Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Long Awaited Birth

It was a beautiful fall day in October. I was due with our third baby, and was just praying that Jellybean (that was our nickname for him – we didn’t know if Jellybean was a boy or a girl, but instead of referring to the sweet, living babe in my womb as an “it”, we decided to refer to him as a “he”) would stay put until at least the day after I was “due”. I had so much going on and was taking my Lactation Counselor Certification exam the next day. I had been having contractions for weeks so far, so honestly wasn’t sure if I would make it.

Well, my estimated due date came and went. I made it through my exam (while having prodromal labor) just fine. In fact, I made it through the next two weeks just fine – lots of prodromal labor and contractions, but nothing regular or progressive.

On my 18th day as an “overdue” mama, I drove up to my OB’s clinic (about 45 minutes away) for a Non-Stress Test to make sure baby was still doing well. I asked Randall to stay home with the kids because I just needed some alone time. As you can imagine, being 18 days over can get quite stressful and emotional. Every single conversation in person, by phone call and text was something about the baby. “Any contractions yet?” “How are you feeling?” “That baby is gonna come out walking!” “Still no baby?!” It was understandable but maddening.

I called a couple of my good friends who are also doulas because I needed to be “doula’d” at that point. I was on the phone most of the way to my appointment and felt super refreshed by the time I got there. I knew I would be meeting our sweet baby soon. Even if it was still a day or two away I could wait. I could trust God and the way He designed my body to birth my baby at exactly the right time.

My NST went pretty well. Baby was doing ok, but not great. If something didn’t happen soon my OB suggested that we consider induction by the weekend. Since I was planning an unassisted homebirth, the thought of changing to a medicalized hospital birth did not excite me in the least. I decided to let her check me just so I had an idea of where I was at. Baby was engaged, I was 3 cm and 80% effaced. So I felt I was in good shape and left there feeling pretty good and confident that something would happen soon.

On the way home I got a phone call from another dear friend who is a doula and we chatted about a lot of things (not all baby!) and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive.

I walked in the door at home and my sweet husband asked me how I was doing. I told him I was having some contractions but nothing to get too excited about…..I’d been having contractions for the past 2 months, after all.

Once home I sat down and did some work but couldn’t concentrate much. At about 5:30 pm I got up to start making some supper…I was beginning to wonder if maybe I could possibly be in early labor. I just didn’t want to get too excited and honestly didn’t want to get all ready and then have it not be it. My emotions couldn’t take that for sure.

As I was in the beginnings of preparing some supper for us my youngest brother called me and we chatted for quite awhile about many things NOT related to the baby. At the end of the conversation he told me that he called me purposely to talk about anything and everything except the baby. He figured I got enough questions and opinions from everyone else and wanted to give me a conversation free of the “you’re still pregnant?!” questions. It was one of the sweetest and best things I could have gotten at that point. What he didn’t know is that I was having contractions through the whole conversation. Not that I believed that I was really in labor or anything.

But that changed pretty quickly.

When we were about ready to eat (6:30ish), I suggested to Randall that he might consider starting to fill the birth pool soon. I didn’t want him to start quite yet in case it wasn’t actually time but just maybe get ready (as if he hadn’t been ready for the past month – ha!). Well, in between him starting to get the pool ready and us starting to eat I was beginning to need some support through contractions. I decided it was time to call my sister so she could make it in time to take some pictures, and then not long after that I called mom to come too. This was it! Finally! We were gonna meet our sweet baby that we had waited so long for!

We all ate supper together (in between my contractions), then cleaned up the kitchen. Randall buzzed around getting things ready and I got into some comfy clothes. I felt ready. I was handling things nicely and had just the perfect amount of support to make it through. I was in the bathroom during some of those early contractions before I needed a lot of support and all the sudden I heard music. I thought Randall had turned some on but when I asked him he said he hadn’t. I had been preparing the perfect Pandora station for months….somehow it just started playing through my phone. It couldn’t have been better timed….I’m 100% sure God had something to do with it! J

When the pool was all filled up we covered it to keep it warm for later and I got out the birth ball and sat on that while leaning into the couch during contractions. Randall gave me counter-pressure on my back, and the kids were amazing supports - they would rub my arms and whisper to me how well I was doing. It was such a special time.

I gave Vienna the job of giving me a drink of either water or labor-ade after every contraction. She took it very seriously throughout my entire labor. She was my perfect little doula and I am so glad she was there!

Eventually I decided it was time to get into the pool. My mom and sister had just arrived and labor was most definitely progressing. As with my previous delivery, the water was just “delicious” and I couldn’t figure out why I had waited so long. At one point I had to get out to go to the bathroom and decided that was a pretty stupid thing to do…….labor on land sucked compared to being immersed in the pool.

Contractions were getting much stronger and at about 10:30 I needed some serious support. I requested someone in front of me as well as Randall’s strength pushing super hard on my back. It was intense….definitely not the gentle labor that my previous experience was. I was in my labor zone and just working through each contraction as it came. I reached a point where I really didn’t think I could do it, and requested mom pray for me. She did, and after a nice 10 minute break it was go-time.

My body began pushing and made me move into the strangest position of ever. I seriously don’t think I could have done it if I hadn’t been in the water. I was in a very weird squat-lunge-kick. It was the only way that felt right to push.

Within a few minutes, our sweet Jellybean entered the world completely in the caul (bag of waters) at 11:31 pm on October 20, 2014. My bag of waters didn’t break until she was completely out. It was so awesome! Porter had fallen asleep while watching Frozen in our room by that time, but Vienna was awake and though she left for about one minute during pushing (it was a little intense for her), she was back within seconds of the baby arriving. She got to find out along with Randall and I that she had a new baby sister instead of a brother, and it was just amazing. Ember Aileen DeWitt had finally made her appearance.

I got out of the pool pretty quickly after delivery so we could move to the couch and she could do the breastcrawl and we could just get to know each other a little bit. It didn’t take her long to latch on, and I kept marveling that I couldn’t believe she was finally here. It didn’t seem real.

It was a precious time with my awesome husband right by my side and helping carry me through, Vienna as my doula, my sister capturing the whole event on camera, and my mom being such a blessing with her prayerful and strong support. Porter was also a great support until he got too tired J. He woke up about 1:30 am or so and came out to greet his new baby sister…..as with everyone else, it was love at first sight.

I had a great team and the knowledge that I could trust my body to do exactly what it was designed to do and give birth safely and at the perfect time. I wouldn’t have wanted to deliver her anyplace else or at any different time. It was completely perfect, and after everyone else had left for the night to get some sleep, we all snuggled in for a long rest and life with our sweet precious girl began.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's Been a Year

Wait. What?!

Exactly one year ago today I was "due" with our precious little "Baby Bo" (that's one of her many nicknames around here)

Oh, it was still 18 days until I had her (yes, I said EIGHTEEN), but I remember my due date so very clearly.

