicly or privately. Feel free to share what you are thankful for here in comments (we at Elegant Mommy would love to share in your blessings!), on your facebook page, or on our facebook page. Even if you don’t feel like sharing publicly, please take the time to write them down somewhere. You never know…you might be surprised at how blessed you really are J

By Evie DeWitt