I was sitting in between two very dear friends of mine (Shelly, also very pregnant with Kate, and Niki) at our week-long Lactation Counselor certification course.

(Cuz that's how I do....sign up for a week-long course all about breastfeeding the week that I'm due).

Meh. I figured I would go past that date. I wasn't worried.

I certainly had plenty of contractions that week....but honestly there couldn't have a better place for me. I was surrounded by other women who have a passion for babies, I was with good friends, and DOULAs.

Did you catch that? I was with THREE other doulas (and friends) all.week.long. At 40 weeks pregnant. Seriously - if you ever have a chance to be surrounded by doulas (who are just naturally nurturing and caring and know exactly what you need) when you are 40 weeks pregnant - for 5 days straight - TAKE IT!

Anyway, I obviously made it through the week with no baby....in fact I had almost 3 whole weeks left before we got to meet our sweet babe.

When I saw this cartoon I had to smile. I've SO been there ;)

One of my favorite things about being so "overdue" was seeing people's faces when my answer was "2 weeks ago" to their well-meaning "when are you due" inquiries. And then came the "Oh, you poor thing. They are letting you go that long?!" type comments.

Ha! I usually responded with something like "Oh, they aren't letting me do anything. I call the shots" ......or you know, something similar.

I loved being able to expand people's minds with the idea that midwives and doctors don't have the final say in maternity care....that we, their CLIENTS do. (Note I didn't say patients? Pregnancy is NOT a sickness!)

Anyhoo, sometime in the next few weeks I'll be posting our little Ember's birth story....I can hardly believe it's already been a year!!

And if you happen to be nearing the end of your pregnancy - don't worry - I can promise you with certainty that you won't be pregnant forever (I wasn't, though in those last days I certainly felt like I would be the first woman in history to be)! Hang in there!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Life Is Short

If you live in SD you know about the tragedy that happened in Platte a couple weeks ago.

If you don't live in SD you may have seen it....it did make national news, but it was probably just a little blip that you saw and maybe you didn't think too much about it...other than maybe thinking to yourself "oh man...that's terrible" or something to that effect.

I've seen those blips in my newsfeed before....heard them on the radio.....seen short little newsclips. An article here or there about some person or family I don't know or don't have any connections with who had some tragedy happen. A house fire. A murder. A suicide. A terrible car accident. Maybe they all perished. Maybe just one of the children is left. Maybe it was a mother who lost all of her precious babies. Or maybe a dad took the lives of his wife and kids and then his own.

It's terribly sad but I can deal with it. I mean.....horrible things happen in the world. Sometimes people go off the deep end and sometimes families are simply taken way too soon in awful circumstances. It's part of living in a broken world.

Until it happens to someone you know.

Not just someone you know, but someone you grew up with. Someone whose family you spent a LOT of time with because her youngest sister was one of your best friends.

Sometimes tragedy hits you below the belt and takes the wind out of you. Takes a blow and you just don't even know what to do.

So you cry.

Tears fall for your hometown school who lost 4 beautiful children. They fall for your dear friend and her family who are enduring and going through grief like nobody can even imagine. Grief that can be paralyzing. Grief that can overtake their very being and press down until they feel like they can barely breathe. Tears fall for your own family and other friends and neighbors who you grew up with. They fall for the entire community and the long reaching arms of the overwhelming loss. They fall for yourself. The sadness can seem unbearable at times.

Attending three funerals in one day, including a community service that was held for the precious children lost was one of the most emotional and exhausting things I've done in a long time. The community service was beautiful and truly honored and celebrated their lives - stolen too soon. Seeing kids from the community having to come to grips with the fact that their friends were truly gone was heart wrenching. These beautiful little lives that were turned upside down overnight. Once safe in their small town and loving families. They all the sudden didn't have the assurance they were safe....their friends weren't, after all. 

No child should ever have to feel this way.

I'm so grateful that my own kiddos are far enough removed that they didn't need to know any of the details. They knew mommy was sad. They knew that mommy's friend lost her sister and nieces, nephews, and brother-in-law. They knew there was a fire. But because they didn't know the children and they didn't personally know the family, my husband and I were able to protect them from the unsettling feelings that way too many kiddos in a small town in South Dakota are now living with since their reality changed.

One thing that my husband and I have talked a lot about in the last couple days is how we've both felt more loving to one another since this all happened. We are both striving to show each other how much we mean to each other, and we are purposing to love on our kids more than ever. Not that we didn't do that before, but it feels more urgent now, if that makes sense.

And it doesn't end there. Over the weekend I spent a lot of time with my friend and her family, and I didn't hold anything back in expressing my love for them all, and for my own extended family and other friends too.

Life is way too short. Nobody knows when their last day on this earth will be. You might not be here tomorrow. Someone you love may not be here three hours from now.

I implore you. DON'T waste time in needless anger. Don't hold grudges. Be quick to forgive and even quicker to love. Show the people you love that you love them and don't take anything for granted.

I can guarantee that my friend's family wishes they would have told their sister and those beautiful kiddos even one more time how much they meant to them. Given them one more hug. I'll bet they would take back any unkind things that were ever said, and regret any angry feelings that were ever felt.

The tears are slowing now, but the reality of living without people they love is setting in.

Please pray for anyone affected by the tragedy, and especially the families of those lost.

Also? Love on those you love. Call your mom. Hug your sister. Tell your husband how grateful you are for him. Cuddle with your kiddos. Send your dad a card. Take your friend out for coffee. Forgive anyone who has wronged you.

Don't wait. You don't know when it will be too late.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

When It's Not Perfect

We know it happens.....

Sometimes, that super-awesome-amazing product that you find at our store just doesn't work how you needed it to. Or maybe it doesn't fit just right. Or maybe the person you give it to already has it (I mean, you can't *always* know what everyone else has, right?)

Well, we understand, and we have made returning items that you purchase at Elegant Mommy as easy as possible.

Our return policy is simply this:

  • With Store Receipt and Within 14 days
    • We will give you a full refund via the same method of payment
  • Without Store Receipt or After 14 Days:
    • We will issue a refund as an in-store credit only
  • Please note 
    • All markdowns and clearance items (including clothes and nursing items) and diapers that have been worn or washed are not able to be returned.
    • Rebekah Scott Designs items are not able to be returned to the store. Please handle directly through Rebekah Scott at 605-757-6655
    • ALL baby carriers and nursing bras/tanks will incur a 25% restocking fee when being returned. However, if you choose in-store credit toward the purchase of a different carrier or nursing bra, the restocking fee will be adjusted to 10%
So there you have it...Elegant Mommy's return policy made simple.

Come on in during store hours (10-6 M-F, 10-5 Sat) or shop online at www.elegantmommy.com. Let us help you find the *perfect* natural parenting items for your family!


Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Trade-Up Time

Once upon a time Elegant Mommy had some amazing and extremely loyal customers. One day, one of those very loyal customers had a GREAT idea.

Her idea was basically for us to offer a "trade-in" option for carriers.

We have several different babywearing support groups now, and we also have a few Certified Babywearing Consultants on staff - so it would make sense to offer our customers a way to "upgrade" to the next best carrier option for their babies.

Well, we liked her idea so much that we have decided to implement just that!

Check it out:

So....there you have it. Just one more reason to shop locally! As of now, get your carrier with us (keep your receipt!) and if you ever want to trade-in for a different carrier you'll be able to for a much discounted price!

You're welcome.....we'll see you soon :)


Friday, September 18, 2015

Love Them NOW

My heart is breaking.

A family of six from my hometown of Platte, SD was killed in a house fire yesterday. In a small town of around 1300 people where everyone knows everyone this is a devastating tragedy.

Scott and Nicole were high school sweethearts who had immersed themselves in the community and, from what I know, had friends everywhere. They were active in their church, in the school system, in the community. They had four children who were in elementary, junior high, and high school. In such a small town, that means that every. single. child. that attends school in Platte knew them and were likely friends with them.

Because that's what it's like in a small town. You know everyone and pretty much everyone is friends. Obviously you have some cliques, some "mean girls", some bullying, just like any other school. But aside from that I know that my experience there was that I knew and liked everyone...even those that weren't in my "circle of friends". I'm guessing that it is similar today, and the loss of four children from the school will be devastating to the entire school system....it will take a lot of time for kids in Platte to heal.

My personal connection to the family is that Nicole's youngest sister was my childhood best friend (we are still friends - since 1st grade!). I grew up with this family. We went to the same one-room country school in early elementary. I had sleepovers at their house. We went to high school together. We were "rural neighbors" (we didn't live next door to each other, but were only a few miles apart).

I remember one of my very first sleepovers ever was at their house. It was for my best friend's birthday party. In their home the kids had to do the dishes after meals, and because I was there it was considered a "special occasion" so their mom said she would do them. I remember Nicole cheering and saying "YAY for Evie!!".

She was the cool older sister and that really stuck with me....she was happy I was there.

Since she was older than me we didn't hang out much through high school, but she was always kind and I will always have fond memories when I think of her. Honestly, one of the most vivid memories I have of her is seeing her in the hallway with her arm around Scott. They were sweethearts from a very early age and everyone knew they would get married. They did, and from what I know were very happy together through the rest of their lives.

As a couple and family, they had dealt with their own fair share of tragedy in their own lives and families. About 8 years ago Nicole's youngest sibling, her only brother, passed away and then a couple years later Scott's younger sister passed away after a long battle with cancer.

My heart aches for their families. It's a tragedy to lose one child/sibling. But it's infinitely multiplied when you lose two PLUS 4 grandchildren/nieces and nephews too. Words just can't even do the emotions justice.

It's things like this that serve as a very stark and vivid reminder to hold those you love close and tell them you love them. Don't hold grudges. Forgive them for any wrong-doing against you. Pray for them. Love them. Enjoy every single minute you have with them and don't take anything for granted....you just never know when someone's day is going to be their last.

If you are part of my village, please know that I LOVE YOU. Even if I don't tell you every single time I see you. I appreciate you for the part of my life you have, I am thankful for the things I've learned from you, for the encouraging word you've given me, and for each and every smile we've exchanged. Thank you and know how much I value you and our friendship.

I need to go love on my kids for a little while now. I encourage you to do the same.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Layaway at Elegant Mommy

Hey hey hey!

Did you know that Elegant Mommy now offers Layaway?!

Oh, yeah - I'm not even joking!

Check it out:

Now, how's that for some awesomeness - and just in time for the Christmas Holiday shopping season, too!



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I'm Trying Not To Blink in My Over-Busy Life

Things these days are kinda wild around the DeWitt house.

I am (obviously) still your Elegant Mommy blogger, marketer, website lady, and all-around stuff-doer (just not usually in the store). I also work as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor part time (usually I do that outside the home), and I now have a full clientele of doula clients for the first time since adding little Miss Ember to our family (back to life on call here in a week or so). I edit my husband's books and help with sales for that. 

We recently started homeschool again with the big kids.

I lead a group of beautiful young moms here in our community through my church.

Nursing the babe while editing my hubby's latest book
My handsome hubby has several speaking and selling engagements set up this fall as an author of some amazing books (I'm currently editing his latest book), and in addition to that he is getting more and more hours at his job and will be going full time in the near future.

And on top of it all, the baby is very quickly turning into a toddler - yikes!

This has been my view - she's walking all over!
She has been taking steps for several months now. It's been in the last couple weeks, though, that she's "gotten" it. She had an "aha" moment a few days before my brother's wedding a few weeks ago and has basically just gone for it. She pretty much starts walking wherever she goes and when she loses her balance will crawl the rest of the way. She is losing her balance later and later.......she's getting this whole walking thing down!

So, as we are busy on top of busy, there are some things that I have been thinking about lately, and I'm guessing some of you can relate.

1. Babies are simply amazing. Ok, so maybe I knew this already, but sometimes it really just strikes home, ya know? Knowing that this remarkable little person started off as just a couple cells a year and a half ago is nothing short of a miracle. She is a real human being, has a personality all her own (a pretty strong personality at that), and is finding her place in this family and the world. It's such a delight to get to watch. She is walking all over the place, is super lovey/kiss-y, and *always* wants to "help" mommy and daddy with dishes, laundry, etc (i.e. really likes to throw stuff on the floor)

2. Five year old boys are the best. Since becoming a big brother almost a whole year ago, Porter has seriously come "into his own." He has totally blossomed as a sweet human being and he's just simply an all-around good person. He is my little helper who loves toads, worms, getting really dirty (as I type this he is making mud puddles to jump in), and most of all, dinosaurs. Currently he has a whole herd of them that he takes almost everywhere and does his best to keep out of his baby sister's hands and mouth (usually unsuccessfully, by the way).

3. Seven year old second grade girls are too grown up. At least mine is. Our Miss V is so sweet and kind. She makes a new friend everyplace she goes. She would rather read, ride her bike, or swim more than almost anything in the world, and she has a heart of gold. She is our little encourager (always helping Porter with his sight-words in school and helping Ember accomplish anything that she is trying to do). She is my little mini-me and I seriously don't know what I would do without her - she is joy encompassed in a person.

4. Being a mom who has 537 different things going on in her life is really difficult. I usually feel like I have a multitude of "balls in the air" that if I step out of line or lose my balance, or you know - drop one, my entire everything will collapse. Because of that, I have felt like I'm not the mother that my amazing kiddos deserve. I feel like I have no idea how I can possibly get through this season in life without permanently scarring one of them or making them feel like I value my work more than I value them. I feel like even though my marriage and family is stronger than ever, I don't spend even close to enough time, nor do I give it adequate energy......mostly because I don't have any.

5. My family loves me unconditionally. Even though mommy doesn't have enough time to give them, and I'm tired most of the time, and I'm not at their disposal nearly as much as I used to be, they make me feel like a million dollars as soon as I walk back through the door. They understand that even though mommy is busy, I love them more than anything in this world and every spare second I have will be spent with them. Do they wish it was more? Of course (you know I do!). But they don't complain or whine or anything. And besides that, for now, they have their awesome daddy to fill in the slack that I bring....so, they are getting extra daddy time and are completely understanding of less mommy time for now.

6. I am SO glad that this will only be for a season. I have no idea how long I will be doing all that I'm doing. What I do know, is that it for sure won't be forever. I won't always have so little time to spend with my kiddos. I won't always have so much going on that I can't even remember what shoe size they wear. I won't always have so many things to juggle. But for now I do, and that's ok. 

I used to answer the well-meaning "how are you doing?" questions with a very flippant and not-thought-out "oh, you know, busy." kind of answer. I laugh at that answer now. From this point forward I will be much more thoughtful before using that word. Am I busy now? Oh, heavens yes. But life is always busy. In every stage of life, in every season I've been busy....they've all just been different kinds of busy.

For now I want to just focus on the time I actually do have. I'll continue to do my jobs well and give them everything I have, but when someone asks how I am doing I'm going to respond with something more like "enjoying my amazing life and time with my family, how are you?". Because that's what all of this is really about anyway....being with my family and loving watching the wonderful people our kiddos are growing into.
The joys of our world
I don't want to blink because I know it will be over, so instead of focusing on my busyness, I'm going to focus on them. These precious beings that God has given to me to mother while we are on this earth.

(And for now I'm going to try and not worry about what's going to happen when Randall goes to work full time......I know God will work it all out, so I'm leaving it up to Him.)

If you are OVERbusy like me, I pray that you are able to find some kind of balance and life in it. I know the struggle - I'm right here with you, but family and kiddos are WAY too important to not have our focus.

Hang in there mama - you, too, will get through this and you'll be better for it and stronger once you do!

Much love (from the trenches)


Friday, September 11, 2015

I Needed to Laugh

Today has been a day.

A day where I have felt the pull of a million different things and had a hard time dealing with it.

A day where nothing I *wanted* to do was something that I could do.

A day where tears flowed just a little too freely - not for any other reason but that I'm an overly-emotional mama.

A day where I decided I seriously needed a laugh, and I thought maybe you might appreciate one too.


Have a fantastic weekend full of smiles!


Monday, September 7, 2015

Getting To Know Your Baby

Some new mamas aren't worried about pregnancy or the act of actually giving birth, they are more nervous about being a good mom. How will they know what is best for their baby? What if they do it wrong?

La Leche League has some thoughts and encouragement on the all-so-important aspect of getting to know your baby. Following is an excerpt from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding:

Getting to Know Your Baby

Mothering is not something you can learn from a book. We can tell you, for instance, that most young babies like the secure feeling of being snugly wrapped up and cuddled. We can tell you that at about three months, most babies like company. They like to be propped up in the midst of the family. Instead of wanting to be fed or cuddled, what they often want is just to be sociable. The may be perfectly true observations for many babies - but your newborn may prefer to have his arms and legs free, or your three-month-old may be overstimulated by too much activity and end up feeling miserable. You have to be sensitive to the individual needs of your baby.

The sensitivity that helps you do the right thing at the right time comes from knowing your baby. It develops as you spend time with him, but it develops more quickly, and to a greater degree, if you are nursing your baby. The very closeness and intimacy of breastfeeding give you a quicker and surer perception of the feelings and needs of this tiny person, and help you to know how to meet them.

Ann Van Norman, a mother from Ontario, Canada, tells how breastfeeding helped her learn about her baby's needs:

I thought I had prepared myself for mothering before Sarah's birth. I learned about diapering, bathing, and breastfeeding, but there was no way to prepare for "mothering." I found out that mothering is only learned by doing. Learning to respond flexibly to baby's needs for love, care, and stimulation, putting our own desires on temporary hold, and accepting the constancy and intensity of baby's needs are lessons only learned by living them.

I believe nursing has helped make my learning relatively painless, mainly through the positive reinforcement I have received from Sarah. She showed me how much I was needed and loved. Nursing her meant that I had to take time to respond, relax, and reflect. I am a different person now. Sarah has changed me from a compulsive time-and-task-oriented tiger to a go-with-the-flow housecat.

Your joy in mothering grows as you experience the quick, strong feeling of affection so natural between a nursing mother and her baby; as you develop an understanding of your baby's needs and gain confidence in your own ability to satisfy them; and as you see the happy dividends from the good relationship as the baby grows. As one nursing mother, Shirl Butts, from Louisiana, expressed her feelings:

Those who have never nursed a child might find it hard to understand just how special a nursing relationship can be. Now as I nurse my second child, I can appreciate what I missed with my toddler, whom I did not nurse.

My favorite moments are just before bedtime, nursing my four-month-old daughter. We snuggle together in our rocking chair, her tiny mouth eagerly searching for the warmth of my milk, until at last she latches on and drifts into peaceful sleep. Her chubby little hand is outstretched on my arm, her cheek nestled against my breast. I continue to rock, lovingly studying every crease and fold of her soft body. Times like this make me look forward to the next night and the next. Sometimes she stops nursing to look up at me and give a big smile as if to say, "Thanks, Mom!" and then resumes nursing again. Those moments make me wish time would stand still.

Breastfeeding is not a guarantee of good mothering, and formula feeding does not rule it out. The most important thing is the love you give your baby and the fact that you are doing your best to be a good mother. Mary White, another of LLL's co-Founders, reminds us:

We're all learning, all the time. We're all still reaching up to the top of the ladder, and we've all got a long way to go. But for each and every one of us, the person from whom we can learn the most is out own baby; listen to him. Give to him; in the giving we are growing, as mothers and as women. As we watch him grow and thrive, we are watching an achievement we can really be proud of.

So keep doing what you're doing, mama - you're doing great! The more you keep trudging through the more you are going to learn, and the better mama you will be because of it.

And never ever forget that you've got a village here rooting for you! Join us on Wednesday this week for Milk Monologues at 1:00 pm and Thursday for the evening Milk Monologues (breastfeeding support group) at 6:30 pm. We are here for you and look forward to helping you in whatever way we can!


Monday, August 31, 2015

The Best Thing About Breastfeeding is....

At the beginning of the month I asked our Facebook friends what their most favorite part of breastfeeding is. Since it's the last day of National Breastfeeding Month today I thought I'd share their thoughts with you here.

Stacey: The milky smiles :) OHH LOVED dream feedings!! NO waking up - well hardly anyway

Julie: Healthy gut flora for baby. And its super easy compared to bottles. And way cheaper too!

Hiedy: The bond my son and I share!! So special that it makes everything all better!!

Erin: The ease, the sweet snuggles, the calling for mamas... I love it all. 

Julie: Oh yes- and I can feed baby four times a night without ever getting out of bed. Pretty much everything!

Cassie: The bond!  and I love being the only one who can feed her. :)

Erin: Who can say no to extra cuddle time?

Dezzirae: The cuddles and the closeness 

Jennalee: I love the cuddles and the cute little face she makes!

Brandilyn: The snuggles, love and it's free! Plus I don't have to move an inch to burn calories lol

Katy: I love getting smacked by my over active 5 month old and the no guilt down time that I get every couple hours to snuggle and bond with my little man

Jennifer: stopping what I'm doing to nurse and just be for that time my little man needs his mama :)

BaLeigh: The cuddles along with that sweet milk breath! 

Marrisa: I could list all the health benefits, easiness, and that I wasn't a sleep deprived new mommy but nothing compares to the sleepy, milky, smiles.

Callie: Our time together!!

Kammie: The health benefits. I have no clue if my kids didn't get my asthma or have never had ear infections because of nursing. I know that it was the best thing for them and who knows what colds flus or other illnesses we avoided because of it.

Rachel: I love too many things about it to name just one thing :) i love that I get to have that special time with my babe, I love that I can fulfill his need for comfort and nutrition with just one action <3

I agree with everything these mamas said. There are so many things to love about breastfeeding that it's so hard to pick just one.

When I'm talking with expecting mamas about breastfeeding, the benefits it brings, and basically the "why" of it all, we go through all kinds of things - cost, ease, convenience, time savings, health benefits for mom and baby, etc, etc.

The benefit that I talk about as my favorite though? The bond and closeness that it brings.

I have a few things going on in my life (not unlike you, dear reader, I'm sure). I have a husband, 3 beautiful children that we homeschool, a young moms group that I lead, 2 jobs (this one I do at home and one outside of my home), doula clients, childbirth classes to teach, and lactation counseling clients...not to mention other family and friends whom I love dearly and want to purpose to keep in my life.

I think I've figured out how to juggle it all, but some days go much better than others. There are days where I literally feel like I have about 568 things to do: Calls coming in, texts, and Facebook messages, emails, lists and lists and lists of things. Some days I feel as if I am completely surrounded by different things that are all pulling me in different directions - literally pulling me and if I don't keep it all balanced, something is going to give and it's all going to collapse - I'm going to break something or drop a major ball and some sort of disaster that I could have prevented will befall the world. And on top of it all? The friggin baby is crabby beyond belief and needs to nurse. You've GOT to be kidding me!

But then I sit down to nurse, the after effects of which are almost astounding.

She snuggles in. Latches. Oxytocin starts flowing.

It feels like a remarkable wave washing over me (I can seriously feel it) where all the outside pressures melt away and all that there is in the world is me and my baby. I don't give a rip about deadlines or questions that need to be answered, or emails that need a response, or the mess on the floor, or anything else that might be demanding my attention. If even for just a few minutes, she and I are in our own little piece of heaven on earth. The place where she's getting exactly what she needs from me - comfort, health, nutrition. The place where I'm getting everything I need from her - the knowledge that I'm doing what is best for our precious little one and the assurance that everything else can wait for a few minutes. The world certainly won't end and I will still have time to get what I need done (usually, anyway *wink* ). I'll be refreshed and rejuvenated. She'll be happily satisfied with a full tummy of the best food in the world.

And I'm the one who can give it to her - just me.

What could be better than that?


Keep nursing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Becoming a Mother

As National Breastfeeding Month winds down this week, I just want to share some lovely thoughts from La Leche League on becoming a mother.

This is an excerpt from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding:

A Special Journey

During early pregnancy, your baby's development is nothing short of remarkable. Eighteen days after he is conceived, his heart is beating. About the fourth month or so of your pregnancy, you feel the flutter, the unmistakable stirring that is like no other. It's the revelation of a new life. Your body changes to meet your baby's needs. There's the swelling readiness of your breasts, the expanding cradle of your womb. You are beautiful, as lovely as a tree that is heavy with fruit.

During the last trimester - the seventh, eighth, and ninth months - you may be impatient, eager to complete this stage and have the baby. Then, often when you least expect it, you feel a twinge. And another. The time is here. Mingled relief and anticipation can bring a catch in your throat. Today, sometime soon, your baby will be born!

The doctor or midwife is contacted, and the preliminary details are taken care of. You settle down to the work of giving birth. This day is like no other, and your mind, your whole body, centers on the process that is taking over inside of you.

The birth force rises, swells as a great wave, peaks, and recedes. You try to concentrate on relaxing, on willing your muscles to cooperate. In the welcome interim between contractions, there's time to rest.

The tempo quickens. Contractions are strong, they come quickly. You've probably never worked harder in your life. Labor is a fitting term! Just when you're most likely to feel exhausted and discouraged, you hear the reassurance of those who are with you - "Don't give up! We'll soon have a baby!"

And, at last, there is the moment you've been waiting for all those months, the bursting forth, the moment of blessed birth! As you catch your breath, you hear his cry. Was a sound ever before so priceless?

The umbilical cord is cut, marking the first separation. Who is to bridge this change of worlds for your newborn, who will soothe him and let him know he is again secure? Who better than his mother?

Again your body cradles him. You touch him, kiss his cheek, stroke his damp little head. Will he nurse? Perhaps. At some time within the first hour or so he will take the breast. You hold him close and he nuzzles your breast. His tiny mouth grasps your nipple. It seems no less than amazing! You and your baby can relax. After the enormous effort of giving birth, this is sweet reward.

Without thought or conscious effort on your part, your milk will come. You can look beyond to the many days together as a nursing couple. The security and warmth of your arms, the ready comfort of your milk, the familiar smell and pulse of your body are all precious food to fill out your baby's body and quicken his mind and spirit. Such accomplishments take time. But is there a more awe-inspiring task? This is the ageless beauty of mother and child - a time of grace and peace.

You'll hug him to you, intensely aware of his dependence upon you. Of course he will grow, reach out, and eventually leave you. But not for a while. Give yourself time together; let there be no regrets. Together you'll begin to weave a new cord to replace the one so recently severed. This one will be plaited simply and naturally by your continuing closeness through many unhurried days. Not to be cut, it will form the first link to all human love and understanding. 

But perhaps, instead of the natural birth you prepared for, you have a cesarean delivery. Or the months of waiting are not long enough, and the baby arrives prematurely, to be whisked away for specialized care. For the moment there is little sense of rapport with the baby.

These things happen. They may slow down a mother and baby's start as a nursing couple, but they need not end it. Given the right support, mothers and babies have untold levels of strength and adaptability. Mothers through the ages have happily breastfed their babies, and you can do it, too.

The groundwork is laid before your baby is born. Nothing is more important in your advance planning than your preparation for breastfeeding. There is no better time to start than now.

Happy breastfeeding!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Rewards for YOU!

Did you know that Elegant Mommy has a Rewards Program?

It's kind of awesome, really.

All you need to do is come into the store and make a purchase and we will give you a card to fill out with some basic information. On the back of the first card there are eight boxes and every time you make a purchase we fill in how much you spent in one of the boxes. When the first card is full, you become an Elegant Mommy VIP, which comes with benefits throughout the year, and you get 5% of the total amount spent as store credit to use however you want! For every subsequent card filled you only have six spaces AND you get 10% back of the total amount spent!

This program is just one of the ways that you get back when you shop locally! As a small company who cares about our community, we strive to always give back. Besides the loyalty rewards, you get customized service, knowledge and help from employees who care, not to mention the satisfaction of supporting a small local business who constantly strives to give back to the community.

What are our customers saying about our rewards program?

I just don't know where to start :). I learned about Elegant Mommy shortly after having our son, and I just love it! With the rewards program, it is just great!  I have purchased numerous items, and it is just awesome when I fill up my card!!  Collin loves the items especially his "softies" blankets from there!  Most recently with my rewards I was able to not only purchase a few baby gifts but also used my rewards to get a few extras for the new mommies!!!  More so though I love coming into the store with Collin and visiting with the friendly and knowledgable staff :).  All the opportunities for furthering my knowledge for him!!!!  I am just grateful that I found such a wonderful shop, with great employees that also has great rewards for shopping locally!!!  ~Liz S
I really am surprised the amount I got back from the Rewards Program. If I am going to buy cloth diapers anyway, I might as well get some sort of incentive. And I was able to get close to $60 back to spend. I know if I purchased from a person or another business I probably wouldn't have gotten that. ~Danielle
Elegant Mommy's rewards program has been amazing. It is so generous of them to offer their customers a chance to get a little something extra as a thank you for shopping with them. This is one of the bonuses of shopping locally. I also appreciate the willingness of Elegant Mommy's staff to work with my husband in utilizing my filled rewards card to help him pick out a *perfect* Mother's Day present. That personalized service and attention is rare these days and it is just one of the many reasons that we love to shop at EM! ~Beth 
So, come on in and get your rewards started TODAY!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's Not About the Trees

I have such a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I absolutely adore the "dog days of summer" and all the wonderful-ness that goes along with it...fresh produce, warm days with just a hint of fall that's right around the corner (hip hip hooray!!). The thing that's tough for me, though? School starting. At least this year it is....

Why you ask?

Well, because I'm just a big ole hot mess of emotions, and honestly it's hard for me to see pictures of all the beautiful children of my friends and look at pictures from the beginning of our school last year and not get just a little choked up. I mean, why on earth does this all have to keep going SO fast?!

I look at my beautiful oldest daughter Vienna. She's going into 2nd grade.

Did you hear me?! SECOND grade!

It's just not possible - she was a sweet toddler learning her ABCs last week, and it was about 2 days ago that I was stressing about figuring out what to do for our homeschool curriculum and what our days would look like. Now I feel like we're "seasoned" homeschoolers and pretty much have things figured out...well, almost - ha!

She has grown up exponentially in the past year. She would rather do almost nothing than read or draw/color....except ride her bike, of course, and play with her brother and baby sister. She is just SO grown up. I don't know what happened.

And then I look at the changes in our tenderhearted Porter over the past year. Man, oh man, has he "come into his own". He's opened up, lost SO much timid-ness, and seriously can make friends any place we go now. He's not just riding on his sister's coattails anymore...HE finds friends on his very own. It's kind of awesome to see.

I love watching their interests grow and mature as they find what they love and pursue it.

And don't even get me started on the baby. Can it really be? Is she for real 10 months today? I think back to a year ago and where I was in pregnancy and what we were doing and how I was feeling. It's amazing the change that just one year can bring.

But that's just it.

It's a FULL year. We are all a year older. 365 day wiser.

So why does it seem like it's only been a week?

I mean, I've got a full year of memories. I KNOW it's really been that long. Yesterday I was looking at a family photo we did right after Ember was born and I was in shock at how young the older kids looked. Then it occurred to me how long it had actually been.

I don't know. Maybe I'm all gooey emotional because Ember is 10 months today. Maybe it's because my baby brother is getting married next weekend. Maybe I'm hormonal.

Or maybe I'm like this because I somehow feel like I'm missing it.

I'm guessing other moms feel this way sometimes, too. I think I'm just feeling like I can't "see the forest because the trees are in the way", know what I mean? All of the day's details, work, food, diapers, tangled hair, spilled milk, piles of laundry, more work, etc are getting in my way of seeing and absorbing the joy of the season of life that we are currently in.

Life is busy.

I need to remember to enjoy it and see the whole thing....not just the trees.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Three Things About Heather

We are super excited to welcome the newest addition to the Elegant Mommy family - Heather. We thought it would be fun to do a little introduction post so you can get to know her, too. We asked her to tell us three things about herself in several categories....

Without further ado, meet the lovely Heather:

My Family:
  1. I have three boys - Owen, James and Andrew
  2. My husband, Simon, is from England.
  3. Both of my parents live in Sioux Falls and give us tons of support!

  1. It is the best thing I have done with my life.
  2. I hope to raise three respectful, passionate men.
  3. It has opened my eyes to the power of nature and the human body

  1. Baking
  2. Sewing
  3. Babywearing

Things I've learned about being a mom:
  1. Always be willing to laugh in the face of craziness!
  2. Be present in these moments when my children are little.
  3. There is no such things as too much snuggling!

Things I'm excited about being a part of the Elegant Mommy family:
  1. I get to meet and help other passionate parents!
  2. I hope to support families who want to know more about babywearing, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering.
  3. I want to learn more about amazing products that will support both my family and other Elegant Mommy families!
So, there you have her.....the newest member of our family. Come on in to the store soon and say hello - she'll love to help you get the products and information you need to be the best parent you can be!


Friday, August 14, 2015

It's Silent Auction Time!

Have you heard?

The Educated Mommy annual online Facebook Silent Auction is coming up!!

What is the Silent Auction, you ask? Well, it's only our BIGGEST fundraiser of the year! As you probably know, Educated Mommy is our non-profit organization that brings you amazing classes, support groups, events, and lactation support all for free or at greatly reduced pricing all year long. We serve literally hundreds of people in our community, and we want to continue to be able to offer the amazing services we have for years to come!

As a non-profit, we depend on donations from people like you and fundraisers to make our services continually available to those we serve.

Ok, so now for the nitty-gritty. How can you help (I get it - I know you are wondering)?

First of all, we need donations to auction off! So, if you are a crafter, a baker, a candlestick maker...or you know - pretty much anything you have to offer - we would love to put an item or service from you on the auction! Ideas for donations include (but are not in any way limited to): sewed items, crafted items, baked goods, salon services, massage services, gift cards to pretty much anywhere, zoo tickets, Washington Pavilion tickets, entertainment tickets, sports tickets, gas cards, electronics, anything natural parenting related, anything family related, anything that someone could give as a gift to someone they know, anything that someone could consume, anything that someone could put on their skin or their kiddos' skin. The possibilities are endless, really.

If you would like to donate to the auction, please let me know ASAP! You can shoot me an email at media@elegantmommy.com or just PM our Facebook page.

Now, for those of you who are super excited to participate (i.e. SHOP!!), have no fear - we will be posting all the details for you on Friday 8/21/15 in our Facebook chat group (if you haven't yet, you should totally join the group!), as well as on both our Facebook pages (Elegant Mommy & Educated Mommy)....be watching!

The auction will be held 8/21/15 - 8/23/15 - we'll see you then - happy bidding!!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Beautiful Birth

Here at Elegant Mommy we are always looking to share birth and breastfeeding stories. One of our friends recently wrote a beautiful poem about her long-anticipated VBAC, and I want to share it with you today. It truly is lovely.....enjoy:

Beautiful Birth

To be a mama is why I was placed on this earth.
Our journey began on a fine May morning with your beautiful birth.
For nine months, I did fret and worry.
The idea of a natural VBAC was so very scary.
I wanted for you nothing but the best.
I wanted to trust the way my body was designed, and forget the rest.
Finally, I decided.  For me, there was only one way.
So for 17 hours, fervently I did pray.
With each contraction, we worked together-your body and mine.
All we needed was patience and time.
In the midst of all that pain, I’m not sure I knew.
This, was one of the most magnificent things I would ever do.
For you, what an experience it was laboring.
In one word…amazing.
It wasn’t easy…but Jesus got me through.
And my reward-He brought me you.
With all my might did I push and try.
Each push released with a guttural cry.
All other noise did cease.
The room was filled with a palpable peace.
From beginning to end, this experience was incredibly beautiful.
It’s a wonder what our bodies can do with a great deal of will.
With a final push of love, I was at last able to see your sweet face.
You were placed on my chest for a long awaited warm embrace.
It was at that moment I knew; for the rest of my days,
You would forever be my always.

Thank you, Rachel!

If you have a story you would like to tell, please do! I would love to share it with our readers! Just email me at media[at]elegantmommy.com.


Friday, August 7, 2015

No. I Will NOT Apologize.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I'm pretty soft spoken. I take pride in carefully wording things so as not to offend, instead to gently yet firmly make my voice heard. In my "former life" back in Portland I had a corporate job and was working my way up the ladder. As with any job, there was plenty of company "politics" that were constantly at play. Many of the things I did involved putting together internal processes and procedures that often involved several departments. Anyone who has done anything similar knows how messy something like that can get. When I left the company, one of my peers from a different department described me as "diplomatic".

I thought it fit me well.

I have always had an ability to bring people together, find some common ground, and make it work. I can also be very matter-of-fact and tell people "this is how it is, now deal with it" but in a much nicer way :).

My nature screams to be very "diplomatic" about everything, but something I read recently really got me riled up and I feel the need to write a commentary on it here today.

The other day I happened upon a blog post written by one of my contemporaries that said, in essence - I won't celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, but I will instead call it World Baby Feeding Week and celebrate how all mamas feed their babies, whichever way they do. I think WBW ostracizes formula feeding mamas and hurts their feelings.

*blink* *blink*

Are you kidding me?

I, too, am a hugely strong proponent of respecting each mama's choices in how to raise and parent their children. I don't want anyone telling me what I should do, and I'm not in the business of telling other mamas what they should do, either.

You know what I AM in favor of though?


And do you know what there isn't enough of?


And I don't mean the crap that formula companies spew through their advertising, subliminal messaging, bags full of the stuff that's sent home from the hospital, and through their sales reps to pediatricians across the nation. I'm talking real information that can be backed up by biased-free studies and scientific data.

I would never, ever, once in a million years tell a mom that she made the wrong decision to give her baby formula. I would never, ever, once in a million years tell a mom that formula is the devil and if you give it you are basically giving your child a death sentence. Obviously, that statement would be preposterous. Formula IS an acceptable food for babies, and though it does come with risks, it's a solution that I'm super grateful for, because breastfeeding truly doesn't work out for everyone, for a multitude of different reasons. I'll save all that for another day, though.

The thing is, I think the person who wrote that blog post is completely missing the point on what World Breastfeeding Week actually is and why it's important.

According to the World Breastfeeding Week's Website, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) coordinates the week, which is "a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide based on the Innocenti Declarations, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding."

I guess I just feel that the author's politically correct message that she's spewing is terribly short sighted. She is not looking beyond her teeny tiny circle of influence and doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It makes me wonder if she's ever talked with a young mom who isn't planning to breastfeed simply because she has never seen it or heard anything about it - but once she knows some of the benefits has a complete turnaround and gains a resolve to breastfeed (even if just for a short time). I wonder if she's ever talked with a mom who tried with her first but had literally NOone to help her - no support system at all - so quit after only a few days and isn't even planning to try with this one, yet after learning some benefits, available support, and ways to deal with some of the issues she had, has a change of heart.

Well, I have, and I say that World Breastfeeding Week is a SUPER important week and those of us who participate and spread the word should stand proud, not falter, and certainly not apologize for spreading information about breastfeeding and it's benefits. I don't feel that World Breastfeeding Week is meant to demonize formula-feeding. It's simply in place to spread the word worldwide (not just in our little corner of the world) how breastfeeding can benefit families, communities, and nations. It's meant to educate, not condemn.

I feel like if more people would know more about breastfeeding, then our nation and world could be a much better place - safer for newborns - with the benefit of healthier children, families, and communities. Breastfeeding is a matter of health and familial well-being.

So, I'm sorry, author-of-the-random-blog-post-that-I-saw-the-other-day...I wholeheartedly disagree with you, and I will NOT call this week "World Baby Feeding Week", nor will I apologize for consistently and regularly talking about breastfeeding and its benefits. If a mom, after knowing the benefits of breastfeeding and risks of formula-feeding, chooses to feed her baby formula, I will of course support her decision. If a mom NEEDS to chose an alternate form of feeding because breastfeeding doesn't work for her for one reason or another, I of course support her as well. I will NOT, however, be ok with a mom make those decisions because she is unaware that there are options and of the true benefits that come with breastfeeding. That doesn't mean I'm not ok with the mom, it means I'm not ok with the lack of real and true information and support readily available to all moms, no matter where they are in the world.

Ok - I'm done ranting now. I need to go nurse my baby so I can calm down.

Today's the last day of World Breastfeeding Week this year...how are YOU celebrating?


Monday, August 3, 2015

Breastfeeding and Work....Let's Make it Work!

Welcome to World Breastfeeding Week!

What is WBW, you ask? Well, as explained on this website:
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) was formed in 1991 to act on the Innocenti Declaration (1990) to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. As part of its action plan to facilitate and strengthen social mobilisation for breastfeeding, WABA envisioned a global unifying breastfeeding promotion strategy. A day dedicated to breastfeeding was suggested to be marked in the calendar of international events. The idea of a day's celebration was later turned into a week.
This has become to be known as World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) celebrated every 1-7 August to commemorate the Innocenti Declaration. WBW was first celebrated in 1992. Now it involves over 170 countries and is endorsed by UNICEF, WHO, FAO and IPA coordinates all WBW efforts and there are all kinds of events and things going on worldwide to spread the knowledge about breastfeeding and to hopefully increase breastfeeding rates worldwide.

This year's theme of "Breastfeeding and Work....Let's Make It Work" is pretty timely, especially here in the US. We can tell every single new mama that she should stay home with her baby, nurse him, bond with him, raise him, as much as we want to. Unfortunately that is not practical, nor is it a reality for a pretty large majority of women in this country.

Most women I know either work or go to school. In my work, I've met moms that have to go back to work within a week of giving birth. Yes - you read that right - one week. They just can't afford to take longer than that off. It's heartbreaking. Others are in school and can't take much time off or they'll fall too far behind. I remember taking a college course many years ago and there was a very pregnant young girl in my class. One week she showed up with her newborn. She didn't take any time off at all and when asked about the baby (and being commended for being there) said she had the baby a few days earlier.

I'm really hoping that something can be done about all of these poor mamas that are thrown right into work or school so soon after birthing a sweet miracle.

But in the meantime, mamas need support to continue the all-important breastfeeding relationship with their little squishes!

Employers would be very wise to put policies in place that help mamas continue breastfeeding their wee ones. Being a breastfeeding friendly employer attracts and helps retain employees. Healthcare costs are hugely reduced, and because of the health benefits for babies that continue as they grow into older children, parents (i.e. employees) are much less likely to have to miss work to be with an ill child. Breastfeeding employees who are supported in the workplace also report higher productivity and loyalty.

Seriously - breastfeeding offers SO many benefits to everyone - if your employer isn't too keen on getting you enough time or a private place that's not a bathroom to express your milk you should talk to them about some of the benefits of supporting you. There are some great resources out there to get them the information.

Also, don't forget that Educated Mommy offers a "Going Back to Work" support group where you can get some support as you head back after having your little one. The group meets the 2nd Saturday (that's THIS coming Saturday!) morning of each month at 9 am. Check it out!

Until then, keep nursing mama - you're doing a great job!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

She Slept, She Slept!!


Very happy baby - squealing with delight
I seriously am not sure what to do with myself right now! I actually got more than an hour of sleep at a time last night - for real!

Our Incredible Non-Sleeping Baby actually slept for reasonable amounts of time last night - WOOT!

Wow. I just had to share some of my joy with you all. We still aren't so great on the whole nap thing, but we are getting there!

So, this is what our night looked like:

7:25 pm - I laid down with her to nurse her to sleep
8:05 pm - Transferred her from our bed to her crib
11:22 pm - She woke and nursed for about 15 minutes. I laid her back in her crib
2:45 am (ish) - She woke and nursed for about 10-15 minutes. I laid her back in her crib
5:15 am - She woke and I pulled her into bed with us because I could tell she wasn't wanting to go back to sleep and I knew she would sleep next to me. She snuggled in and went to sleep
6:45 am - I got up and left her in bed
8:10 am - She woke for the day

I don't know if I can even express how big of a victory this is! The night before she was up every 1/2 hour to hour until I finally pulled her into bed with us at 2 am...I needed to sleep!

Mommy and Babe after the best night's sleep we've both gotten in a
very long time - see how rested we look?

Now, I feel like I need to justify this a little bit, so hear me out.

I know some people are totally anti-crib. They want to sleep with their babies all the time until they decide to go to their own bed. That is *totally* cool with me!

I'm really not against bed sharing. Really. The thing is, I need her to sleep in her crib at least part of the time. For my own sanity. So I can get some decent sleep, and so she can get more sleep. If she only sleeps with us, then she's not getting even remotely close to the amount of sleep she actually needs (because we go to bed late and get up early) and that's totally not awesome. For anyone in the house. I'm sure many of you can relate to having an over-tired baby around. Not cool.

When she's in bed with us I sleep better than when she's waking every 1/2 hour to an hour, but not nearly as good as I do when she's not in bed with us. My body starts to ache from sleeping on my side in one position all night long, and sometimes I just need to get some sleep. Good sleep.

So....with that, I feel like we are totally making some progress from where we were when I wrote this. We certainly haven't "arrived" yet, but we are on our way at least, and seriously? That's all I can ask for right now. Baby steps are totally fine by me!

Now....I'm praying that tonight goes AS well, and I'm excited to hopefully get the little sweetie-pie to take some much needed naps on a more regular basis. Like I said - baby steps.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Big Latch On

Ok, so let me tell you what I know about The Big Latch On:

The Big Latch On is an event designed to bring awareness to breastfeeding by getting a record setting number of mamas to latch their babies (or pump) at the same time for a full minute. It is held on July 31 & August 1 worldwide, which is the first day of World Breastfeeding Week. The idea for the event came from New Zealand, and was picked up some years back by some lovely breastfeeding peeps over in Portland, OR (be still my heart...I love Portland - I lived there for 8 years back before kiddos entered the picture). Anyway, since they brought it to the US, the event has continued to spread, and worldwide there are more than 640 locations registered this year.

Pretty sweet, huh?

So - now to the good stuff.

As far as I can tell, Educated Mommy is currently the only location hosting this awesome event in South Dakota! I know, right?! We are stoked to be part of it again (hopefully more locations will register next year so more people in our state have the opportunity)!

So....wanna be a part of it? Here is what you need to do:

  1. Show up to Educated Mommy (207 W 37th St, Sioux Falls) at about 10:00 am on Saturday morning (8/1/15)
  2. Sign in
  3. Have a cookie and hang out with other breastfeeding mamas and their kiddos
  4. At the signal at 10:30 am latch your nursling(s), or pump (if you are an exclusively pumping mama) and nurse (or pump) for 1 full minute
  5. Be a part of history!

That's it! It's pretty simple, really, and also pretty fun. :)

Unfortunately, I cannot be there *sniff*....even though I've been looking forward to participating since last year when I was very pregnant with our sweet little squish. Oh well. Things come up and that's the way it goes.

No worries, though....when you get there you will be greeted by some of our super awesome board members and other friendly faces.

So......set your alarms and plan to be there early. We look forward to seeing you and being a part of raising breastfeeding awareness!

Peace out and keep calm & nurse on....